Ex-SBMA chief Eisma handling of Covid crisis gets her a Stevie


OLONGAPO CITY—For her proactive program that steered the Subic Bay Freeport through the Covid-19 pandemic, former Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman and administrator Wilma “Amy” T. Eisma won a silver award in this year’s edition of the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, which recognizes innovation in business throughout the entire Asia-Pacific region.

Eisma, who left the Subic agency in March last year only to be appointed director at the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines, took the silver Stevie for “Thought Leader of the Year.”

This is given to those with innovative ideas who demonstrate the confidence to promote or share those ideas as actionable, distilled insights.

The winners in the 2023 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards were announced on Thursday from more than 800 nominations for innovative achievements in the 29-nation Asia-Pacific region.

Gold, silver, and bronze Stevie Award winners were determined by the average scores of more than 150 professionals around the world, organizers said.

The winners will be celebrated at a virtual ceremony on June 27.

The former SBMA chief was cited for crafting “a roadmap to survival,” thus saving jobs and investments in the Subic Bay Freeport during the health crisis that crippled businesses worldwide.

This roadmap was a series of innovations: business teleconferencing; disinfection protocols and mass testing; emergency isolation facilities; online bidding for products and services; virtual job fairs; online medical consultation; and a “bubble” concept for sports tournaments, seminars and workshops, and other events to boost local business operations.

Eisma was also described in the competition entry “Wilma T. Eisma: Foresight and Fortitude in the Time of Covid-19” to have successfully steered Subic out of the pandemic “without any playbook to base her decisions on when Covid-19 was wreaking havoc on the global economy.”
            Her battle cry of “Malasakit” rallied Subic stakeholders to purposive action, the citation said.

The proactive measures not only sustained jobs and investments in Subic, but also led to significant economic growth during the worst period of the pandemic: P3.2-billion revenue, P1.3-billion new committed investments, 682 new jobs, and US$1.12-billion imports and US$1.03-billion exports in 2020, the first year of the pandemic.

These records were even eclipsed in 2021 with a P3.47-billion revenue, or an 8-percent income growth; 142,177 workers, or an employment increase of 2.31 percent; 1,737 business locators; and P17.29-billion new investments that topped the 2020 record by P15.74 billion or 1,011 percent.

This was the second time that Eisma received a Stevie award. In 2018, a year after becoming SBMA’s first female CEO, Eisma also won a silver Stevie as “Female Executive of the Year for Government or Non-profit” under the individual women awards category.

In a social media post, Eisma said she was “humbled and honored” with the recent recognition and thanked the public for their continuing support.