To say this year was transformational would be an understatement; the world has shifted in a phenomenal way from powerful statements of hope to historic leadership that challenged the status quo. These changes left many with a greater sense of global economic uncertainty where the ripple effects may continue throughout 2017. The best of 2016 were the opportunities that seem to be borne from the expectation of an economic contraction with many firms quietly “exiting” staff. Some executives in leadership positions saw it was the best time to invest in children, young adults and future entrepreneurs of our nation. For example, AFETT collaborated with many businesses such as the Digicel Foundation, the Unit Trust Corporation, the Bankers Association, Guardian Life, NIPDEC, BPTT, Estate 101, First Citizens Bank, the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, Conflict Women Ltd., SAGICOR, CWC – FLOW, WINAD, PETROTRIN and Population Services International to name a few.
These collaborations will hopefully help us address some ongoing issues going forward. For example, In the face of adversity, the desire to ask why misogyny and disproportional rights of women seem so easily accepted by both genders can only change when there is a sustained approach to do so. Also at a time in the world where information, communication and technology is easily acquired, we constantly seem to be failing at implementing strategies that can systematically improve our economy specifically within the non-petroleum sector and services. As such, we can no longer sit idly by and wait. Many women know that their strength lies in the action driven out of love and passion to do more for their families and themselves which will lead to positive change for all. In 2016, leadership and collaboration prevailed and with it the ability to harness knowledge which will benefit personal development, entrepreneurship and the ability to align with career goals. In 2017, AFETT will embrace this shift and would love if you could join us.
President’s Note – Year in Review, December 2016
Harnessing leadership qualities can make the difference in the level of success one achieves. AFETT does not take this for granted. Many times pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is where your true calling may be found. At our leadership workshop held at Kapok earlier this year, we were pleased to have Neysha Soodeen of Toute Bagai Publishing share her inspirational story with the group. She spoke about belief in oneself and having the constant drive to succeed. In addition, one must perfect the ability to hire the best team for the job while giving them space to learn. “Mistakes = Lessons learned”. In addition AFETT’s very own Past President, Lisa Marie-Alexander the Chief Marketing Officer of the JMMB Group enlightened us all by highlighting the importance of being authentic to oneself. She indicated this will allow you to recognize how to align with your desired career path and your core values. When hidden talents and gifts are revealed, this can lead to inspiration, creativity and increased productivity. To truly succeed, one must follow their own path. Whilst it is important to weigh the risk, many times having a plan to get it done and the drive to follow your passion will garner the most satisfaction.
What will make you a leader of your domain? What would you like to achieve in 2017 and beyond? The membership of AFETT will continue to share a wealth of information to gain firsthand knowledge from women from similar backgrounds. Dale Laughlin, Business Coach and Consultant was outstanding when she spoke at our Business Booster monthly meeting. Similarly if your desire is to facilitate a monthly meeting or coach a young lady to gain greater insight into your ability, AFETT can assist in this regard.
Collaborations between AFETT and both the public and private sector has seen a steady increase over the years. Organisations prefer to invest their time over a longer time period rather than simply provide hand-outs. Social progress can be measured by the availability of basic human needs, foundations of well-being and opportunity. Whereas there is a direct correlation between economic growth and social progress, it can be misaligned and often important social programs miss the opportunity of reaching rural areas. Therefore social progress will depend on the investment from our stakeholders including civil society and AFETT’s ability to implement which ideally should align with national policy choices.
Our collaborations are the most important aspect of AFETT as we are able to partner with the Digicel Foundation, the Ministry of Community Development and CWC – Flow on social outreach programs. Our fundraising efforts seen annually in our Suit Me UP and MovieTowne Premier funded our Women’s Development Fund toward the UWI bursary which is afforded to two students annually. Without the help of the Unit Trust Corporation, Petrotrin, Zoom Caribbean and Chapman’s, it would have been challenging to coordinate the SMU event.
In addition to facilitating social programs, AFETT collaborated with the Women’s Institute for Alternative Development (WINAD) to advocate for policy change of local marriage laws of underage children and saw effective change with the pending release of the National Gender Policy. Conflict Women Ltd launched a social media campaign for Domestic Violence Awareness month where women told their stories of abuse and street harassment, and AFETT was pleased to contribute to this effort. Population Services Intl (PSI) Caribbean worked with AFETT to host a free talk about solutions to minimize gender based violence within our society with Trinidadian born, international speaker Indrani Goradia.
Whereas looking back will always bring fond memories, 2017 draws near with new opportunities and continued partnerships. We are looking forward to our Networking Session in January, to communicate innovate ways to network and share pivotal conversations to benefit your business. Additionally we expect more informative workshops whilst collaborating with the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI). We would like to continue engaging in meaningful conversations about gender based violence whist engaging our men’s groups such as the Single Fathers Association and Men Against Violence Against Women in hopes to stymie the increasing crime.
In addition we will celebrate International Women’s Day in March with our awards reception while hosting many sponsored schools. Our Mother’s Day Brunch will be a different event from previous versions with shopping and activities for all women.
We will continue to fulfill the need for development of our society’s women - which is the foundation of all that AFETT stands for - with our mentorship programs. Next will be St. Ann’s and then the Barataria communities. We are excited for the date of the next Six Steps Program to be announced by the Digicel Foundation. In addition more requests have been forthcoming for our day session on Social Media Etiquette. ASJA Girls School is excited for us to come and present to their students. It is important that we care about our nation’s social progress as these are our future customers, stakeholders and leaders. Being equipped to adapt to changing social norms along with knowledge and education will provide the sustainable foundation for growth. Mentorship also provides learning opportunities, and we will be again pleased to host the Spelman College in June 2017. We were proud to hear that our programme was a highlight for their students in 2015. We are also planning to re-visit our ASK AFETT column which will highlight the wealth of knowledge our members have to offer. We hope to re-launch it in 2017.
What will influence you in 2017? How can mentoring or coaching improve your skill? All the answers are within your reach, and we hope to see you again for 2017. AFETT wishes each and every one an exceptional year in 2017!