As the young COCOLIFE CEO Martin Loon shares his work philosophies, we find out how he was able to survive during the world’s most difficult time. Hoping to inspire young people like himself, Attorney Martin talks about grit, courage, and sharp focus in getting the job done.
The COVID-19 crisis tested many all over the world with situations putting many in a position to enact make-or-break decisions. During these challenging times, many businesses forcibly halted their operations and unfortunately put up their assets on sale. Meanwhile, others sought ways to find light amidst the dark tunnel. In the story of Attorney Martin Loon, we were reminded that in the world of business, only the fittest and bravest survive.
Almost five years ago, just before the novel coronavirus outbreak, Attorney Martin was named CEO of one of the largest insurance companies in the country. He was only 32 years old. Yet, the young leader made it clear from day one that he must serve and survive whatever the conditions may be.
The power of the vital few
Being the new CEO enabled Martin Loon to focus on his mission to prepare the company for the exigencies of the present and the future—a perspective unique to people his age. His is a generation that saw the rapid rise of technology, from the rotary dial telephones to the dial up internet to today’s 5G technology. Attorney Martin has become aware of the necessary transformation his organization had to make to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving world.
“When I entered COCOLIFE, I realized that the company had so much potential to be a major player in the industry. We had a very experienced Board and a committed management team,” recalls Attorney Martin. “I would say that our strongest asset has always been the people in COCOLIFE.”
He knew they had to maintain their strengths and shift their resources to where they can improve, and so he did. “It’s always important to know what you have, listen to your gut, and utilize it to the fullest… To have the wisdom and foresight to know where you’re going, and the courage to fight for what you want—all the way,” Attorney Martin asserts. “Right now, we have an incredible mix of both experienced professionals and young executives who work hand in hand to steer the company to become a disruptor in the industry.”
A new-generation leader
As a newcomer, most would expect the 32-year old CEO to lack the confidence and maturity that the role demanded. Attorney Martin was aware of these sentiments, but he was unfazed by them. “Oftentimes, people worry too much about external factors, like public perception, that they have no control over, and overlook those that are within their grasp,” he tells LifestyleAsia, noting that he rather keeps a cool head and an open mind, and focuses on the things he could change when faced with challenges. One of which was the abrupt transition to the digital landscape as the outbreak worsened.
Recognizing early on that most of the company’s operations would be done digitally, the young CEO adapted in a decisive manner and utilized the best tools available. In turn, the team was able to operate like a well-oiled machine, in spite of the difficulties brought about by the harrowing pandemic.
It was truly a pivotal moment that ensured the company’s continued success in supporting their most vulnerable clients and stakeholders. “I had no right to lose sight of what was important. I had no right to be scared,” the attorney supposes. “As the CEO, I had to fight and give it my best shot, especially that the situation directly had an impact in our company.”
The guiding mantra
As we admire Attorney Loon’s grit and courage, it can be easy to overlook the one overarching philosophy that rationalizes the young executive’s every step. The guiding mindset that Attorney Martin instills within his team is one that he has carried with him since his younger years: always take care of your people and the people you serve.
It’s valuable lesson he learned from his mentors and his stepfather, Military Hero and Medal of Valor awardee, Ariel Querubin. Attorney Martin explains how the most decorated Filipino Military Hero would always tell him to always be mindful of the welfare of others at all times. “The mission is to hit the target and ensure the safety of the troops. Both objectives must go hand in hand,” he quotes Querubin.
“We cannot afford to be short-sighted and think only of ourselves. We always have to reflect on the impact of our actions on the next generation and the greater world; that’s what COCOLIFE is all about,” Attorney Martin finally reminds. “The work we do is not for ourselves but for the people.”
Photographer EXCEL PANLAQUE of KLIQ Inc.
Creative Director MARC YELLOW
Art Director NIEL JHED IBAY
Hair and Makeup CATS DEL ROSARIO
Stylist GEE JOCSON
Shoot coordination MAE TALAID and MAE SICAT