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From Where We Sit

Collective ripples create a wave of change

Michael C. Gallego Michael C. Gallego

As often associated with the comic book superhero Spiderman is the statement: “With great power comes great responsibility.” In addition to my leadership role as a Partner for Advisory Services and the head of the Knowledge Management Group at P&A Grant Thornton, I am taking on new professional roles with the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants (PICPA) – as chair of the Metro Manila Region (MMR) Council and as national vice president for public practice.

The induction and turnover ceremonies took place last week amidst unusual circumstances. For the first time in PICPA history, the ceremonies occurred virtually. However, while we may have lost some of the much-expected pomp and circumstance this year, one thing that remains constant is the drive to be transformational leaders in the accountancy community. The COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine are, in fact, golden opportunities to rise as one professional community. Now is the time to focus on resilience and change.

What follows is an abridged transcript of my inaugural address delivered last Saturday, July 4, 2020:

In the opening of the Lord of the Rings, Bilbo Baggins stood before Hobbiton and said: “Today is my one hundred and eleventh birthday! Alas, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable hobbits.” Today, since that midnight before the 16th of March, is our 111th day of community quarantine, and I stand before you, dear excellent and admirable leaders of PICPA MMR!

Our MMR term for FY 2020-21 is full of challenges and opportunities. Very few of us are given a chance to create new things and lead at such time. True to the theme of our President Lope L Bato, Jr. this year, ‘Filipino CPAs rising in solidarity amidst challenging times,’ we will go through a new and different experience, but come out a stronger PICPA and better professional accountants!

Allow me to share my dreams and prayers for MMR this year:

  1. We will embark on a digital transformation journey.
  1. We will transform our secretariat into a full complement MMR Professional Office so they can continuously and effectively deliver excellent services to members in the new normal.
  1. We will evolve our membership engagement activities to respond to the new normal, including offering life skills, well-being, and on-demand learning programs. We will continue our member servicing activities and will listen and act according to our vision, mission, and RISING agenda of our National President.
  1. We will offer differentiated and specialized professional development courses based on your career level, consistent with Philippine Qualifications Framework (PQF) career progression and competency frameworks, and invite other professional qualifications and international certifications for continued competency-building.
  1. We will extend and share our knowledge and skills to the micro, small and entrepreneurial and public sectors, and continue to support other chapters, sectoral and professional organizations in the pursuit of our shared objectives.

Alone, I cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. As my MMR family, I will continuously seek guidance, advice, inspiration, and support from each of you, because our collective ripples will create a wave of change for our organization.

As we go through this journey of profound change and high expectations, I am excited at the prospect that you are one with me in making these changes happen for MMR, for a better PICPA, and a stronger accounting profession.

In a Harvard Business Review article on ‘How Resilience Works,’ Diane Coutu eloquently explains that “Resilient people possess thee characteristics: (1) a staunch acceptance of reality (which we are embracing); (2) a deep belief, often buttressed by strongly held values, that life is meaningful (of which we hold dear); and (3) an uncanny ability to improvise (which we saw in your plans and programs). You can bounce back from hardship with just one or two of these qualities, but you will only be truly resilient with all three. These three characteristics hold for resilient organizations as well. Resilient people and (organizations) companies face reality with staunchness, make meaning of hardship instead of crying out in despair, and improvise solutions from thin air. Others do not.”

In the last two days of our Annual Planning Conference, you have all demonstrated strong resilience and—despite the state of community quarantine we are in, in the past 111 days since the midnight of the 16th of March—you have developed great plans and programs.

I am confident that we will accomplish all the things we have set out to do, because we will rise to the occasion and do it together! I would like to end with a quote from Mother Teresa: ‘Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.’

The author is the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants chairman for the Metro Manila Region Council for fiscal year 2020-2021.

Mhycke C. Gallego is a Partner of Advisory Services and Head of Knowledge Management of P&A Grant Thornton.  P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading audit, tax, advisory, and outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 24 partners and more than 900 staff members. We’d like to hear from you! Tweet us: @GrantThorntonPH, like us on Facebook: P&A Grant Thornton, and email your comments to or For more information, visit our website:


As published in The Manila Times, dated 08 July 2020