In an interview in the July 2019 issue of TTG Associations, Octavio B Peralta - a man with many hats in the associations space - tells Rosa Ocampo about his true love for the profession of association management and recounts his ongoing journey of raising the standards of associations and the job of managing one in Asia-Pacific.
You hold many titles: secretary-general for Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP); founder, president and CEO of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE); and pro-tem head of secretariat, Asia-Pacific Federation of Association Organizers (APFAO). How did you enter the world of associations?
I’m a mechanical engineer by education and training. I worked for two years as a quality control engineer and then production engineer at the now-defunct Delta Motor Corp., which was the assembler of Toyota cars, Daikin air-conditioners and Sharp refrigerators.
Attracted by a development mission, better pay, and an opportunity to travel around the country, I moved to the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and worked there for 15 years in various capacities, starting as a technical (engineering) analyst and moving on to loan officer. I was then put in charge of training for loan officers, a role that exposed me to the sphere of education – design and delivery of training courses – which became handy when I eventually entered the world of associations.
I also worked for almost a year as a training officer of a learning institution in Washington, D.C. run by retired World Bank officers. One of them connected me to Orlando Pena, then secretary general of ADFIAP, an international membership organisation for development banks. In March 1991, he recruited me as his deputy and I succeeded him in 2005, a position I still hold today.
That’s 28 years with ADFIAP, half of it as its head. How was it learning the ropes of association management which was then – and still is – quite a novel concept in the Philippines?
I found early in ADFIAP that working in an association is not at all a walk in the park. I tried in vain to get knowledge resources here on association management so I can self-learn. Having found none, I joined as a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) whose headquarters is in Washington, D.C. and every time I had the opportunity to travel to D.C. as part of my work in ADFIAP, I bought books on association management. Up till today, I am still an active member of ASAE and currently a member of its advisory task force for the Association Leadership Forum Asia-Pacific.