“Kindness isn’t just relevant; it’s the very essence of effective, reflective, and purpose-driven leadership, especially when it comes to achieving sustainability.”
Acknowledging the transformational power of his kindness as a leader in the non-profit and advocacy sector, Kindness and Leadership in association with Asia Square listed Dr. Anton Mari Lim or ‘Doc Anton’ of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation as one of the 50 Leading Lights in the Asia Pacific in 2023.
The list recognizes leaders from the Asia Pacific region who #LeadWithKindness and the impact they have achieved in the lives of those they serve. It seeks to share the stories, leadership styles, and influence leaders have on their organizations and industries.
Doc Anton is one of seven leaders in the Philippines lauded on November 13. Fellow Filipinos included on the list are Mark Anthony Salvador Angeles, Founder and President of NoyPreneur/NoyPreneur Cares, Beverly Azucena, Chief Medical and Professional Staff, Hospital Service of the National Center for Mental Health, Kamille Theresa G. Corpuz, Deputy Director of Century Pacific Group-RPSO Foundation, Alerne Christy Demadara Lusterio, Executive Director of TAO-Pilipinas, Inc., Karl Japeth Rosal, 2nd Officer of Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement, and Chelsea Elizabeth Samson, Chief Business and Medical Affairs officer of KonsultaMD.
The Kindness and Leadership, 50 Leading Lights campaign aspires to highlight the role of kindness as a currency in driving change and empowering businesses, the economy, and society. It also hopes to inspire others to follow the example of leaders like Doc Anton and his fellow listees who challenge the notion of what ‘strong’ leadership looks like.
Doc Anton is the Co-founder and President of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, which aims to provide access to quality education to children in remote areas, ensuring that no Filipino kid is left behind.
The foundation sprouted from a simple Facebook post by Co-founder, Jay Jaboneta, who shared the story of children in a remote mangrove community who were risking their lives daily by swimming to school. The post gained attention on social media; within a week, they raised enough funds to donate a single yellow boat to the community.
Over the course of 13 years, one boat multiplied into a fleet of over 5,000 yellow boats delivered to many schools and communities in the Philippine archipelago. This single act of kindness ignited other initiatives such as the construction of schools, dorms and learning hubs, scholarships for students, livelihood opportunities for parents, and mentorship programs that empower community leaders.
When asked about being included in the list, Doc Anton stated that “Being recognized among the Asia Pacific Region’s Kindness & Leadership, 50 Leading Lights is an immense honor, not just for me, but for the entire Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation community—the hope paddlers, our donors, supporters, and all those dedicated to the noble cause of bettering the world.”
Today, the YBHF has reached over 300 adopted schools and communities, continuing to ripple its message of hope and kindness. Doc Anton credits the success of their efforts to the kindness-first approach in leadership of the foundation. He believes that through acts of kindness, leaders cultivate trust, pave the way for open dialogue, and radiate empathy, fostering sustainability in relationships within and outside the organization.
“In a world clouded by hate and governed by strong-armed leaders wielding fear, our belief is unwavering: kindness is the powerful touch that opens doors and hearts. It is the dynamic force that propels positive, sustainable, and impactful change. Leaders who embody kindness serve as beacons, piercing through the darkness with rays of hope in a world steeped in hate and despair”, he added.
The movement Doc Anton spearheads at YBHF is made possible through the collective commitment and determination of individuals all over the Philippines and abroad. The Yellow Boat story illustrates the extraordinary potential that emerges when people unite in doing good. Doc Anton urges others to follow the same path of kindness.
“Accepting this award, I do so with deep gratitude on behalf of the communities we are blessed and privileged to serve. This recognition is a testament to the resilience, compassion, and unwavering commitment of everyone who contributes to our shared mission. Let us continue to lead with strength and heart, lighting up the path toward a brighter, more compassionate world”, Doc Anton said graciously as he expressed what the honor means to him personally and the YBHF community.
The Asia Pacific Kindness and Leadership Listees are invited to join the Women of the Future Shortlisted Candidates in a special reception to be held at the Eden Hall in Singapore on November 28, 2023. This initiative is organized by the British High Commission, Kindness and Leadership, 50 Leading Lights Asia Pacific, and Women of the Future Awards Southeast Asia. It is also sponsored by Asia Square in collaboration with Britvic, Financial Times, University of Oxford, and Saïd University.