"Louie Sangalang, 43, Procurement Consultant. Cancer survivor. Intends to build a legacy for himself and believes that his drive and determination will lead him all the way to the final leg of the competition."
This was how Pinoy warrior Louie Sangalang was introduced by the international TV show The Apprentice: ONE Championship, wherein 16 warriors from all over the world compete in a game involving business and physical challenges for a chance to become One Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong's protégé.
Louie Sangalang, born in Baguio City, Philippines, is a cancer survivor, mixed martial arts champion, a Santé Barley TriTeam member, businessman, and a finalist in the recently concluded international reality show The Apprentice: ONE Championship edition.
Louie Sangalang raised the Philippine flag in the global scene and proved that a Filipino businessman and professional fighter is a champion inside and outside the ring. This is his journey to becoming the ONE.
"I don't really know how I was selected to be completely transparent. I think my background in professional sports, business, and professional career helped me get into The Apprentice. Also, my professional sport is mixed martial arts, so it seems relevant to the position they are looking for," Louie started.
The application was made on social media, where hopeful candidates must submit a one-minute video. Doubtful of his social media presence, with merely 2,000 followers on his account, Louie was greatly supported by his friends, relatives, and colleagues. After their collective effort, things went fast. The production called him last June 2020, became the final contestant in August 2020, and flew to Singapore the following month.
Louie had a chance to compete with a fellow Filipina contestant Lara Pearl Alvarez whom he described as a fantastic person at a young age. Although Lara was eliminated early from the competition, Louie shared that Lara, a single mother from the highlands of Cordillera, is a very promising leader and businesswoman.
Throughout the season, Louie showed his charisma, hard work, integrity, and stable execution of leadership, despite the demanding production schedule, the drama, and corporate politicking. He shared that he drew a lot of inspiration from the guest CEOs, martial arts legends, and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
For one, Louie was highly impressed with Sudhir Agarwal from Everise. He described Sudhir as a 'small and simple guy but a very impressive businessman who prioritizes customer satisfaction through technology.
"He created a BPO company that uses automation to attend to its clients. Customers feel personally attended even using their technology. His business entails supporting different firms, as well," Louie mentioned.
Aside from CEO Sudhir, Louie was forever a fan of his friend Fil-Am mixed martial artist Brandon Vera. When asked why, Louie simply said that Brandon is a ‘big guy but a very down-to-earth.’ "Most of all, I think that Brandon embodies, not just an athlete, not just a father but also as someone who is self-aware and someone who thinks about a greater work.”
The last grit and the final interview
After 12 weeks of fierce competition in the pool of hungry contenders, Louie was one kick closer to be hailed as THE ONE. Pinoy pride MMA champion Sangalang went head-to-head against Singapore-based Sales Director Ramella from Venezuela.
The two fiery warriors got an opportunity to sit down with Chatri over breakfast to discuss their winning attributes. It was a remarkable moment for Louie when ONE CEO Chatri labeled him a ‘silent assassin’ for being cool, calm, collected under pressure, and a capable executive.
Before the final round of physical tasks and business challenges, the two were treated to a Zoom call with their loved ones, to which Louie recalled that it was his favorite part of the game.
"My favorite part of the competition was the moment I talked to my wife via Zoom call since we were not allowed to use our cellphones during the production schedule. It gave me strength. The production allowed me also to open in the world. I was able to profess my love for my wife to the world. That is why I would say that it was my favorite part of the show," Louie said.
The two challengers fought for the last time through an extreme workout and the final business challenge. In his final lead, Louie worked on a project that was close to his heart. Being a cancer survivor, working on LOVE, NILS is a very emotional project for him. LOVE, NILS provides the much-needed psychosocial care to cancer warriors and survivors through their care coordinators, educational support, open art sessions, and pen pal programs.
"In this case, we were connecting children with counselors, so while they were not emotionally invested in them, they have the professional and technical personalities to deal with children who are undergoing mental health issues. The difference is that our project uses technology to bridge the gap. I'm proud of that project because we found a way to create and bridge that gap easier with technology," Louie excitedly narrated.
Louie failed to emerge victoriously in the last boardroom meeting but went home with so much leadership discipline, integrity, and honor for himself and the country.
"Filipinos can compete on a global level. There's no other greater feeling when you bring honor not just into yourself, family, but of course, the country regardless of the outcomes of the events I joined, for example, The Apprentice. I'm always super proud to represent the country," Louie proudly said.
In the end, Louie congratulated Jessica and the ONE Championship for selecting the right candidate to represent the sports media empire to the global scene.
Three golden rules to becoming a champion
Life is a battlefield for the 43-year-old Louie. He was a champion of his sport and his life. And he was very much honored to share how he wanted the warriors and survivors to see life in the eyes of a champion.
Louie's first core in life is to give up. It may sound oppugnant, but he emphasized that it is about humility to accept that you are not the best.
"If you accept that you're not the best, you are aware of all the limitations and your strengths. The good thing about this concept is that you must consistently make a game plan for self-improvement to build resiliency,” he said.
The second one is to find a mentor. The one who has a personal skillset and knowledge that a mentee doesn't have. Louie found inspiration and mentor around 2014 when he joined the Santé Barley Triathlon Team.
"I had the good opportunity to speak with Mr. Joey Marcelo, CEO of Santé, and I think one of the first times that I spoke with him was during a run. Sir Joey guided me throughout the 21 kilometers, and I had the chance to pick his brains like, you know what your values are, how do you run your business. I never forget that because, at that moment, I knew that Sir Joey started mentoring me. He's one of the people that I look up to in terms of being the CEO," Louie said.
Louie also fondly shared that if the Santé CEO joined The Apprentice, he could've been one of the Global CEOs in the competition.
And lastly, Louie shared his final principle, the mindset of an athlete, to never give up. "Never give up on your dreams, on your goals. Sometimes, we would think that the world is against us, especially when everything is coming all at once, but I encourage people to step away from the situation and compare how small they are to the rest of the world," he concluded.
A leader and a warrior. There is no tapping out in the ring, the race, and in real life. Today, Louie was able to join the Health and Wellness Nutrition Company and Thinking's Kitchen, providing healthy meals for different people who have different needs. Speaking ten years from now, Louie wishes to go global just like what Joey Marcelo and Santé have done.
To learn more about Santé, visit its website at santebarley.com/.