This week we spoke with Niña Hermosa, Bonifacio Art Foundation Inc.’s wonderful HR Manager. She shares how a need to be closer with family paved the way for a deeper appreciation of the science and the arts, how she grew in her role alongside colleagues and friends, and her message to these people who ultimately became family.
Do you have a significant science and/or art story before joining BAFI that you can share?
I was not interested in science growing up. The only thing that drew my interest in science was in my third year chemistry subject, it was one of my favorite subjects back then. I totally forgot that I enjoyed that subject so much until I joined BAFI. I am a fan of art, any form of art, I love going to museums and galleries every time there is an opportunity, I always make sure to include a museum visit every time I travel. My very first art appreciation was a field trip to the National Museum, the Spolarium of Juan Luna, at that time I did not know the story behind it but looking at it I immediately felt oppressed and sad. That is the beauty of art: it evokes feeling by just looking at it.
How did you come to work at BAFI?
10 years ago my children were 4 and 6 and my previous work required me to travel a lot and in order to be more present in their life, I decided to look for an 8-5 desk job. I have no particular company in mind but I always wanted to work in a non-profit organization. My good friend at work mentioned that there is a science museum opening in Taguig and he encouraged me to apply. I initially applied for an admin position but I was offered to work in HR. When I got the job, I realized it’s so cool working inside The Mind Museum with unlimited access to the galleries and getting to witness a lot of behind the scene activities.
Have you always seen yourself working in this particular field?
I did not see myself working in this particular field let alone working in people management, as mentioned earlier I always wanted to work in a not-for-profit organization with a mission and purpose for a social cause that will benefit the public. I am lucky that I was able to work in BAFI with a mission and purpose to advocate science and art for the public.
Has working in BAFI helped you develop a deeper appreciation for the arts and sciences? Why?
Definitely! I never knew that science and art can be integrated to present a science concept in a creative form for a better understanding of it. I never knew that there is such a thing as SciComm by using appropriate skills, media, activities, and dialogue to create awareness and familiarity with science concepts. I was always curious about the creative process of the artist, the technicalities and logistics’ behind each artwork/project before it was finally presented to the community. By witnessing the process, it gives me a deeper understanding of what impact science and art can do on our everyday life.
What is the most significant memory you have working at BAFI? Any favorite project/program that you have worked on or have been a part of?
There are too many significant memories but the most significant is when we opened the museum and the BGC Arts Center to the public. There is an exhilarating vibe witnessing the opening of these two big projects.
One of my favorite projects is the Traveling Exhibition (TE), I remember when our Curator and Managing Director wanted to expand the mission of the Foundation, coining it as Science Everywhere, and her idea of reaching a broader audience for art and science by creating local traveling exhibitions. If the children from the provinces do not have the opportunity to visit our museum in Taguig, BAFI will bring The Mind Museum to their provinces. It’s a new territory with a lot of trials and errors but we were so happy that we booked almost all TEs in different parts of the country until unfortunately, a pandemic happened.
How did the pandemic affect your work and your relationship with the team?
The pandemic changes the landscape of working and interacting, it is definitely harder to communicate and engage the employees more than ever especially for the new members. It is so unfortunate that I was not able to have an opportunity to get to know the new members. I am a bit sad that they never get to experience bumping into colleagues in the pantry, chatting about weekend plans or projects that they are working on. Giving someone advice or providing a missing piece of information on the problem that they have been solving. I just realized how much these conversations mattered until we found ourselves working remotely from each other.
It’s good to work with a team that is so self-reliant, motivated, and resilient. It’s not easy operating as a non-profit organization but with a team like BAFI, everything seems effortless and fun too. Without the support that the team has provided the organization might not have achieved its goal and milestones. Thank you for the amazing dedication and effort so that the organization can see better days. Grateful that I was able to cross paths with each one of you, to more good days and amazing projects ahead!