Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Auf Wiedersehen, Sabine!

Under the clear dark skies of April, in a small yet memorable Despedida held in honor of an esteemed comrade; in front of other key players and movers of the Philippine furniture and furnishing export industry, CFIF President Michael Basubas reads: “Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation, Inc. (CFIF) confers this Plaque of Recognition to . . . Mrs. Sabine Schacknat for her invaluable services and immeasurable contribution to the Philippine furniture and home furnishing export industry.”

After 6 years of passionate work in a far away land in the East she learned to call her second home, Sabine Schacknat, a treasured Consultant for Cebu X, left Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation (CFIF) not with a heavy heart but with wonderful memories and gigantic contributions in the Philippine industry she grew to love as her own.

Sabs, to her intimates, shared six years of her life serving as the Marketing and Promotions Consultant of the Philippines primary support organization for the home furniture and furnishing export industry – the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation, Inc. (CFIF).

“Sabine was instrumental in redefining and professionalizing the Cebu International Furniture and Furnishings Exhibition which CFIF organizes,” relates CFIF Executive Director Ruby Babao-Salutan in an interview.

“Her driving force to excel combined with her creative and expressive outlook,” narrates Director Salutan, “led Cebu X to be known internationally as the ‘design destination of Asia,’ which in the end won her the admiration of her colleagues in the field of furniture and furnishings designing.”

“In her own way, Sabine had also supported CFIF in business management and economics. Her exceptional abstract thinking has helped a lot Cebu X a lot in attaining its goal of finding the shows’ niche in the international market scene while showing to CFIF the effective and innovative marketing strategy suited for the positioning of the show,” adds Director Salutan.

Market Development Unit (MDU) Irene Simonette Ngosiok remembers Sabine’s charisma in dealing with people: “Sabine can take complex concepts and articulate them to just about anything. She simply has a gift of words and insight to process them on how a person thinks. These talents enable her to explain things clearly to different types of people and level with them easily especially during the numerous workshops and seminars which she personally handled for the industry, mostly done in the spirit of volunteerism.” Ms. Ngosiok had worked closely with Sabine for the past years when the latter had trained her personally in handling the Cebu X operations.

Human Resource, Development and Productivity (HRDP) Unit Manager Eiza Bautista-Florentino affirms these points as she relates, “Sabine is very professional, organized and effective in handling her seminars. She can easily relate difficult topics into easy chewable thoughts. With her departure, CFIF lost one of its potent trainor. We will surely miss her.”

Mrs. Florentino adds that Sabine always extends some hand to CFIF units especially on project proposal writing and design related concerns -- which are some of Sabine’s forte.

“Sabine for a while perhaps, had been a Filipino in her previous life,” yarns HRDP Supervisor Pinky Gonzales who had also worked in some of Sabine’s trainings in collaboration with HRDP. Ms. Gonzales fondly remembers some accounts where she never had any hard time blending with the CFIF staff. Mrs. Gonzales even recounts numerous occasions where this lass from Cologne, Germany empowered CFIF staff by training them to become professionals in their fields and to become equally competitive globally.

Ms. Schacknat’s resourcefulness, creativity and efficiency to come up with new and innovative approaches to critical areas faced by the industry had made out of her -- a model artist of diligence and vision.

“Her most successful achievement was a complex six-month in-house product development program for design teams in companies that she created and conducted for four years,” recounts Director Salutan.

“The said training was so tedious that it involves analysis, design development and prototype production. In the end, her performance as a teacher was outstanding and the rates she got from her students as well as from the companies were excellent. She helped the industry a lot,” Director Salutan relates.

Director Salutan further notes: “There’s a lot of good and excellent things in what Sabine has done to this industry. She was amazingly a heaven’s grace to us.”

And under the clear summer sky, under the moon and stars, with lighted candles and cool breeze of the night, Sabine Schacknat, with her beloved husband Konrad de Bortoli graced the occasion, received the plaque and thanked the family she learned to be with.

“All good things must come to an end,” as the saying goes. So is the stay of a true friend of the Philippine furniture industry.




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