Gretchen Ho to mentor youth in IDEA'YALA Innovation Challenge

IMAGE Wilson Chua

Athlete-turned-host Gretchen Ho joins Paloma Zobel, Mariana Zobel de Ayala, Jaime Urquijo Zobel, Katrina Razon, Melvin Mangada, Robi Domingo, Gretchen Ho, Dan Matutina, Tal De Guzman, Ann Enriquez, and Louie Poco as mentors for the IDEA'YALA Innovation Challenge.

Hey, do you happen to have big ideas popping out of your head and thinking where are you going with these?

Pay attention, the Ayala people are seeking out young dreamers like you.

They have this project, the IDEA’YALA Innovation Challenge, which was started by Paloma Zobel to help young people with creative visions get their ideas in the open via a competition that will test how far they will go to transform those concepts into concrete design tools, which, in turn, will make them entrepreneurs.

The competition was formally launched on Tuesday, September 9, at the Fairmont Hotel in Makati City.

Joining Paloma in this search are10 ideators and mentors, namely, Mariana Zobel de Ayala, Jaime Urquijo Zobel, Katrina Razon, Melvin Mangada, Robi Domingo, Gretchen Ho, Dan Matutina, Tal De Guzman, Ann Enriquez, and Louie Poco.

The ideators and mentors of IDEA'YALA Innovation Challenge with the Chairman Emeritus of Ayala Corporation Jaime Zobel de Ayala. Photo by Wilson Chua.

During the launch, Rowena Tomeldan, vice president and head of operations of the Ayala Land Inc., explained why they started a campaign geared towards young people.

“Our main goal here is to challenge a team of five members to work collaboratively and develop a common approach to creating a product, services, and content for the mall experience in the future.

“We want the youth to think out of the box, to challenge established business or market assumptions and develop new mall enhancements and concepts that are viable, sustainable, and market inclusive, while contributing to the participants’ own personal growth," she said.

For her part, athlete-turned-host Gretchen Ho, said she wants to share her experiences and ideas with future marketing communications practitioners during the challenge.

Gretchen was a popular member of the Ateneo de Manila University’s Women’s Volleyball Team, which led to hosting jobs after college.


“It was never my intention to join media; I always saw myself in marketing,” she said.

“So right now, I think every day is a creative process for me because I have to produce and feature interesting topics. People also look to us for new ideas."

Volleyball definitely helped her hone her strengths and inspired her to come up with a new business venture she calls The Inspired Project.

“I think sa sports, I was able to realize the value of self-motivation.

"That's why I came up with my business called The Inspired Project. We will have our first kiosk in Market! Market!"

As one of the mentors, what kind of ideas does she expect from participants?

“We’re more about empowering, giving purpose... so for IDEA’YALA, I’m looking for purpose of the design, purpose of how things go.

“More than the business side. I want to see how the mall can engage the youth, how the mall can support passions.”

THE COMPETITION. To join the competition, Filipinos ages 18 to 24 should form a group of five and assume the following roles: artist or designer; communicator/marketer; project manager; business mind; and innovator.

Each team should visit an IDEA’YALA Innovation Challenge video booth at Ayala Malls or at these schools on the following dates:

• Glorietta, Alabang Town Center, Harbor Point, Farview Terraces (September 1 – 15, 2014)
• Market! Market!, Centrio Mall, Abreeza Mall, Ayala Center Cebu (September 1 – 25, 2014)
• Greenbelt, TriNoma, MarQuee Mall, UP Town Center (September 16 – 25, 2014)
• Ateneo de Manila University (September 15 – 19, 2014)
• De La Salle University (September 8 – 11, 2014)
• Mapua Institute of Technology (September 3 – 5, 2014)
• University of Asia & the Pacific (September 9 – 11, 2014)
• University of the Philippines – Diliman (September 16 to 19, 2014)

Each team must come up with a fresh idea in the following areas: Retail, Food and Dining, Entertainment, and Sustainability.

The winning proposal will be implemented by the Ayala Malls. Winners will get a trip to El Nido Resort, debit cards loaded with 10,000 pesos each, and a summer internship with the Ayala Malls.

For more information, visit






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