President's Note - February 2017

Tricia Leid

AFETT President 2016/2017

The theme for International Women’s Day resonated in February in anticipation of the global celebration on March 8th: Be Bold for Change. We saw many new groups emerging with loud voices. 2 Cents Movement and the popular “Leave She Alone” t-shirts, which highlighted Carnival. We all look forward, hoping, planning and expecting change, which is inevitable. The carnival dust has settled, and we appreciate Trinidad’s unique social ability to celebrate all and any achievements. How can we take this carnival culture and make it work positively with our career planning for the future?  

Trends show that planning one’s career is no longer only about academic qualifications and on the job experience. We are forced into introspection to find our own competitive edge that will allow us to shine in an interview at a time when graduates are abundant and job opportunities scarce.  Also, keeping your present job requires a strategic approach to constantly “sell yourself” by highlighting your capabilities, as many job environments become more dynamic. How do we keep up with the expected Fourth Industrial Revolution right around the corner? Technology is blurring the lines between physical, digital and biological spheres (WEF, 2017).  Phones and technology are a part of our life and whereas this has benefited the work environment in many ways, as humans our social skills have begun to falter.

Change is Constant

Change will not wait for you, it is important to upskill and retrain in order to remain “on-top” of your game. Top skills that are important in 2017 are: creativity, emotional intelligence and people management. As the above table shows we are quickly on our way to the year 2020, and service orientation stands out as a growing trend. It is very necessary to engage in meaningful conversations rather than stare at a smartphone upwards of 50 times a day. Set a goal to meet for a coffee at Rituals or Kava once a month with a colleague to talk about your career and other personal goals.

Management expects “soft skills” from their workforce and a level of coordinating with others - at times across regions, in order to get the job done. We all want to work with persons who are dependable, skilled and approachable. Is this change or is it a cyclic effect of change? In addition, securing a certificate in Emotional Intelligence may also prove beneficial.

Beyond the University Degree

More than 30% of the global population use social media platforms to share, connect and learn. With ease we understand across cultures the similarities that make us cohesive. However, this has made us somewhat anti-social to the persons and teams we work with face to face. There are moments when creating trust within social interactions builds a level of non-cognitive or “soft skill” that can make or break a project. Being social is in fact to be human. Therefore, this is exactly the skill that business leaders and senior executives desire more. The demand for social and service skills have grown to approximately 17% as reported by the world economic forum, with math down by 5%. Whereas a degree is not totally unnecessary, we no longer live in a traditional world, therefore the tradition of landing a job is certainly beyond academia.

Top 10 Skills

Let AFETT Work with You

Networking, volunteering and aiming to meet at least one or 2 new persons a month to share ideas and opinions would be your most valuable decision. Every month AFETT connects its members and the public with many local professionals. This month at our Annual EGM, where we shall welcome our new 2017 / 2018 Board, we invited Michelle Low Chew Tung, Managing Director/Co-Founder of INVENI Business & Technology Limited, to discuss how to “Market Your Brand”. In April we would like to embark on another successful networking event that will focus on Conversational Intelligence to help us build the much needed soft skills.

Each month I look forward to what the next will bring and I am always pleasantly surprised. Being open to new ideas is the only true way to grow and expand our capabilities. This constant, busy lifestyle needs to remind us that we need to pause, reflect and enjoy the real social interaction of an engaging conversation.


Hope to see you soon!

Tricia Leid

AFETT President (2016/2017)

PO Box 1919, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, Trinidad, W.I.
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