OUR SPEAKER'S PAGE
Join A. Cecile Watson, WED Ambassador-Jamaica to empower, celebrate & support women in business to alleviate poverty. #ChooseWomen
An international speaker, crowdfunding entrepreneur and C-Suite Operations Leader, A. Cecile Watson arms senior women leaders and entrepreneurs for success in business.
Cecile started her career as an Engineer. That, coupled with an MBA set her on the course to serve in leadership roles in the private and public sector in Canada and the Caribbean for over 30 years. And since 2014 when she founded pitchandchoose.com, the first Caribbean regional crowdfunding platform, Cecile has evolved to be the foremost crowdfunding expert in the Caribbean.
This senior business leader and former banker was invited by President Obama to the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya and spoke as a panelist on Crowdfunding and Angel Investing. And she has been speaking and conducting workshops across the Caribbean to promote crowdfunding know-how and advocate for its use as alternative finance which is innovative and effective in raising funding for causes and business.
Through Gr8Way Consulting, and as a Certified Financial Education Instructor, Cecile is leveraging her knowledge, experience and connections to support the start-up ecosystem in the Caribbean, and especially to foster the empowerment of women in business and improve their financial literacy. She is an accredited facilitator of the World Bank infoDEV Women Innovators Network in the Caribbean Acceleration Program and participates in a Caribbean-wide initiative to support growth oriented women entrepreneurs to develop their businesses. Cecile however explains that although her business is pro women, it is not only for women. Her target is to empower entrepreneurs to leapfrog up the learning curve to gain focus, make informed decisions and take right action.
A. Cecile Watson
Thalia Lyn: O.D., J.P. is a Jamaican born woman of countless notable achievements, an inspirational leader with years of experience across many industries, including teaching, investments and diplomacy. Her most celebrated success is as an entrepreneur in pioneering from ground zero the popular indigenous chain of Jamaican Quick Service Restaurants – Island Grill. There are 18 locations in Jamaica, and 1 in Barbados.
She serves on many boards, including that of the largest Jamaican bank, the National Commercial Bank, Chairs the NCB Foundation and sits on the Corporate Governance Committee. Always paying it forward, she is a long standing Director of Mustard Seed Communities, which operates 14 homes across Jamaica, caring for disadvantaged children, young girls with HIV/AIDS and pregnant teens. Her commitment to Jamaica’s development is reflected in various active commitments, such as women’s advocacy, as Patron of the CB/UWI 5K fundraiser for student scholarships, Patron of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and as the “Go Red Ambassador” for the Heart Foundation.
She has been bestowed with an Order of Distinction from Jamaica and the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand, the country she represents as the Honorary Consul General. She is the recipient of innumerable Business and Philanthropic awards and is a member of the Private Sector Organization, Jamaica Manufacturer’s Assoc., and the Consular Corps of Jamaica among others. Most importantly, she is a wife, mother and grandmother who rocks.
Christopher Zacca is a senior business executive and business leader.
On May 1st 2017, Mr. Zacca assumed the position of President and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica Ltd., a major player in the financial services sector.
He also was elected and served as the President of The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) from June, 2012 until December, 2014. He had previously served as President of the PSOJ from December 2006 until June 2009.
He went to high school at Campion College, and in 2007, he was inducted into the Campion Alumni’s Hall of Fame.
After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a BSc in Mechanical Engineering in 1980, he worked as Trainee Plant Engineer at Desnoes and Geddes. He completed his MBA at the University of Florida in 1982, then worked for another nine years at Desnoes & Geddes, the producer of Red Stripe Beer, in a variety of positions, culminating in the position of Vice President, Engineering.
Appointed Managing Director of Caribrake Limited in 1991, he then became Managing Director of Appliance Traders Limited (ATL) in 1994. He was Deputy Chairman of the ATL Group of Companies, and a Director of Sandals Resorts, from September 1997 until September 2009. In addition, he served as Deputy Chairman and CEO of Air Jamaica Limited from 1998-2004.
Mr. Zacca held the position of Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Jamaica from September 2009 until December 2011. Among his key areas of responsibility were advising the Prime Minister on a range of policy issues including the economy, business, and energy.
On July 31 2013, he, on behalf of the Jamaican private sector, signed the first Partnership for Jamaica Agreement, along with members of the Government, academia, and civil society.
In August 2014, the Governor General of Jamaica conferred on Mr. Zacca the National Honour of the Order of Distinction in the rank of Commander (CD) for “invaluable contribution to the Private and Public Sectors”.
Mr. Zacca is a Justice of the Peace.
Chris Zacca, CD, JP
Flavilla Fongang is an international bilingual branding speaker, motivational speaker and the creative director of 3 Colours Rule with a track record of success in developing existing brands and creating successfully new brands. She has over 15 years of fashion, marketing, branding, management and leadership experience working with large and small corporations.
Flavilla has been the main speaker at Danish Chamber of Commerce, Natwest Bank, Workspace & WeWork business incubator, and various business conferences in various sectors.
Among her list of clients: Crowne Plaza hotels, DailyMail Newspapers, London Chamber of Commerce, House of Fraser, Suzuki, LK Bennett, Holiday Inn, Pandora, Joseph Design, Tresor Paris, NHS, Chelsea Football Club, La Senza, and more.
She created 3 Colours Rule in 2008 and has successfully grown the business since. 3 Colours Rule is the only creative branding agency to effectively utilise colourology with neuromarketing which allow her clients to achieve better client conversion and therefore turnover growth.
Santana Morris hails from the parish of St. James, Santana Morris has distinguished herself as a resilient young lady with a strong sense of purpose. This is evident in her academic achievements; having earned a Diploma and Bachelor's Degree in Education and a Master's Degree in Management from the prestigious University of Technology. An astute strategist and philanthropist, Santana conceptualized the Jamaica Intensive Reading Clinic where she currently serves as the Executive Director.
Volunteerism is her password; always availing herself to serve not for more prestige, power or privilege. Therefore, she currently serves as a member of the International Literacy Association, ambassador at the World Literacy Foundation, Special Project Director at the Book Industry Association of Jamaica and Advisory Communication Committee Member of the Baptist World Alliance, the Global Family of Baptists.
Her outstanding and phenomenal contribution to nation building through a wide range of initiatives did not go unnoticed. Consequently, she is a recipient of the Governor General's Achievement Award for Achievement in Leadership, 30 under thirty emerging leader's award issued in Washington DC, an I Believe Initiative Ambassador and Jamaica Youth Ambassador to the United Nations General Assembly (2017-2019).
Christelle Harris has been watching her family build businesses since birth. Naturally, when she graduated from University of Toronto with a B.A. (Hon) in 2005, she would return to Jamaica to work in the family businesses. As Director of Marketing for Hampden Estate, she is the voice of the distillery’s highly respected rum products internationally. More of a driving force for her is that of Corporate Social Responsibility, which was evident in her establishment of the Christelle Harris Charity Fund in 2008.
Since the family’s acquisition of sugar and rum businesses in Trelawny in 2009, all funds raised through CHCF have been used to improve the infrastructure and enhance the learning environment in numerous schools within the vicinities of the Group’s operations. She is passionate about her efforts as they directly affect the families of many employees, a priority for her as she believes that a company’s strongest asset is its human capital. She has a leadership role in the Hussey Group of Companies’ businesses, including hospitality, service, manufacturing, retail and development and serves as a director on many of the group’s boards.
Born to an architect father and a medical assistant mother, Michelle Smith was taught that her possibilities were endless...her dreams there for the taking. After leaving Alpha Commercial College, Smith worked for several organizations such as US Embassy Kingston and American Airlines.
But the hunger for chocolate grew, and after months of research online, and visits to chocolate shops and factories, Michelle realized that in the world of chocolate, the ideas were limitless. In 2004, within the walls of a 2 bedroom apartment, Chocolate Dreams began.
Now years later, Smith manages and coordinates a team of 23, from two locations Roosevelt Avenue a 1700 sq ft factory and a single retail store at Devon House.
Whatever the mind can dream in chocolate, Michelle makes it happen! Whether it’s a chocolate fountain, rum soaked cherries, chocolate covered tamarind balls, chocolate truffles, even chocolate with the details of a credit card, Chocolate Dreams delivers!
Over the last 2 years Michelle embarked on providing the hotels with chocolate amenities and currently provides 7 of the major players.
Smith has received awards including the NCB Nation Builders Award Strength Award 2008, The Lions Club of New Kingston Strength Award 2008 and Heart Trust Outstanding Female Entrepreneur Award 2009. She was chosen as one of the first “Bold Ones in Manufacturing” by The Continental Baking Co. in 2010 and won the Jamaica Observer’s Baker of the Year Award for 2011/12. Michelle has also received recognition regionally by the University of Trinidad and Tobago and the Ministry of Food Production Land and Marine Affairs in Recognition of Pioneering Achievements in Fine Cocoa 2011-12. She also received one a Gleaner Honor Awards for Business in 2016.
Michelle serves as Vice President on the Board of the Jamaica Manufacturers Assoc and serves on the Board of Chain of Hope Jamaica. Her love for chocolate parallels her love for her island home. Her patriotism makes her adamant about keeping her business in Jamaica no matter how tough it gets at times, thus fulfilling her company’s tag line...“Created with passion, handmade with love in Jamaica”.
Sheree Martin, an experienced executive with a strong results-oriented focus, has spent the last fifteen years driving strategies geared towards increasing business value. Known as an inspiring and strategic leader with the proven ability to establish effective teams, she has a track record of achievements in the areas of Business Strategy, Marketing, Risk Management, Organizational Transformation and Corporate Innovation.
Sheree joined the JPS Company Limited in January 2014 to lead Human Resources, Government & Regulatory Affairs, Revenue Management, Customer Service and Communications. The company recorded significant improvements in its survey ratings for Employee Engagement and Customer Satisfaction while she headed those portfolios. During her time overseeing HR, Sheree placed an expanded focus on Leadership Development by spearheading a new Hi-Potential Program called JPS i-Lead, which exposed select employees over a 12 month period to advanced leadership competencies, knowledge building, executive mentoring and targeted on-the-job training. Sheree also introduced the first company-wide corporate wellness program at JPS. The program, which started in 2015, has been a contributing factor to improved staff morale and reduced health care costs.In mid-2016,
Sheree was re-assigned to lead the Transmission, Distribution and Supply operations across the island, with the responsibility to ensure Jamaica has a reliable grid through her team of capable Engineers and other personnel. In addition to Operations, she also leads the Energy Solutions business unit which provides renewable energy systems and energy management services to JPS customers.
Sheree is married to successful business owner, Wayne and together they have two daughters. She is a board member of the Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha), e-Media Interactive Limited and Allied Insurance Brokers. In 2016, Sheree was named as Jamaica’s representative in the IWF Global Fellows Program for women leaders.
Natalie Fearon is a quintessential Caribbean communicator who believes that life-long learning and adaptability, are key to remaining relevant. She values knowledge sharing, whole leadership and believes there is more beyond what we think is possible.
Natalie began her career in radio journalism where she produced a morning current affairs programme. She later transitioned to public relations and public education, which fueled her interest in pursuing studies in behaviour change.
Natalie currently works with the PwC in the Caribbean Communications team, where she is External Communications and Public Relations Manager serving 7 markets in the region.
Natalie holds a Master’s Degree in Communication for Social and Behaviour Change and a first degree in Journalism. She has 16+ years combined experience in Marketing Communications, Behaviour Change and Public Education. She is a proud wife and mother of two girls.
Christine Day, a Jamaican 400 meter sprinter, has distinguished herself as an Olympic silver & bronze medalist & a World Championship & Commonwealth gold medalist.
Day represented Jamaica at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games in London and Rio and also at 3 other World championship games: 2009 in Berlin, 2013 in Moscow and 2015 in Beijing. She also competed in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth games.
Christine was born and raised in St Mary. While attending Tacky High School in the parish, she earned a track and field Scholarship to the University of Technology where she earned a Bachelors Degree in Business and Computer Studies.
She is now in training to qualify with an eye set to compete and win an individual meal in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Sandra Walter-Glasgow is founder and managing director of BizTactics Limited, a company dedicated to supporting growth-aspiring firms. Sandra has over 30 years’ experience supporting the start-up and growth of SMEs. She is also a Co-Founder and Manager of FirstAngelsJA, Jamaica’s first angel investor Network.
Sandra is the former CEO of The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and the Founder of the Technology Innovation Centre, a business incubator at the University of Technology, Jamaica.
She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited since 2002 and is also a director of the NCB Financial Group Limited. She is a Trustee for three Pension Funds, and a Director of four other companies and four not-for-profit organisations. She is the mentor to MDS Limited listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange and counts among her company’s clients several other firms aspiring to list on the Junior Market of the JSE.
Sandra is a certified trainer in Corporate Governance Board Leadership and Business Ethics. Jamaica’s Eisenhower Fellow in 2000, she earned her MBA specialising in the Management of Technology, from the University of the West Indies, as well as a BSc in Marine Biology & Applied Botany.
Camille Facey, Attorney-at-Law, has spent over thirty years in the corporate world holding senior management / C-suite positions in publicly traded companies including Sagicor and Cable & Wireless.
Currently the Managing Partner of the law firm FACEYLAW, Camille has recently founded a new company, Facey Corporate Services. In addition she is President of the Jamaica chapter of the International Women’s Forum, a director on the board of Youth Reaching Youth, a director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority where she chairs the Corporate Governance Committee; a member of the Jamaican Bar Association serving on both its Commercial Law and Conveyancing Committees and a member of the PSOJ serving on its Corporate Governance Committee and conducting training seminars on its behalf and for the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
Camille has served on several boards including as Deputy Chair of the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunications Organizations (CANTO); Director of the National Foundation for the Development of Science & Technology, the Arts Foundation of the Edna Manley College and the Universal Access Fund.
A transformational leader, with highly developed business acumen and leadership skills, Camille has achieved world class standards and been awarded for excellence in creating, developing and leading high performing and highly engaged professional teams.
"Women are a substantial force of nature. We are patient, persistent and more powerful than we think."
Emma Lewis is an independent blogger, writing regularly on three online platforms: her own blog (Petchary), Global Voices and the Gleaner blog page. She is a social media activist, consultant and trainer with wide-ranging experience in public relations and communications.
In 2012, she retired as Public Affairs Specialist at the U.S. Embassy Kingston after 16 years. During this period, she worked closely with local media, organized outreach programs, administered small grants and supported NGO activities. Prior to this she helped set up a chain of retail bookstores in Jamaica.
An avid reader and writer, she is attempting to complete a fiction work for publication.
She is an advocate for environmental issues, currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica and the Natural History Museum of Jamaica and volunteering with Jamaica Environment Trust. She is a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Civil Society Consulting Group, National Integrity Action and BirdsCaribbean Media Working Group.
Born in London, she has lived in Jamaica for 29 years. Prior to this, she worked in international banking in the City of London. She has a B.A. (Hons) and Masters in Oriental Studies (Japanese) from Oxford University.
Janice Grant Taffe: She is the Senior Vice President and corporate secretary Sagicor Group Jamaica Limited and its local subsidiaries. She is a member of Sagicor’s Leadership team and provides strategic leadership for the Group’s legal regulatory and corporate governance issues. In her role as General Counsel her practice is focused on complex commercial and real estate transactions, negotiation of contracts and managing significant litigation affecting the Group.
Janice has served in a variety of senior executive, leadership and legal positions in both government service and in the private sector.
From 1982-1984, Janice was employed in the public sector, at the criminal bar, before transitioning to the private sector. Janice graduated from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus in 1980 with a bachelor of laws degree (Hons) and from the Norman Manley Law School in 1982 where she qualified as an attorney-at-Law. She was called to the Jamaica Bar in October of 1982.
Her experience as a corporate attorney spans over 20 years during which she has become subject matter expert in areas of pensions, insurance law and real estate transactions. She is a member of the Jamaica Bar Association and its Continuing Legal Education Committee. She serves in an advisory capacity to the United Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
Janice Grant Taffe
Through the Gr8Way Influencer Series, Cecile leads events to leverage her knowledge, experience and connections to offer business and financial empowerment services to entrepreneurs and growth-oriented businesses, from pre- startup to large brands. We specialize in women-owned and women-lead businesses, supporting them to be sustainable and financially empowered.
Mission: to “excellerate” the business potential of our clients, equipping them to become financially empowered and to optimize their contribution to the growth of their national economies.
Excellerating the business potential is dual pronged. It addresses the accelerating the business performance, and doing so with excellence.
Copyright 2017, Gr8Way Consulting Ltd.