MIT Sloan Executive Education innovation@work Blog

A personal story of accomplishment: Jackie Caniza

By Colleen Berger, Program Director, MIT Sloan Executive Education

As a Program Director at MIT Sloan Executive Education, I have the good fortune of meeting many interesting, successful people from a variety of industries. I truly enjoy getting to know our participants and hearing their stories, and I would like to share a recent one with you.

Jackie Caniza is a Success Coach and HR Consultant at Business Hat, Inc. in the Philippines. After a 15-year career in corporate HR roles, she took a calculated risk and decided to start her own consulting business. Realizing she needed two separate educational tracks in order to succeed, she pursued her coaching certification while simultaneously evaluating executive education programs that would teach her the necessary business skills for starting and sustaining a business.

Jackie's father, a steadfast proponent of engineering and technology, had always aspired to spend time at MIT and suggested Jackie consider a program at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Given the considerable costs associated with starting a new business, Jackie was skeptical about being able to take on an additional commitment. But her father persisted, even offering to split the cost with her because he felt so strongly about the opportunity and the results it would produce.

Jackie Caniza MIT Sloan ACE

In the fall of 2012, Jackie enrolled in four MIT Sloan Executive Education programs and earned an Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership. She was thrilled with her experience and the value of the education which could be immediately applied to her new business. End of story ... or so she thought.

Jackie's dad had a different idea in mind and encouraged her to go back to MIT Sloan to earn an Advanced Certificate for Executives (ACE). After much debate about the challenges-- time away from her new business, the significant travel distance between Manila and Boston, and the incremental financial investment--Dad triumphed. Jackie would return to MIT Sloan to complete her ACE, and once again her father graciously offered to split the cost.

In January of 2015, Jackie completed the Entrepreneurship Development Program, which had an even more profound impact on her new business and was an unforgettable experience. Several more programs ensued over the course of that year.

I had the great pleasure of welcoming Jackie back to MIT Sloan to culminate her ACE with the five-day program, Leading Change in Complex Organizations. She was a natural and contributed as much to the program and the cohort as she got out of it. According to Jackie, "The program has a great blend of concepts and practical application. The discussions with other participants overlays with a rich experience. Overall an amazing week!"

At the close of the program, she shared the story of her personal journey, and the bittersweet end. Jackie's father passed away last year. It was only then that she learned he couldn’t actually afford to subsidize her training at MIT and had made considerable personal sacrifices to do so. It meant that much to him.

The significant accomplishment of earning her ACE is not only a proud moment for Jackie, but a nostalgic one as well. Her proud father undoubtedly attended the certificate ceremony in spirit and feels a strong sense of accomplishment for his daughter and himself.

Featured image (left to right): MIT Sloan Executive Education Associate Dean, Peter Hirst; Jackie Caniza; MIT Sloan Professor John Van Maanen

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