Igniting Expert Goodness: An interview with HBS Alum Raymond Magpantay

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job as Executive Director of Harvard Business School Community Partners NorCal is witnessing so many of our amazing alumni evolve an initial consulting engagement through Community Partners into a personal crusade to do good and create impact in broad, unforeseeable ways.  In this article, I interviewed Raymond Magpantay, AMP ’05, on his experience volunteering through Community Partners for the nonprofit No Bully, and how this engagement resulted in him having a greater influence on a range of social impact issues, including today’s COVID-19 crisis.

What is  No Bully?

No Bully is a nonprofit based in San Francisco with the mission to eradicate bullying by igniting compassion and empathy in the world.  Since its beginnings in 2008, No Bully has become one of the most comprehensive professional development programs proven to stop bullying and enhance school safety and culture.

Why did you join the HBS Community Partners consulting team in the first place and who were the other members of the team?

I joined this pro bono consulting team in 2015 because of my strong convictions and desire to give back to the community, and explore the great opportunity of networking and sharing expertise among fellow alumni.  It was here I had the opportunity to meet Ben Dubin, MBA ’97, Amit Jain, MBA ’11, and Kelly Liang, MBA ’00 and for the first time.  I still maintained my full-time job as a Vice President at Wells Fargo while participating in this project.

What was the challenge the No Bully volunteer consulting team addressed, and the high level recommendations?

No Bully tasked us with the challenge of helping them find a way to scale up due to the “high touch” cost of physically delivering the No Bully Solution Coach Training. Our work yielded the following high-level recommendations:
  1. Offering a virtual online and digital solution by repackaging the programming and services delivery that could significantly drive down costs;
  2. Cultivating more corporate sponsorships to help fund underprivileged and disenfranchised public school’s access to the No Bully Solution Coach Training Program; and,
  3. Shepherding the clients that are already in the funnel for sustainable revenue growth opportunities via contracts renewal and endorsements to different schools – a cross pollination approach.

What did you get out of that volunteer experience?

Two gifts I received back from being on this team were:
  1. A great deal of hope that I – along with the entire team – was helping No Bully breakthrough their growth challenge, and strategically guiding them to come up with sustainable recommendations to achieve their mission/vision.
  2. b) I personally became an enabler and contributor in eradicating bullying, which I know can have a long-term negative impact on an individual (myself – being a victim of bullying at a young age based on my socio-economic status and unique self-expression and identity).

Tell us what happened after your experience when this consulting project was over?

Long story short: I was asked to become a member of their Board in January 2016.  Then later, I became the ambassador of the No Bully program in the my home country -the Philippines.  Specifically, and they designated me as the “perfect fit” for the job when, in 2018, there was an opportunity to launch the new programming/service product offering of No Bully called Power of Zero in Southeast Asia.
Power of Zero is an awareness-building and prevention tool on how to become “digitally savvy” by teaching children at a very young age the different “powers and skills“ as they constantly  navigate through a connected world. The program’s vision is to advocate and campaign for no bullying and no violence at age zero. Furthermore, Power of Zero is a global campaign to reshape early learning for a connected world. Led by No Bully and powered by global organizations, parents, and teachers across the world, this amazing initiative provides families and early educators with learning materials to prepare children for the challenges posed by the technology and connectivity they will experience in their lives, so that it is used responsibly.

What new relationships and influence came out of this experience?

It keeps growing like a snowball! I was able to develop a network of alliances and advocates that dramatically changed the support system landscape. We call this support network “the collaboratives” from different walks of life in the Philippines, who are crusaders of the “No Bully Campaign” such as teachers, parents, students, local government units and professional medical teams, who join hand-in-hand to eradicate bullying in the Philippines. I’ve launched two Public Campaigns for Power of Zero in Manila since 2018 and attracted a diverse group of audiences like our media partner (ABS-CBN), corporate service provider partner (Globe Philippines, UNILAB), the Academia (University of the Philippines, CANDENT International) and various non-profit partners (Assist Asia and Philippine Mental Health Association) – just to name a few of the strategic partners. This has even evolved into a broader engagement in COVID-19 crisis.

Tell us more about that. In what ways are you guiding the public health directive in the Philippines as it pertains to COVID-19?

Being the ambassador to the Philippines for No Bully in collaboration with UNICEF, I have earned my credibility and have been introduced to the PMHA – Philippine Mental Health Association (who became the recipient of the Educational Grant from No Bully) under the auspices of the Department of Health (DOH). PMHA successfully earned their grant due to their infrastructure in place and since they already have a linkage with Department of Education for their mental health education program built into the private and public school system’s educational curriculum.
In the wake of  COVID-19, I got in touch with the Secretary and Under-secretary of DOH to provide insights in their Communication Strategy on how to further simplify their approach in educating the masses about the virus, protection and prevention. I had the opportunity to provide pragmatic recommendations on how to handle massive testing, treatment protocols and collaborative alignment with various constituents to make sure that they are cohesively aligned in addressing the control and eradication of the pandemic.
I am also involved now in supporting the scaling a COVID-19 testing prototype for faster/quicker testing and turn around of test results, where the technology is being developed by UPLB – University of the Philippines at Los Banos, Laguna (my Alma Mater). My role and is to help this prototype get to the next stage – capacity building & providing access to strategic partners like local (private and public) hospitals and health clinics.

In light of this amazing journey, what are your thoughts about volunteering through HBS Community Partners?

I am continually and humbly inspired with the vast opportunity of expertise sharing (with depth and breadth) with fellow alums, and with our much uniquely curated offering of programming and services. This combination results in a palpable collective social impact that we create in our community, country and in the world. My journey with HBS Community Partners, which ended up connecting me back to my home country in ways I had not imagined, began by taking the simple step of volunteering for a 3-5 month consulting project for No Bully, an organization which appealed to my personal interests.  It then led me to a world of new opportunities for impact.  I encourage all HBS alums to take advantage of this most valuable of resources to make their mark.