Growing up in Negros Occidental with six siblings to a homemaker mother and car mechanic father, Maria Jona Develos-Godoy dreamt of becoming a neurosurgeon one day.
She relocated to Manila and was able to study at Centro Escolar University's College of Dentistry to become another kind of doctor—a dentist. She was then a grantee of a six-year scholarship from Colgate. In fact, she holds the distinction of being Colgate's first scholar in the country.
Since graduating in 1986, Godoy has certainly come a long way. In addition to becoming a dentist, she also became known to many as a hardworking researcher, educator, and more recently, a public servant.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of her graduation year, Godoy said, "I thank Colgate for the great opportunity [of being a Colgate scholar] because I would not have become what I am today if it not had been for its scholarship grant."
Godoy became an instrument of enabling future dentists. After graduating second honors with a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from a batch of 800 students, Godoy joined the faculty of her alma mater and steadily rose the ranks to become Assistant Division Chairperson, Assistant to the Dean, Assistant Dean then becoming Dean of Centro Escolar University's College of Dentistry.
Enabling future dentists
Since then, over 200 other aspiring dentists have had the opportunity to receive scholarship grants from Colgate-Palmolive Philippines and the Philippine Association of Dental Colleges.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Godoy went on to further herself so she could serve students even better. She completed a Master of Arts in Teaching in 1994 and a Master of Science in Dental Education in 2007. She completed her Doctor of Philosophy in 2003.
She has been an active officer representing the Philippines at the International Association for Dental Research since 2000, and represented the country as a summit speaker at the 5th China-ASEAN Forum on Dentistry held at Nanning, China this year.
Godoy now has her own family of three children. She continues to nurture future dentists through her passion and dedication to the profession. Recently, she was appointed as a member of the Professional Regulation Commission's Professional Regulatory Board of Dentistry.
"I hope that Colgate will continue to support aspiring dentists as this will surely make a difference in their lives and the lives of their families," she said.
Keeping Philippines Smiling
As it celebrates 90 years of operations in the country, it continues to partner with different sectors to support nation-building efforts and to make more Filipinos smile.
The Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures (BSBF) program, in partnership with the Department of Education, supports oral health education across the country through free dental screenings and tooth-brushing drills, distribution of oral care kits, and integrating oral health with the primary education curricula.
Last year, more than 2 million Filipino first grade students benefitted from the program. Globally, over the past 25 years, the program has reached more than 850 million children and their families across 80 countries.
Early this year, employee volunteers and distributors conducted the BSBF program to 574 students from Doña Aurora Quezon Elementary School and 500 students from Sta. Ana Elementary School. The Company also partnered with Puregold to help raise funds for Operation Smile Philippines, an NGO focused on providing free surgeries to indigent children afflicted with cleft lips/palates; as well as Robinsons Supermarket to help raise funds for World Vision Philippines, a humanitarian NGO that provides assistance to impoverished children, families and communities.
Colgate has been a partner of the Philippine Dental Association since 2001 in raising oral health awareness during Dental Health Month every February. This year, it provided free dental check-ups and free fluoride treatment to 10,000 children across 100 barangays.
"It has always been the mission of Colgate-Palmolive to bring smiles to more people. We are privileged to have the opportunity to reinforce this mission in the Philippines on our 90th year through our collaboration with different communities and organizations," says Stephen Lau, Vice-President and General Manager of Colgate-Palmolive Philippines.
For more information on Colgate, visit www.Colgate.ph. On Social Media: ColgatePhilippines Facebook page, @ColgatePH on Twitter and Instagram.