“Of Passion and Purpose-driven Leadership”
Working with the heart is as necessary as working hard.
Jaime T. Azurin believes that a valuable leader must be both innovative and inspiring – one that can spot opportunities out of difficulties and inspire the people around him to do the same. When he became president of Global Business Power (GBP), he reinforced the company’s mantra, ‘work hard, work fast, work smart and work together’ by adding ‘work with a heart’ to the organization’s work philosophy, for he believes that the best comes out when working with both passion and purpose.
Azurin has been with GBP when it started with only 15 employees in 2003 and struggled through a $14 million loan default. By grit and grace, the company has successfully overcome its challenges and is now a leading power producer in the Visayas, with operations in Mindanao and Mindoro islands, through the help of its 954 employees. GBP, through subsidiaries Cebu Energy Development Corporation, Toledo Power Co., Panay Energy Development Corporation, Panay Power Corporation, GBH Power Resources Inc. and affiliate Alsons Thermal Energy Corporation, has a total gross capacity of 1,091 MW.
Azurin’s love for numbers and critical thinking led him to obtain a bachelor’s degree in economics from Ateneo de Manila University and a master’s degree candidacy in business administration. Besides his academic achievements, the young Azurin was also an athlete at school. Sports taught him important life skills such as discipline, time management, and the ability to perform under pressure. He has since incorporated these elements into his management and mentoring style as a business executive.
In his early career as an assistant to the president of a mining company, he plumbed the depths of business management with his exposure to the different facets of business operations. In his second job as an investment banker specializing in energy projects, he gained the invaluable insight that it is not enough for projects to be profitable; they had to be sustainable too.
What makes a good leader? Azurin strongly believes that good leaders think strategically and innovatively – knowing how to adapt to changes and spot opportunities in a changing landscape. Most importantly, he emphasizes that a good leader has the foresight of how he plans to move the organization forward.
Azurin further believes that an effective leader should be doing two things. First is to challenge people, make them do something outside of their comfort zones, and help them find opportunities out of the difficulties they face. Second is to inspire people, to encourage them to give their best and to always put into practice the GBP mantra in their work.
When asked how the concept of leadership has changed over the years, Azurin says that the idea of leadership hasn’t changed but rather, it is the leadership style that changes to suit the situation. As the market has gone global, more competitive and environment-conscious, modern leaders are compelled to be more agile, smart, and adaptable.
One of the ways Azurin differentiates himself from his peers is his brand of strategic leadership which focuses on new markets and synergies, and creation of opportunities and innovative solutions out of challenges. During the time when rotating brownouts frequented the Visayas region in the late 2000s, GBP built power plants in high growth areas and near key offtakers in Cebu, Iloilo, and Aklan to solve the issue of power disruptions.
Another unique factor that sets Azurin apart is his belief and commitment in practicing sustainable leadership. “You are only as good as your last deal” is a common warning in investment banking circles. Influenced by this kind of thinking, Azurin focuses on mitigating potential risks and developing sustainable projects. GBP is pursuing renewable energy technologies to diversify and complement its existing portfolio, as part of its renewed vision to become a leading provider of sustainable energy solutions in the Philippines. The company believes that using diversified technologies would help address the intermittent nature of renewable energy.
At GBP, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is vital in establishing highly motivated and sustainable workforce that is united towards its common goal of enlightening lives and empowering progress. As Azurin often reminds employees, GBP’s main business is not only about generating electricity but more importantly, about delivering its higher purpose of serving the community and the country.
“GBP’s success is founded on financial strength, strategic partnerships, technical expertise and commitment to service excellence. But more than that, its drive to be a provider of sustainable energy solutions, utilizing diversified sources and innovative technologies, in the pursuit of enlightening lives and empowering progress, makes the company one to watch and laud.”
Shanggari Balakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer, MORS Group