President's Note - August 2016
AFETT President 2016/2017
Every person has the answer to someone else’s problem. You are the answer to someone’s problem. A gift was given to you. It might not be needed by everyone, but it is definitely needed by someone. Your smile, your kindness, your experience, a unique product or outstanding service. This term was insightful and rewarding with lessons learnt daily. No amount of time or words can express the magnitude of learning-experience gained from the whirlwind of events and collaborations AFETT concluded this past term. They all left a lasting impression, which has improved the brand of AFETT, while allowing personal development for all of our Board members. Today, I will reflect on a few of the highlights that stood out and how it has set the path for where AFETT will be going in the future.
Finding Your Purpose
In a 2015, a study called the Purposeful Company Project released by UK’s Big Innovation Centre, reported that purpose is critical for long-term success. If AFETT were to form a mathematical calculation for investing time into a project by focusing on the costs rather than the benefits, we would not have pursued many projects. With respect to business, the research document concluded that the most important assets of this century were their environmental impact, their corporate culture, and their innovative effectiveness. All of which are their intrinsic reason for existence.
This evidence-based approach studied thousands of companies across countries and industries and it all concluded that purpose was critical for a firm’s long term success. Purpose is the “glue” towards a common mission. AFETT provides this glue for many in the community, membership, small businesses and corporations. Our purpose is encouraging persons: professional growth, development, networking, and community building. We aim to advocate change and support leadership opportunities for women. We provide a foundation for young girls to develop important skills.
AFETT’s collaboration with the Digicel Foundation elevated the quality of the recently concluded Six Steps to Success this year, allowed a foundation for young girls and women to grow into the leaders that they can become. Whilst I attended the graduation, the Digicel Foundation CEO, Ms. Penny Gomez, stated there were not any programmes such as this while she was growing up.
The collaboration with the Ministry of Community Development highlighted the important work that we do, and it is important that we share our experience with these young ladies to ensure that they keep on the right path. Though the internet and social media is filled with this information, the distractions are real. It has become more of a battle to steer young ladies on how they are to be professional when the world seems to set different standards of success. The appearance of social media mogul Kim Kardashian on the July cover of Forbes magazine is a telling example. AFETT’s purpose is real and relevant to our community and some of our foundation topics in the Mentorship Programme will go a long way in guiding young ladies within the community. The recently concluded Mentorship Programme in Gasparillo, had 13 girls graduate and receive Certificates of Participation. There was a noticeable change in their attitude as the programme developed. Our next programme will be held in the La Brea community, and we are eagerly looking forward to meeting the candidates.
Building a Nation
It is not by luck or chance that we stumbled upon such opportunity for the desire to be and do more. The action that ‘stepping up’ shows us, is the natural entrepreneurial spirit that is within each of us. AFETT wants to continue to provide opportunities for networking that encourages the development of entrepreneurs. Our intention is to encourage the use of our AFETT Registry to provide membership with a free avenue to advertise their services. This will continue to build our nation through the challenging economic times ahead and allow us to develop industries other than within the energy sector.
The definition of success is different for everyone, but what is profoundly the same is the need to dream bigger, live happier, and achieve more. Therefore, it is important to ensure women are elevated to leadership positions in all industries if we are to have a progressive movement to advocate change.
Many leadership articles have confessed that at times it may be difficult for a man to understand how women act, think or innovate, unless they had a great influence by women in their lives. It is the ability of a woman to know what she wants and ask for it that brings a circular vision that is otherwise limited. A summarized version In one of many personal stories shared by Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In, she described a particularly tough day walking from her car to the office almost 9 months pregnant. In a conversation with her friend, she was told why not ask for pregnancy parking to be situated closer to the office building. The very next opportunity she asked her boss, to which he immediately replied, yes. Why was this not a company policy before? This is a classic example of how important it is for women to be placed in leadership positions to effect change. It is not the fact that her boss was insensitive, it is the fact that he never thought of it and Sheryl never asked before.
It is our hope that the programmes that AFET facilitates brings about opportunities for girls and young ladies to know that they can be ambitious and successful. That some may have opportunities, but are not confident enough to take that step. This is a lesson that some of us may learn later in life. The desire to change your life, work or career at any age is possible. Why wait? Go for it!