By Jaydee Valerie Cruz
All of us were likely inspired by a memory or experience from our younger years which became the turning point to where we are now. Just like us, Ms. Monica Prado had those beginnings; memories that made her follow this path—a path in which she thrives at today. Ms. Monica has been in this career for two decades. The first time meeting her for an interview was interesting because I could feel her confidence in her stance even if it is only through a screen. She exudes professionalism, but she also has a kind heart and is very understanding.
Aside from founding Communicare, she has written two engaging children’s books that encourage children and adults alike to enjoy the simple things in life. Being a writer and a communication coach is a wonderful pursuit, but there are still more things to know about the founder of Communicare.
In this interview, we will dive into Ms. Monica’s aspirations and personal growth. It will take us to a place of hard work and passion.
Conducting training and coaching sessions must be a tough job. In your years handling Communicare and speaking and coaching as a career, what was the biggest challenge when giving advice to your clients?
The biggest challenge is ensuring that I am giving our clients and participants the best solutions for their communication learning needs. It would be easy to give canned solutions and spoon-feed our participants with information. But at Communicare, we customize our courses for our clients. I study the profile of our participants and the businesses of our clients. No matter how many times I have conducted a particular program, I still study for each session. Next, during the training proper, instead of simply giving long and boring lectures, I facilitate the learning of our participants. I strive to draw the answers from them and let them explore how they would apply the communication techniques that I’m sharing with them. In this way, our participants are highly involved in their learning process.
Was there a moment that you felt your job is mentally and/or physically straining? How were you able to overcome those barriers while operating the company?
Definitely! As I mentioned, I study a lot even if I have been doing this for many years already. Aside from this, like any other human, I have personal challenges outside of work. Smiling in front of the camera or an audience in spite of these is not easy. But I remind myself that my problems are not the problems of my participants. They are giving me their precious time, so I need to make the most out of it. Over the years, I have learned to have intense focus on the present moment, so I can give my 100% to my audience. After my speaking engagement, that is when I tackle my personal problems.
Although it does not look like it, speaking can be physically straining. It takes a lot of energy to speak, stand in heels in in-person sessions, and sit still for hours during a webinar. Because of this, I take care of myself physically by hydrating, eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep. One day before each session, I do voice rest.
Being in the spotlight may look glamorous, but it is not all that. It takes so much effort and discipline to speak in public. This is why I also prepare myself spiritually. I pray hard because I believe that I can only do it through God’s grace and guidance.
You wrote a book called ‘Skip! Skip! Skip!’ What inspired you to write it? Can you tell us a special moment while you were writing the book?
In 2019, I saw my daughter skipping while she was alongside my husband on Nami Island in Korea. I realized that she always skipped when she was happy. It was amazing that it was the simplest things that made her happy such as nature and our loved ones and pets. This gave me the idea to write a book to remind children and adults alike to find joy in the simple things in life. In the book, you would observe that Sally actually found joy through her five senses. We can do the same!
Let’s rewind. Can you tell us about your childhood dreams? And what or who were your inspirations while working hard on your goals?
When I was a child, I wanted to be a newscaster. After college, I was offered a job in an award-winning TV program. The role was the entry point for my dream job. But during the orientation, it did not feel right. Why would I want to be a newscaster when I could not even stand watching the news (Most of it is bad news!) every day? That was when I realized that I wanted a public speaking job that would allow me to make a difference in other people’s lives, but it did not have to be newscasting.
My other dream was to be an entrepreneur. In my early years in elementary school, I already had a knack of starting businesses. I asked my dad to buy me candies and peanuts. My mom helped me repack them. Then, I sold them in the sundry store (sari-sari store) of my great grandmothers. When I could not personally be there to sell, I would call them to check the sales.
I have always wanted a meaningful career that would allow me to help other people. I believe that God has a purpose for us, and our work is one of the channels that we can use to accomplish this.
Are there specific people who made you want to take this industry? Can you elaborate on the reasons they inspired you or how they helped you going forth on this journey?
It was a number of events and people I encountered along the way. I started modeling at the age of 16. One thing led to another as certain companies asked me to conduct talks about their brands and products. This was the start of my public speaking career.
On the other hand, I got my start in the learning industry in an unexpected way. When I realized that I was not cut out for newscasting, I landed a job in marketing. I attended an orientation conducted by the training team of the company. The training facilitators fascinated me because I thought their job was meaningful. Somewhere down the road, another company called me to ask if I was interested to apply for a job in their training department. I said yes, and I eventually got the role. That was the start of my career in the learning industry.
What is something that keeps you motivated to continue achieving your goals for yourself? For Communicare?
My primary motivation is to serve God and use the gifts He has given me to serve others. I am also motivated by my husband and daughter and also by my parents, grandparents, and siblings. My parents and grandparents have always worked hard to give our family the best that they could and at the same time, help the Church and community. Thus, I try to do this, too. I believe that whatever my husband JP and I do affects our daughter and the communities we are in. Eventually, it will also affect the next generations.
For Communicare, I am motivated by our mission to help people become the best communicators that they can be. Communication is one of the most essential yet overlooked skills. It is always fulfilling to see how our participants become more confident in their speaking and writing skills after each course. Moreover, our team may be lean. But they motivate me to get up each day to grow Communicare, so that they, too, can grow, develop their gifts, and advance their career. To have a meaningful life and career, one must have a purpose that is bigger than themselves.
Lastly, do you have any advice for anyone who wishes to follow their dreams but is scared to take the leap?
Absolutely! Pray before anything else because what you want for yourself may not be what God wants for you. How will you know if it’s for you? If God wants you to do something, He will give you all the resources that you need to accomplish this.
Next is take steps to follow your dream, but be humble enough to start from the bottom. Let go of the idea that you are entitled to certain perks because of your skills or talents. Some of my tasks early on in my career in the learning industry included photocopying and stapling training handouts. I did not mind doing these. Instead, I did my tasks in the best way I could until my bosses noticed my diligence and gave me more challenging work.
“Finally, if your first dream does not work out, be ready for plan B. Follow the wind because it will lead you to the road where you are meant to be. Remember that we only see the spot where we are standing on, but God sees the whole picture.”
I am very glad that I was able to have a personal exchange with Ms. Monica. It has been a massive journey for Communicare as they step into their 13 years in the business, and it is thanks to Ms. Monica and her team’s hard work. This interview surely made us look into her childhood dreams and the reason why she pursued this path. As well as her determination to give Communicare’s clients and participants the best advice they need to know.
About the Contributor
Jaydee Valerie Cruz, 23, is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts in Literary and Cultural Studies at Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila. She aspires to develop her skills in writing and creating art. One of her hobbies is listening to music, which becomes a source of inspiration for her writings. She is currently focusing on her final semester in college while thinking of her future.