Executive director

Gay Marie Francisco’s Master of Public Policy has helped her contribute to positive change in the Philippines.

Gay Marie Francisco

Key facts

Career: Executive Director of the Muntinlupa Development Foundation
Programme: Master of Public Policy, Postgraduate Diploma in Arts
Subjects: Media, Film and Television Studies, English

“I am from the Philippines, east of Metro Manila, and I was awarded the New Zealand ASEAN scholarship, which gave me the opportunity to study at the University of Auckland.

“I am now the Executive Director of Muntinlupa Development Foundation (MDF). MDF is a non-profit organisation that works with the communities of Muntinlupa in the southern part of Metro Manila, Philippines.

“A large portion of the people in these communities lives in poverty. Most of MDF’s programs are in the areas of housing, poverty alleviation, health, and livelihood.

“As Executive Director, I oversee the foundation’s programs and also work on tapping various sources of funding such as grants and donations. I also work on the foundation’s advocacy programs, with the objective of pushing for policies that will help in alleviating the plight of the poor — especially the most vulnerable groups such as women and children.“I am also the Director of Communications of Bato Balani Foundation Inc. (BBFI). BBFI’s programs are focused on education development. As Director of Communications, I handle the foundation’s media and communications requirements.

“My postgraduate education helped in boosting my career. Many institutions in my country prefer to have someone with postgraduate qualifications in their senior management positions.

“The research skills that I gained during my study are a big help in my day-to-day work. Whether I am evaluating if a project is worthwhile to pursue, or analysing a particular issue, conducting the necessary research is a must.

“The Master of Public Policy program offers flexibility in career choice. The MPP is flexible in the sense that the knowledge I gained gave me an advantage whether I decided to work in government or in the private sector. Although I chose to work in the private sector, the work that we do is affected by public policy.

“An arts degree gives you the flexibility necessary to succeed in this fast-changing world. In my experience, a certain reading can be very powerful or one person you meet could be so inspiring that you begin to re-evaluate your career plans.

“While completing my postgraduate studies, I arrived at the decision that I wanted to see change in my country and I wanted to become part of that process.”