500 Startups calls resilience 'the #1 trait of startup founders'. can it be learned?


How Managers and Entrepreneurs can Develop Mental Toughness in a High-Pressure World

Saturday, October 15, 2016. 1pm to 5pm

_GALLERY, A Space Greenbelt


When Jordana Valencia taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Launch program for entrepreneurs, a large number of her young students were focused primarily on learning the hard skills of starting new ventures. And who could blame them? Startups require an intense bevy of hard skills from engineering, product development, marketing, finance, and operations. But what if what we thought were the hard skills are in reality, the easy part?  

Jordana Valencia, UP Diliman's valedictorian from the graduating class of 2010, was the Managing Director and Chief of Education for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Launch Program, a summer incubator for student-led startups. Jordana has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MA in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. 

Jordana Valencia, UP Diliman's valedictorian from the graduating class of 2010, was the Managing Director and Chief of Education for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Launch Program, a summer incubator for student-led startups. Jordana has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MA in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. 

Jordana realized that many students were missing a much more important ingredient that's incredibly crucial in the innovation economy: their soft skills.

In this case, soft skills refer to the intangible skills, mindsets, and beliefs that when combined, helped develop the psychological readiness to thrive in this new world. 

Most people thought that traits such as self-awareness, collaboration, communications, resilience, and grit are ingrained - it’s either you have it or you don’t. But what if these skills, specifically resilience, could be taught? Just like losing weight or building muscle, what if we can train our psychological makeup to respond to difficult moments, wither crises, and emerge better and stronger? 

What if resilience can be LEARNED? 

It's a compelling question. After all, 90% of startups fail within three years. Even managers in big companies have to deal with failed product launches or campaigns, especially in the digital economy. Chances are, we will fail. And therefore we all need to learn the resilience to deal with it. 

Merging her background business and psychology, Jordana helped founders and managers to develop the resilience to deal with failure and setbacks. This involved using cognitive and behavioral techniques that are used to battle against adversity and crisis. Throughout her stint at MIT, Jordana has coached and mentored more than 100 students. 

In addition to her MBA from the Harvard Business School, Jordana also holds another graduate degree: a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. Her research  focused on how personality psychology can be used to explain entrepreneurial performance and success in the digital economy.  In Resilience @ Work, Jordana will share how to apply these techniques rooted in personality psychology, starting with a measure of your Advertising Response Profile, and how to interpret the results. 

Resilience @ Work is a half-day workshop on how to develop the psychological readiness to face and overcome adversity. 

  • It's a great introduction to a lifelong skill that you can apply in any difficult phase of your work
  • It's a fantastic way to build a crucial skill that you an can use in all aspects of your life
  • It's specifically designed for people with limited knowledge in psychology.

In this workshop, you'll learn: 

  1. What resilience really means in the context of work and life.
  2. A process to measure and build your own psychological readiness. 
  3. A practical how-to guide that you can apply in any difficult situation.
  4. How to recognize if social media is stopping you from building true grit. 
  5. How to help develop resilience in others.

In her seminal work, Diane Coutou posits that:

"Resilient people possess thee characteristics — a staunch acceptance of reality; a deep belief, often buttressed by strongly held values, that life is meaningful; and an uncanny ability to improvise. You can bounce back from hardship with just one or two of these qualities, but you will only be truly resilient with all three."

At this workshop, we'll also discuss the real world experience of people who've gone through adversity, or coached others in facing difficult situations.  

As Executive Director of IdeaSpace, Diane Eustaquio has seen all sorts of young entrepreneurs face adversity and rise up to the occasion. At IdeaSpace's intensive incubation process, founders have to go through a gut-wrenching process of building and launching a new product or service in a short span of time and with limited resources. Resiliency is par for the course, and Diane has coached many aspiring founders to build their internal fortitude.   

Meanwhile, young entrepreneur Carlo Valencia went through his own crucible moment. Carlo had to make the tough choice of stepping down from the startup he built, Klaseko, in order to build a family. Today, Carlo is the Formation and Recruitment Officer for Eden Holdings, Nix Nolledo's technology venture builder. What was his experience like in making this tough choice? How did he face a difficult situation? 

Both Diane and Carlo will be joining the workshop's panel discussion on their personal experience in developing resilience. 


1:00 - 1:15  Intro

1:15 - 1:30  Group Kick-off

1:30 - 3:00  Understanding Resilience, and Measuring Your Adversity Response Profile

3:00 - 3:45  Interpreting your Results

3:45 - 4:00  Coffee & Donut Break

4:00 - 5:00  Panel Discussion with Diane Eustaquio, Carlo Valencia, and Oliver Segovia


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Jordana holds an MBA from Harvard Business School where she graduated with honors. She also holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University where she specialized in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis. 

Jordana is passionate about the intersection of psychology, business, and education. Previously, she was the Managing Director and Chief of Education of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Launch Entrepreneurship Program.

Before MIT, Jordana was a product manager in L’Oreal and worked in an education start-up in the Philippines. Her first entrepreneurial venture was REACH, an organization that delivered leadership education to high school students in Asia. Jordana received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of the Philippines where she graduated valedictorian of her class.





Carlo is failing his way to success. Prior to his startup journey, Carlo worked at HSBC for 9 years. As an agent, he applied and got rejected for promotion 5 times within a year. On his 6th try, he finally got promoted, holding various posts such as Training Coordinator, Administrator, and Project Manager. 

After HSBC, he did freelance web development and social media services. It only took about 6 months for it to become what he calls his most successful failure as this led into him co-founding and becoming the CEO of Philippine Edtech startup Klaseko Web Enrollment

He recently stepped down and is currently job hunting while starting his new advocacy, Startup PH Mentorship. Startup PH Mentorship aims to connect new and aspiring founders with the right experts - mentors - to help overcome the unique problems that these founders have. 

An entrepreneur by nature, Carlo is tenacious, gritty, a perpetual learner, and an advocate of personal development.



diane eustaquio

Diane is the Executive Director of IdeaSpace. She is responsible for managing the foundation’s flagship incubation and acceleration program. Prior to IdeaSpace, Diane served as Executive Assistant to the Head of Strategy for First Pacific Company Ltd where she gained exposure in closing deals, M&As and strategy management.  

Diane also brings her experience in people and government relations, and manufacturing which she gained from previous roles in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and in the semiconductor manufacturing industry as manager of Analog Devices Philippines’ Total Quality Management Program. 

She took her undergraduate studies in  B. A. Organizational Communication (cum laude) from the University of the Philippines – Manila, where she focused her research papers and thesis on team cohesion.


oliver segovia

Oliver is the founder and CEO of AVA Online Group. He has more than 10 years experience building and launching products in Southeast Asia. His story starting a tech company in an emerging market is a case study at Harvard Business School and Stanford GSB. 

Oliver has also published articles in the Harvard Business Review and co-authored the book "Passion & Purpose"

Oliver used to live in Singapore where he worked for P&G in a ridiculously fun tour-of-duty launching new products across Southeast Asia. Oliver has a BSc in Management Engineering from Ateneo de Manila University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. 


  1. Entrepreneurs who are building high-growth and risky startups, or potential founders who are thinking about starting their own company
  2. Managers and executives in charge of high stakes projects in a fast moving and competitive industry.
  3. HR professionals who wish to develop more resilient teams. 
  4. Students who are about to enter the corporate world
  5. Teachers, coaches, and educators who are interested in developing more resilient students.
  6. Professionals going through a crisis or a difficult phase in their careers.

Workshop Fees: P2,999 (via Paypal), P3,499 (at the door)

Inclusive of: 

  • Half day workshop

  • Panel discussion and Q&A

  • Networking event

  • Starbucks Coffee

  • Krispy Kreme Donuts (because sugar is a difficult moment's best friend!)


  • An explanation of how Brad Pitt is dealing with adversity. 
  • Though these techniques might be able to help with your love life, we can't promise that you'll get over him / her. =)

Register via Paypal:

Once your Paypal transfer is complete, you'll be automatically registered to the workshop. 

We also accept payments via bank deposits:

Account name: W.L. Segovia & Associates Inc. 

Account number: 000430215177, BDO Metropolitan Avenue 

Please make sure to send us a photo of your deposit slip to actionstack@gmail.com to confirm your spot.