Career & Education

'Why I left my nine-to-five'

Sunday, November 05, 2017

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Days before Women's Entrepreneurship Day (WED) is observed in the Caribbean, this Wednesday, November 8, a few women in business shared with us their reasons for leaving the corporate world and why they love being entrepreneurs.

A CECILE WATSON

Founder & CEO, Pitch & Choose; WED Ambassador

“My nine-to-five job left me in 2013. It was a contract that was prematurely and unexpectedly terminated without cause and in a manner that was publicly distasteful. That experience galvanised me to bite the bullet and do my own thing, and let that phase be nothing more than a rung on the ladder on the journey to that for which I was uniquely designed and purposed. So now I am on a mission to build better business and build business better, and I'm determined to write my own story and to help those who are also determined to do the same.

Three key benefits of being an entrepreneur for me are:

1. Passion: I'm doing what I love and I love what I'm doing and it doesn't feel like work.

2. Purpose: Making a difference as only I am uniquely created to do.

3. Choice: The freedom to decide what I will and will not do and when I will or will not do it, as I invest myself to live my best life ever.

SIMONE BANHAN GRANT

Managing Director, Banyan Catering

“I decided to venture into entrepreneurship back in 2013. My contract with my previous employer had ended. Even though I was sending out applications and doing interviews, deep down I knew I didn't want to work for anyone anymore and needed to get out of corporate.”

Being a female entrepreneur has its pros and cons. On the side of the pros:

1. I like the flexibility that it allows me most of the time, as I'm able to set my own schedule.

2. For the most part, it's relatively easy for me to conduct business as I have good relationships with my suppliers and if ever I'm in a bind they're willing to accommodate my requests.

3. While I may not be taking home that steady pay checque every month, being an entrepreneur doing what I love gives me such fulfillment. I'm not limited to anyone else's thoughts and dreams. If I wake up with an idea, there's nothing or no one to stop me from pursuing it.

ROXANNE PERUE

Beauty Taming Artist, RoxyRoxBeauty

“I dove into the career of make-up artistry in 2007 after being encouraged by my mentor Jeneva Whorms to follow my true passion — beauty. That meant leaving the guaranteed income of the corporate world, but with the support of my husband, I made the leap of faith into entrepreneurship.”

For me, the joys of this service industry are endless. I am able to meet wonderful, inspiring women from all walks of life to whom I can give the gift of translating the beauty within and enhancing it externally.

In the beauty industry, knowing how women think and understanding what they truly want becomes vital in delivering the best service and the right products to them. As a woman entrepreneur, that understanding of other women has been the primary benefit to me. Another benefit of being a woman entrepreneur is the strong friendships and networks that are formed along the journey, which essentially becomes your support system. When women connect with the right women, there is a strong sisterhood created where we all promote and cheer on each other as well as celebrate accomplishments. Thirdly, when a woman creates her own business, there is a sense of fulfilment and independence. My beauty business has empowered me to impact the lives of others, especially young girls, through sharing my journey, and it has afforded me the financial means to help support my family.

LEANNE SPENCE

Co-owner, Instant Save Conservation Solutions

“I had been working on the idea with my father while in school since 2013. In 2014 we completed our first successful market test. Later in the year Jamaica experienced a drought the country will probably never forget, and I handed in my final assignment and started full-time operation. We started out of a market opportunity, and have now confirmed that environmental businesses are a necessity.

Some benefits of being a woman entrepreneur are:

1. You get a front row seat to see how your business is impacting the lives of others and how it contributes to the local economy.

2. With family life, spiritual life and social life, being able to have influence over how (not how much of) your time is spent working allows you to be a little more flexible.

3. Women naturally tap into intuition/ following our gut/ doing what feels right. When combined with logic, these often make for better decision-making.

4. More often than not we are outnumbered by our male counterparts, this gives us an opportunity to stand out.

This year's staging of WED is entitled 'WE Summit' and will be governed by the theme: 'Turning Point – IT from GRIT'. Speakers for the forum, which is intended to empower, celebrate and support women in business, include recently appointed Sagicor Group head Chris Zacca, and UK-based branding and colourology expert Flavilla Fongang. Santana Morris of Jamaica Intensive Reading Clinic, Christelle Harris of Everglades Farms, and Michelle Smith of Chocolate Dreams, are lined up to share their experience as business founders; while, JPSCo executive Shereee Martin, PwC Regional PR Manager Natalie Fearon , and Jamaican Olympic athlete Christine Day will share insight as leading ladies.

Angel investor Sandra Glasgow, president of the Jamiaca chapter of International Women's Forum Camille Facey, writer and blogger Emma Lewis, and Sagicor executive Janice Taffe Grant are also expected to make presentations.

WED will be celebrated globally on November 19th, 2017.

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