With her autobiography My Journey: The Story of An Unexpected Leader topping national sales in the non-fiction category in May, Charo Santos-Concio can now add ‘bestselling author’ under her gargantuan list of accomplishments. While it’s easy to assume that Santos-Concio’s book success owes to her celebrity status, it would be a huge injustice to label it as just a showbiz tell-all.
Part life-story, and part career-guide book, My Journey: The Story of An Unexpected Leader recounts the achievements of a woman, who shifted the media landscape well before ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ became the battle-cry of Millennial women. “I have to admit that this book has a special spot for women in leadership positions,” she writes, calling on all businesswomen, teachers, mothers, OFWs, and young students. “If you want to inspire others toward a dream, this book is for you.”
That’s not to say male readers will not enjoy this book, though; in fact, many of the book’s interesting figures have been the men in her life, such as her father, and Gabby Lopez, her mentor and boss at ABS-CBN for 20 years. Rather, her story is a familiar dream that many Filipina women can relate to, and hope to pursue. From her shy, probinsyana girlhood in Mindoro, to her discovery as a model and beauty-queen, then to her pursuit as an actress, to finally her appointment as the fifth, and first female president of ABS-CBN, her journey raises the bar on what it means to be a career-driven woman in the modern world.
She makes no pretentions about her struggles, frustrations, and mistakes; she does not feel the need to fabricate a dominance that goes stereotypically with being a leader. Instead, she chooses to recount her weaknesses, compromises, and ultimately the lessons she learned that propelled her to move on.
“[I] think women have special leadership traits that come from our shared experiences of vulnerability, sense of purpose and resilience,” she writes, after admitting the many times she has doubted herself as an actress, TV executive, and president of the company. She even admits struggling to write her own biography, until she realized its significance to women.
“Only when we arrived at this form, that of a leadership guidebook for women, did I become comfortable with the idea of coming out with a book.” She imagines her grandchildren, and the future generation of female leaders ahead. “I hope they will find this book useful and inspiring.”
My Journey: The Story of An Unexpected Leader is co-written with An Mercado Alcantara is available in National Book Store branches nationwide.
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