AHEAD Learning Systems, Inc. President Rossana L. Llenado was one of the speakers at the Agora Best Talks. Organized by the Philippine Marketing Association, the event was held at the Marriott Grand Ballroom last October 21, 2015.
Llenado’s talk, “How Carolling Helped Me Build an Industry,” was very well-received by the audience. In fact, Llenado was besieged by individuals wanting to know more about AHEAD Tutorial & Review Center, the country’s best tutorial and review center, as well as Llenado’s other companies, including AHEAD Online, AHEAD Professional Network (AHEADPro), and YuXin.
Llenado shared with the audience her humble beginnings. She says, “I lived in Los Banos, a small town in Laguna. We were a typical Filipino family, with no riches, no connections, and no advantages. All I had were my dreams and the willingness to work to achieve them.”
At five years old, she formed a group of carollers. She recalls, “I still remember making sure my group knew many Christmas songs by heart. Each of us had a musical instrument to play. We even had a strategy of knocking first before singing. We wore better clothes than most other carollers. I told my groupmates that homeowners would give us more money if they liked our singing and if they saw we had nice clothes on.”
A born entrepreneur, Llenado sold polvoron, rubber bands, Tex cards, and marbles before she turned 10 years old. In college, she pursued other entrepreneurial ventures as well, printing shirts and going into commercial leasing, among others.
She reached a turning point at 18 when she was asked to write a speech for a political candidate. She says, “It was on the importance of education to nation building. This is when my dream to make a contribution to the cause of education began. I knew, however, that I couldn’t be a teacher. For me, teachers should be near-perfect. They should be role models all the time. With my many imperfections, I couldn’t take on that pressure. So instead of forcing myself to be what I am not, I made it my mission to find great teachers.”
Since then, Llenado has built an industry based on finding great teachers to help students achieve their academic dreams.
AHEAD Tutorial & Review Center is the best tutorial and review center in the Philippines. She says, “At AHEAD, I’ve worked with hundreds of excellent young teachers. Most of our tutors are graduating students. We give them a chance to earn while they are studying, and to gain solid experience. Our lecturers, who handle our college entrance test review programs, have professions other than teaching. They are engineers, doctors, and lawyers who find the need to share their knowledge with others. We give them the opportunity to teach without sacrificing their respective professions. Together with these amazing teachers, we have helped thousands of students get into the schools of their choice. Since I established AHEAD in 1995, we have maintained the highest passing percentage in the entrance tests of Ateneo, De La Salle, and UP.
Llenado also manages AHEADPro, an organization offering high-level school leadership programs for the owners, principals, and administrators of academic institutions and customized training modules for company executives, managers, supervisors, and staff. AHEADPro also has test preparation courses for the NMAT, CSE, LET, IELTS, TOEFL, and GMAT, among others.
She has also launched AHEAD Online, an online tutorial and test preparation service that offers a fully interactive mode of teaching with voice, video, whiteboard, and file sharing components. Online tutorials are made interactive as teachers use various strategies to motivate students and learn faster.
Most recently, Llenado established YuXin, the first educational center to offer advancement programs that make use of such study tools as Mind Mapping and Speed Reading.
Llenado says, “Being an entrepreneur in education is doubly fulfilling because I know we’re contributing to the country’s development. We pave the way for students to be the best that they can be, so that they will someday be productive citizens and leaders.”