The CNN Philippines’ Boss Tells It Like It Is

The CNN Philippines’ Boss Tells It Like It Is

Armie Jarin-Bennett, president of CNN Philippines, shatters expectations.

She admits to being shy and introverted, preferring the comfort of the home she shares with her husband, former CNN director/producer John Bennett, and their children, aged 12 and 14, over parties.

She’s not afraid to shed tears, induced by fatigue and stress, before her staff.

The door to her office is always open so her staff, or even visitors like me, can step in and ask questions.

“Just call me Armie,” she tells me.

You see someone accustomed to answering questions because she’s done this as an interviewer in search of news, and as an interviewee that writers have sought out for her success story.

The BA Mass Communication graduate from De La Salle University entered CNN as an intern in the international media company’s Atlanta headquarters in 1996. She was hired the year after and worked as news writer-producer. She then rose to supervising producer and executive producer. As such, Armie worked long, unpredictable hours supervising CNN’s news operations.

In 2012, Armie won an Emmy award for “outstanding live coverage of a current event” for her coverage of the Egypt Revolution. She got an Emmy nomination again in 2013 for her coverage of the devastation inflicted by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) in the Visayas.

Armie’s stint with the editorial side of CNN ended in 2013 when she joined Content Sales in Hong Kong and headed CNN’s content business in Asia Pacific.

Making Adjustments

The Filipina thrust into an American work environment had to adjust to foreign ways.

“I was not used to hearing people say things like it is. I got offended easily.”

But Armie realized not to take things personally, because her bosses and colleagues never meant to hurt her feelings. They just wanted to make things right.

These are the same guidelines she follows as head of CNN Philippines. Apart from charting company directions, Armie believes it’s her job to set things right, help the staff improve their work, and guide those who need help.

She’s like a mother who shepherds her flock in the newsroom, pointing the way, leading them back to the right path when they go astray.

Armie stays with them all the way, even as early as 4 a.m., for an election coverage.  She can stay way up late in the evening if the House debates aren’t over yet.

But you won’t see her partying because Armie is a homebody who prefers to spend her free time with her family. They go out, play board games, exchange stories during meals.

Armie monitors the news 24/7 on her cell phone while she’s at home, making sure her children enjoy their program of choice in the television in the family room.

“I don’t want to get in the way of my children’s fun.”

Her husband understands the pressures of her job. Semi-retired after spending 29 years at CNN, John feels comfortable looking after the children, thereby allowing Armie to focus on her job.

That job has taught Armie a lot—including the importance of shattering stereotypes about women.

“Why is it that when a man blows his top, they say it’s just how things are? But when a woman does it, they say it’s because she’s emotional? I complained about it,” Armie goes on.

Since she hates double standards, Armie doesn’t expect people to open doors for her, or treat her differently because she’s a woman.

But she expects commitment; fair, balanced, accurate reporting; and humility.

“It’s not about the glitz and glamor of being in front of the camera. It’s about public service. You need to understand your contribution to society and different people’s points of view. You need to do your homework,” Armie advises anyone who wants to join giant broadcasting networks like CNN.

She continues to do her homework, studying ways to grow CNN Philippines’ viewership, and continuing to make their news coverage relevant to the audience and the times.

Armie’s staff, knowing that she is as fair as the news CNN delivers day by day, is happy to grow with her.


Moving Up 

How do you get promoted and make it to the top of a big media corporation?

Here are some tips from Armie Jarin-Bennett, who is president of CNN Philippines:

  • Develop a nose for news. Be curious about what’s happening around you.
  • Do your homework. Research on the subject assigned to you. Check and double-check facts. Ask questions.
  • Breathe news 24/7.
  • Have an amazing family that supports you and understands the demands of your job. When CNN asked her to go back to the Philippines and team up with Anderson Cooper for the Typhoon Yolanda coverage, Armie’s husband John assured her she would know what to do, and advised her not to worry.
  • Establish reliable contacts or a network of news sources you can bank on.
  • Be prepared to take calls, pack your bags and cover news assigned to you anytime, anywhere. Armie answered a call from Atlanta in the middle of the night. Could she go to Tacloban and do the Typhoon Yolanda coverage? She was then on business in Bangkok.
  • Be a cowboy. Armie listened to the stories of the simple folk who were victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, and came up with a documentary which earned her an Emmy nomination.
  • Seize opportunities to grow. Armie applied for her job in Hong Kong and her bosses supported her.
  • Be fair, accurate, and balanced. Armie trains her staff to interview people representing two, three, and even four sides of a story, and give equal air time to all of them. She also makes sure her staff separate fact from opinion and keep the latter to themselves. For her, opinions are best left in one’s home, not aired in the newsroom.
  • Be patient. Work hard and learn from experience. There are no shortcuts. Go chase that story and show everyone what you’re worth.

– Maridol Ranoa-Bismark

Featured Photo from Television Asia Plus





First Innovation Hub for PH Startups Launched

First Innovation Hub for PH Startups Launched

Startup enablement programs to help speed up growth and learning for Philippine startups and entrepreneurs have been launched by QBO Innovation Hub.

“We are excited to create success stories that will inspire Filipinos to start their own companies instead of pursuing opportunities overseas,” said QBO and IdeaSpace president Butch Meily.

QBO is an established partnership between the public and private sector including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), IdeaSpace Foundation, and J.P. Morgan.

It will start offering programs and services to startups including access to QBO’s networking events such as classes, workshops, mentorship, feedback sessions, and use of its co-working space.

Available services include professional consultations on legal and accounting matters; marketing and design; corporate and government partner resources referrals; assistance on incorporation, business registration, and intellectual property filing; and investors and potential partners pitching.

“DTI hopes that with our partners from industry, academe, and other government agencies such as DOST and DICT, our initiatives will help advance the development of our local startup ecosystem and increase the number of high-growth oriented enterprises that will bring the Philippine brand in a global scale,” said DTI Trade and Investments Promotions Group Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado.

Through QBO, startups will also have an opportunity to join J.P. Morgan’s Incubation Program, a stage agnostic module (involving the review of company business plans) that will be available to select and high-potential startups all year round. It initially plans to enroll 15 startups by the end of 2017.

“As one of the world’s leading financial institutions, J.P. Morgan celebrates new ideas and we are committed to supporting entrepreneurs in the country, especially those with underserved backgrounds,” said Roberto L. Panlilio, Senior Country Officer, J.P. Morgan Philippines.

“Engaging with Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at their early stages is critical and we are excited about the tremendous opportunities they will bring to developing sectors and generating jobs, which are both vital in promoting prosperous and thriving communities,” he added.

To avail of these services, startups need to have an initial interview with the QBO team and undergo initial assessment. Through this, a customized plan will be designed to match with the resources needed by the startup.

QBO was launched in 2016 with DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez and PLDT Group chair Manny V. Pangilinan. It aims to link innovators, explorers, investors, academic institutions, startup mentors, funders, and enablers as well as a broad spectrum of partners and stakeholders from both public and private sectors to convene in constructive interaction.

“The Philippine startup ecosystem is growing incredibly quickly, fueled by a young population engaged in the internet and digital, and more importantly, by entrepreneurs that demonstrate incredible determination and commitment,” said DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara.

“By continuing to develop ideas into innovative products and technologies, startups can evolve to become great companies that positively impact the future of the Philippines,” she continued.

QBO is the first innovation hub in the country, pioneering the first public-private effort to establish an innovation ecosystem in the Philippines following the success stories of Silicon Valley in the U.S., Singapore’s startup hub BLK 71, and the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre in Malaysia.


Best Careers for Women in the Philippines

Best Careers for Women in the Philippines

Women have worked their way up the corporate ladder in many industries. Gone are the days when women stay home and just do household works, today women are excelling in many fields and have been viewed as important contributors in the workforce. So the challenge sometimes isn’t so much to find job openings but to find the best careers that will help you achieve your #LifeGoals. We’ve listed up five careers that suit our modern day super Filipina.

IT Services

IT services made its way to the top of Jobstreet’s list of highest-paying jobs in the Philippines in 2016. Although the industry has been traditionally dominated by men, women are seen to be slightly dominating the science and technology industry in the Philippines according to an infographic released by Rappler in 2014. This means that women are not having such a tough time entering a male dominated industry that pays such high wages. Even those with minimal experience can sign contracts with their salaries reaching 38,000 pesos. Not bad, right?


As we see in television and movies, learning legal matters may be a pain in the neck. This may sound like a cliché, but hard work does pay off! Law/Legal profession also made its way to the list of highest-paying jobs in the Philippines. It also shows that we have an equal amount of men and women in this industry. So to all women law students reading this, hang in there! Your sleepless nights and bottles of coffee will pay off when you enter the workforce.

Human Resource

Society has traditionally aligned women’s choice of career to social sciences or anything in the liberal arts and women have constantly tried to break away from this stereotype. But if your heart is happier in the management of workforce, no judgments! Human resource is a career not only dominated by women, by 72% but also one of the jobs that will surely offer big compensation package. In the Philippines, it is recorded that a Human Resource manager earns up to about an average of 65,000 pesos.

Financial Services

While people expect women to be good at management related jobs, very few expect them to be good at math. Don’t let that judgment hinder you from getting the huge compensation that finance industry offers. If you’re really bad at math, though, no worries! Services in the financial industry also encompass strategists and the like, which a lot of our smart women are good at.  This is clearly evident because in 2014 about 69% of the workforce in this industry is women.

Public Relations, Marketing, Advertising

Women have always been creative, what a better way to use this creativity than to turn your passion into your career! Public relations placed 6th in the recent Jobstreet Salary Report for 2017 of highest-paying jobs, while advertising and media planning was at 10th and in these jobs, women have dominated by 62%. You’re not only using your creativity as your life career, as a bonus you also get good pay for it! Jobs in this industry has a salary range of 24,000 to 26,000 for those who have minimal experience. Nice deal, right?


Many job openings come and go in the Philippine job market but no matter what career you choose, always remember to love what you do. It’s when you choose the career you love when you get the greatest return. Because a modern-day super Filipina is not only smart but also passionate!


Written by Love Gardose

ASEAN Summit for MSME Dev’t on April 28

ASEAN Summit for MSME Dev’t on April 28

The ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) is presenting the “Prosperity for All Summit,” a one-day event focused on “Driving Growth through Micro and Small Entrepreneurs in Trade, Services and Agriculture,” in honor of 50 years of growing ASEAN integration and progress.

DATE: 28 April 2017
TIME: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
VENUE: The Grand Ballroom, City of Dreams, Manila, Philippines

The establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community has created both opportunities and challenges for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the region. Thus, the need to strategically equip MSMEs with the right tools has risen in order to enable them to engage in the increasing competitiveness of the business environment.

In 2015, the 26th ASEAN Summit held in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi, Malaysia exposed the need to put MSMEs at the center of the ASEAN agenda. To address this need, the community is working to consolidate the efforts of enablers from the public and private sector in light of advancing MSME development and empowerment in the region.

“We’re expecting delegates from all of the 10 ASEAN countries to attend this momentous summit—along with the ASEAN-BAC members from other countries who are business leaders and innovators in their respective areas,” said current ASEAN-BAC chair and presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion.

The program for the whole-day event features keynote speeches from renowned ASEAN leaders and five main sessions.

The first session is on creating an enabling environment. The second is about strengthening  ASEAN access to global markets; third, opening up financing options for micro and small entrepreneurs; fourth, establishing efficient business practices through technology and innovation; and fifth, launching of the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network or AMEN.

For additional information on the summit, contact (02) 631-5001, email, or visit

Image courtesy of GoNegosyo

Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs 2017

Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs 2017

Today, we are recognizing the latest batch of Filipina entrepreneurs who have shown great examples to the next generation. Many of you would ask, why are we doing this? Why are we recognizing women entrepreneurs? We are honoring them because aside from taking care of their families, they still have time to pursue their dreams and lead enterprises. (Image courtesy of Go Negosyo)

Read more at Go Negosyo.