SUCCESS, though sweet, can be a difficult thing to share for some people, who may not feel inclined to pay it forward and share their formulas.
But truth is, like the good news of the gospel, success is not meant for any one person, but should be shared in practical ways with people for the betterment of their lives.
This Thursday we celebrate International Women's Day under the theme #PressForProgress, and in keeping with the theme All Woman asked well-known women how they use their position of power, influence or social media to push for improvements in the lives of other women. Below are their responses.
Cortia Bingham, CEO of We Inspire Limited:
I've often thought of the days when I was emotionally poor and it manifested itself in self-deprecating relationships. My circumstances at the time made me extremely sad, and most days I abused myself with negative self-talk. At that time I was not as lucid and the resources for motivation and inspiration were not as overt and accessible as they are now. So my contribution to the betterment of a girl or woman who does not feel hopeful about important aspects of her life, whether it be her financial future, self-image or her emotional wellness, transmits through my We Inspire Women events, as well as our school tour, We Inspire Girls to Be Strong Women. I do believe that recovery from our mistakes and our pain is a matter of what we are thinking at the time. Therefore, hearing and seeing women who look like us share their life stories not only allows one to identify with the struggles, but most important, it creates a visual of greater possibilities. My personal social media page chronicles my journey, and most times I share the transition from my 20s to my 30s. I try my best to be responsible, because I do understand the blessing of my influence and position and how much inspiration I can spread. My main followers are between ages 25 to 35 years old. That is a critical age for many women, and encouragement from another woman who has walked a similar path truly makes the hard days more bearable.
Yaneek Page, CEO of Future Services International and creator and executive producer of The Innovators:
I'm big on economic empowerment of women. I do that through entrepreneurship training and coaching through We Connect International, which is a global network that supports women entrepreneurs who want to excel and export to new markets. I represent the Caribbean for that organisation. Also, I work with an organisation called Vital Voices Global Partnership. These are two of the main non-profit organisations that support women. One supports female leadership and economic empowerment, the other is geared towards helping women entrepreneurs export to new markets. Through these I have actively worked to bring those opportunities to women in Jamaica and also in the Caribbean, and we've been very successful in that regard. There are several women who have benefited from international training worth tens of thousands of dollars that they've not paid for, and they have got grant opportunities. For me it is not just bringing these organisations to the region, but exposing women to these opportunities through networking, sharing, mentoring. On March 3 we had a mentoring talk where women who are established in business mentored other young women who are just coming up, have goals with where they want to take their careers, but need support, information, guidance and connections. I actively used this platform to establish opportunities and brought other leaders along. A big part is making sure other leaders are being groomed who can take my position. Moving forward I want to encourage more women to see how they can develop other women by exposing them to global and regional opportunities. How can you bring women together in networks? Women like myself are from a particular background and we get exposed to the opportunities because we are in these networks, but what about those who don't have the ability to come to meetings, to drive to functions? How do we account for those women and support them? It is important to go in the field and ensure you are sharing information, knowledge and leave nobody behind.
Donna Duncan Scott, JMMB Group executive director of culture and leadership development:
Grounded in the core belief that there is greatness in every human being, and in the power of unconditional love to release that greatness, in my capacity as JMMB Group executive director of culture and leadership development I promote equity and equality among team members, while embracing diversity. As such the company has clear recruitment and other human resource guidelines that streamline the process in a gender-neutral way. JMMB Group has also sought to empower women to overcome some of the barriers in the workplace, with a culture that embraces an integrated life balance with initiatives like flexi-time, provision of child care facilities, and other parenting support events. In support of the empowerment of women to achieve their financial goals and the perceived gaps identified by women in the financial sector, the JMMB Group introduced JMMB Her Wealth, a complete package of financial solutions that is customised to better cater to women. It therefore includes offerings such as maternity loans and coverage of handbag contents against theft as part of the motor vehicle insurance offering. It makes me proud to know that as a company that was co-founded by a woman, my mother Joan Duncan, we have responded to this need of women in our society. On a more personal note, having experienced abuse at an early age, I have chosen to not let that experience define who I am; instead I have chosen to overcome my past — embracing forgiveness, love and power and to share this experience with others in a powerful way to empower other ladies to make powerful choices for themselves and shape their future instead of being defined by their past. I primarily do this through transformational conversations as part of the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation-led Conversations for Greatness sessions and other women empowerment seminars.
Diahann Gordon-Harrison, Children's Advocate:
My resolve is always to remind decision makers at the table about the competence of women and our ability to contribute in a meaningful way to important discussions. I've long maintained that responsible women are the ultimate “multi-taskers” who make it work for their families, in the workplace and for their extended tribe.