Jef Menguin

Jef Menguin is a learning experience strategist, professional speaker, and leadership advisor. He has equipped thousands of leaders in the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore.

In 2004, he started delivering talks as a motivational speaker. A year after, he began looking for proven and effective ways to develop leaders and build teams. He founded his first training company in 2007, and in 2009 he started speaking internationally.

He believes in human-centered leadership. He helped companies design personalized learning paths for leaders and does not believe in tick-the-box training.

Dream Bigger Dreams

Not too long ago, I asked a girl about her dreams in life. Before she even uttered a word, she cried.

She asked if she had the right to dream.

"Yes, you have a right to dream."

"I want to be a teacher."

Nora completed senior high school two years ago. But she did not continue to college. She decided to stop "dreaming". She felt helpless and hopeless.

As much as she wanted to apply for college, she could not support herself.

She peddled street foods and earned 90 pesos a day. On rainy days, she could not sell anything.

I could relate with her and all the others who are in the same situation.

I was in grade 1 when I learned that hunger is a monster. I looked for ways to earn a small amount of money. And I found out that I won't be hungry as long as I help people.

I was born poor. And when you are poor, tiny problems are challenging problems.

One of my sisters was sickly. Most of the time, my parents were in the Philippine Children's Hospital in Quezon City.

My parents left me to the care of my relatives who didn't care for me. They treated me like a burden and made me a house helper.

I never hated them because they welcomed me to their house. Had it not for them, I would be in the streets.

Life is not fair, but who cares?

I will share with you one little secret that is life-changing.

Contrary to what most people think, this secret isn't free. It requires dogged determination and continuous commitment. When you work on it, you will change your life.

Dream bigger dreams.

That's the first secret to success.

Whenever you dream of something, strive to dream bigger. For people like Nora and me, dreaming is like wishful thinking. I think many Filipinos have the same limitations.

You cannot blame us. Allow me to explain.

The first time I entered a mansion, I was already in college. I was a seminarian. They invited me to eat at a table twice longer than our rented room in the town of Antipolo where our family of six used to stay.

I was already in my 30s when I first rode an airplane. I was nervous and too shy to ask people how to put my seatbelt on properly.

When I was young, I dreamed of going to different countries. But I refrained from making it known in public. In the slum area where I grew up, nobody talked about going to other countries for vacation. It was unthinkable.

Most of us have limited capacity to dream. Our situation is our bird box.

The only way to get out of that box is to dream bigger dreams.

Thinking small isn't comfortable, but for most of us, it is what life is.

Whatever your situation in life, the secret is true for you and me. So you can create a better future for yourself and others, you've got to dream bigger dreams.

Most people think they have dreams. Without actions, those dreams are nothing but wishes.

People who dream bigger dreams do not waste their time in bagatelles. They improve themselves. They don't allow their lack of education and resources to shackle them to poverty.

When opportunities are not available, create your opportunities. No one can deny you the opportunity you create for yourself.

Dreaming bigger dreams worked for me. It will work for Nora. It will work for anyone.

Dream big dreams. Embrace your awesomeness and do D’BEST in everything you do. Most people follow the flow; they play safe, small, and same-same. I understand why they do that.

If we are to make a difference in our lives, to the lives of our organizations we serve and the nation we love, we’ve got to zig while others are zagging.

On a typical bio page, you will get a glorified CV. Those who market themselves as motivational speakers, experts, and gurus tell you why they are the best.

That is okay.

If you were to hire people, you want the best in the field. You can download my bio below.

I work with people I believe in and trust. I start with Who before I ask Why and How.

What I will do is share with you stories that may tell you more about me and you.

I want you to succeed.

We define success in many different ways.

When I was a child, success was being able to earn 100 pesos a day. In college, it was to encourage the youth to serve the people. When I was teaching, it was to bring out the best in my students, get a doctorate, and become a university professor. When I started speaking, it was to become the Jef Menguin of Asia, then build a unicorn business.

Today, I want the security, safety, and well-being of my family. I have start-ups that can support a good life while serving others.

Develop leaders.

Jef Menguin coaches leaders on strategy, execution, and engagement. He believes that leadership learning does not have to be expensive, long, and difficult.

Jef is known for providing leaders with focused, intentional, relevant, and engaging learning experiences that contribute to greater business results.

He has helped thousands of leaders in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, and Taiwan. 

Subscribe to his 12-week free email course on Super-Duper Performance

First-rate version
Move up, constantly.

Be Awesome, Be D’BEST!

In everything you do, give your damnedest best. Choose personal excellence over mediocrity. Put your ding in the universe.  Be awesome. 

Many years ago, I had an eight-hour conversation with Vic. He could express himself best in stories. He was like the Dave Chapelle of inspirational speaking. Every story was connected to the next. The first story sat with the last. 

The difference was that you do not need to bleep his sentences. He did not use obscene or vulgar expletives. 

Sionil Jose came to mind. I once asked him about pornographic descriptions in writing. He said that there is no such thing as pornography in writing, only bad writing.

Vic has polished wisdom explained in stories and acronyms. 

BABY and D’BEST were two of those acronyms.

BABY means Be A Better You. A baby needs help and care. It is the nature of a baby to grow. A baby is curious and has an immense sense of wonder. A baby’s imagination is not limited by failures and shortcomings.

He told me a story of a neighbor, the owner of the big house nearby. They used to own a small vulcanizing shop. The husband used to welcome his drinking buddies, or whoever come by, every afternoon for two bottles of Quatro Cantos Gin.

“One day, many years ago, I was walking by. The husband offered me a shot and asked me to stay for a while. I was a good neighbor, so I decided to stay and listen to their war stories.”

Vic loves to use small but meaningful gestures. He can bring me to the scene.

“The wife, who was watching us nearby, spoke. Sir Vic, can you tell us how to be rich?”

Vic must have answered this question thousands of times in sales conferences and seminars. He was a sought-after motivational speaker. He became famous in his company for delivering a twelve-minute talk that moved hundreds of school principals to get life insurance from their company.

” I thought that a talk about insurance won’t work for wife and the drunk husband. So, I answered that there are two simple actions they need to do every day. If they keep doing these two actions for 30 days, I will teach them another lesson. But only if they will do the first two. They took my advice very seriously. You saw results earlier on your way here.”

The other acronym is D’BEST.

“I came up with this acronym because people need simple answers to their questions.”

He told me of an employee who lost his job because of frequent tardiness and underperformance. He was devastated at first. But it did not take long for him to realize that self-pity won’t help him survive. Both husband and wife became fish peddlers. 

At first, they invested in two buckets of fish. It was not easy at first because neighbors talked about how the husband lost his job. The couple could not hide that. They persisted. They sold fish in the morning. And then they sold fish again in the afternoon.

“It was about six months after when I noticed that the wife no longer accompanies the husband. I learned from him that they got a tiny stall at the wet market. But the husband must continue for their loyal clients expect them to deliver.”

After two years, they expanded their business, rented more spacious stalls. They invested their monies in other businesses too. They employed people. The husband learned an important lesson about work which he shared with his employees.

I asked Vic if D’BEST are steps to success. He said yes and shared with me the steps.

“But people are likely to forget the steps. So, I told people that D’BEST is a mantra that helps cure procrastination, laziness, indecision, mediocrity, and foolishness. Say D’BEST as if it is one word or say it as a one-sentence declaration when you want to do something important. Say D’BEST when you are in doubt. Say D’BEST if you want to have an awesome day”.

A mantra is a sacred utterance. It is a spoken belief. It is not a wish but a reality to those who believe.

I was waiting for him to tell me what D’BEST means. I wanted the mantra.

Damn it! Be excellent starting today!” He uttered those words like it was the beginning of the big bang.

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People talk about how Filipinos had survived typhoons, floods, earthquakes, fire, famine, tsunamis, and other calamities.  

Filipinos can smile on camera though a house nearby is burning. We joke about our misfortunes. 

We create memes to project our frustrations about our mediocre government leaders.​ And we laugh about them as if laughing is the only thing we can do.

We Filipinos are resilient people. Or at least, that’s what we want to believe.

Remember what Einstein said about insanity: ​you keep on doing the same things repeatedly, then you expect different results.Some things we label as “resiliency” are another form of insanity.

I don’t know you and why you are reading this page. 

It might be because you are looking for a speaker on virtual workshops, webinars, or conferences.​

This is for entrepreneurs, changemakers, and leaders.

Since this will be the most visited page of this website, I want you to get what you want — and get something more. Get something valuable and something different.

I want to tell you how I found my message ( talk about it below) and how I live.

But before I tell you my story, let me state the not-so-obvious about this website.

You will not find here regurgitated ideas.  

I believe that the right mindset, right abilities, and opportunities can help us achieve. During these times, I may share some side hustles (sidelines) with you that require hard work. Even the so-called passive income involves action.​

You may find ideas similar to your favorite authors or gurus. I read a lot, and my reading can influence me. But I don’t write about things that I read or heard unless validated by experience. I talked about what works.

Find easy and proven ways to get a life and thrive.

My main reason for publishing articles and offering you virtual workshops, online courses, and webinars is to help you succeed. I write about entrepreneurship, leadership, personal development, and innovation. You will find excellent articles on motivation, focus, and other subjects that I know most people need during these times.

san francisco camotes cebu
A place I will always remember.

I was born in Camotes Island, Cebu. Today, I reside in Los Banos Laguna together with my wife Romelyn (who is a college librarian) and our son Jefferson Carlos (who is six years old and very inquisitive).  

I was a seminarian. I was an activist. I was a teacher.

I am a graduate of Political Science. I have 30 units in Master of Arts in Teaching and 9 units in Masters in Public Administration ( I took MPA while having my MAT). I got bored with lectures and class reporting. I opted to rest for a semester. But I did not come back anymore.  I got hooked on real-world learning.

In 2004, I pursued a career in motivational speaking.

Years prior, I was influenced by Og Mandino, Wallace Wattles, John Maxwell, Les Brown, Tony Robbins, and Francis Kong.  

I joined Toastmasters International to polish my speaking skills. During the first three years of my membership, I delivered more than 250 speeches. I got my DTM norm in 2011. I thought I would become the best motivational speaker in Asia and the best Jef Menguin in the world.

Then, I got involved in consulting.  

For the Department of Education. I have trained school principals and teachers.  I designed and implemented a professional development program for The Farm at San Benito.  

Clients started referring me to others. I started facilitating team-building workshops, presentation skills, customer service, supervisory training, stress management, time management, change management, personal development, and many more.

I could have stayed on one lane, but I took whatever landed on my lap. I was afraid to reject a prospective client. It was not the best way to establish oneself as an expert. It felt like running from one venue to another but not reaching anything.

But I learned something from the experience.

I realized that  I was not called to be another Og Mandino, John Maxwell, or Les Brown.  They are greats in what they do — and I could be like them too – but I want to do something else for the people I serve.

My first company was Starfisher Asia People Development. I hired my first employee because a friend recommended a fresh graduate who needed job experience. During the first two years, the company grew beyond my expectations.

In 2010, I started getting invitations to speak in other countries. Business was good so I hired 2, 4, then 2 more people.

I thought the business will scale up. I got used to getting six-figure clients. I established joint-venture partnerships in Cebu City and in Davao City. Then natural calamities happened. Training programs got canceled. The joint partnership did not produce anything. But I got bills to pay that can’t wait.

Starfisher Asia almost folded in its fifth year and I had to let go of my best people. It took me a year to bounced back. I had moderate success as a one-man business. I failed to grow my first business because I lack business acumen.

An opportunity came.

And I grabbed it without question.

In 2016, I joined a group of businessmen to create a training company for leaders. It would be a member of a group of eight companies. And the board decided that I would be leading this company.

To say that I worked more than anyone and more than anytime in my life is an understatement. I bet my life on its success that I neglected Starfisher Asia and decided to close it down. I put all my eggs in one basket.

I saw that my wife was proud of what I have achieved — and she too believed that I could make a great difference. Many things that I am doing today, I learned when I was building this company.

It never occurred to me that after 18 months, I would be leaving the company. My vision was too big for the Board; they wanted to build the training company slowly, surely, and safely. I wanted to play bigger – training does not have to be a commodity business.

That’s my version of the story.

I messed up big time, and I knew it.

Deep down, I knew I did my best and contributed much to the growth of the organization (as #1 salesperson, marketer, and learning leader), but I failed as its President. I grew impatient because I saw opportunities they didn’t see.

After I left the organization, I did not close any client for four months.

No, people did not leave me.

I had on average five inquiries every day. This website was working hard for me. But I sabotaged myself. I punished myself for my failure that I did not pursue clients though they’re knocking on my doors every day. Of course, I realized this in retrospect.

The worst calamity that happened to me was man-made. And I was the man.

But I remembered what I learned from Og Mandino, John Maxwell, and Les Brown. I remember the teachings of my grandfather and the great mentorship of Vic Santiago. I immersed myself in the study. I evaluated my experiences and looked for lessons.

I started to put more value on connecting with people, enabling leaders, and creating opportunities for others.

In 2019, I came back.

I established Business Innovation Talent and Development. I focused my attention on helping organizations innovate their businesses and build their leaders. Though I was not certified in any leadership or innovation program, my experiences (a mix of success and learning) taught me lessons my clients use.

I saw my business grow.

I had great plans for 2020.


Then, Covid-19 happened to us.

My clients, except one, canceled our engagements for the rest of 2020. I understood. I know, that the pandemic, like other things in this world, will pass.

Until July 2020 came. I woke up to the reality that the Philippines won’t be out any sooner.

I decided that the best thing I can do for myself, my family, and my country is to bounce forward.

I won’t be starting from scratch. The values, vision, and mission remain. Three months of quarantine allowed me to pick the best products and services that can help Filipinos during this crisis and in the new normal.

My programs are platform agnostic. I only need to choose what is applicable today.

There are three things that I do best: professional speaking, workplace learning strategy, and value-creation.

I design online courses for speakers, leaders, and small businesses.

I facilitate virtual workshops and host webinars.

I build groups on Facebook and educated members every week through live streaming and recorded videos. I am also building a community to help Filipino professionals build their dream jobs.

I write books, publish blogs and newsletters, and help small businesses market their products and services.

Calamities won’t stop me from helping others.

I may fumble and fail. I messed up so many times, it lost count of them.

But found my message from my messes.

Personal values guide us in how we choose to live, even if no one is watching. There are dozens, maybe even hundreds, we can talk about. I choose to get a life and thrive – and these are the values I believe can help me most.


I pay attention to my intention. Intentionality works like magic in relationships, in businesses, in leadership, and in backyard farming.


I keep things simple. I simplify complicated problems, explain them in simple words, and find simple solutions.


What you see is what you get. I share with you what I do. I worry not about impostor syndrome because I know my limitations and my talents and skills.


Not always in the past, but not keeping promises is a yoke on my shoulder. I show up. I persist. I try, fail, try again, and fail again, but I won’t stop as long as I live.


One can think out of the box, or in the box, of the giant box or no box. I choose to zzzag when others are zigging.

I choose to PLAY BIGGER.

No, not because I am ambitious. I am a simple person who does not dream of becoming famous or super-rich. Playing bigger is strategic and practical.


Here are various ways you can introduce me.

Jef Menguin is known as the trusted team-building consultant and facilitator by CEOs, wise managers, and HR leaders in the Philippines. He is famous for designing fun and highly engaging team experiences that also change behaviors, promote a growth mindset, and develop team skills. You don’t have to waste your time, money, and opportunities for silly games and overpriced packages again.

Jef Menguin is known for advising CEOs and HR executives on how to inspire, equip, and engage leaders in the Philippines. He is also famous for designing learning experiences that build a disciplined culture, support innovative intrapreneurs, and transform customer experiences. He does all these without you having to do the same-old-same-old boring and expensive training again.

Jef Menguin is an engaging storyteller and dynamic speaker sought by CEOs and HR leaders in the Philippines. He is distinguished for sharing practical wisdom, actionable ideas, and easy-to-use frameworks that also turbo-charge confidence and move people to action without having to sound like a snake oil salesman or self-centered motivational speaker.


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