SHE is keen on the business of protection and as managing director of both Guardsman Armoured Limited and Guardsman Group, security is her top priority. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Criminology from the University of Toronto, graduating with top honours in the field. After her studies she returned home in 1994 to join Guardsman Armoured Limited which, back then, was Brinks Alarms Limited. Her passion, dedication and hard work have earned her numerous promotions over her 16-year career. We caught up with Renee Menzies McCallum and got to know the woman behind the big red trucks.
What are you sipping?
A glass of Pinot Noir.
Jeans or LBD?
Carnival costume (lol). Just kidding, I'm a jeans girl most of the time, but a little black dress (or two) is essential. My style is usually quite casual, but when I do dress up, I really love a simple dress and a pair of sky-high heels.
What are your handbag essentials?
Lipstick, iPad, wallet, business cards and a Swiss Army knife — you never know when you might need one of the tools on that thing.
Flats or stilettos?
I'm a shoe girl — the higher the better.
Who does your hair?
Traci Stewart at Spa Aesthetique in Sovereign North.
Who does your nails?
Okilia at Diva Salon and Spa in Sovereign Centre.
What perfume are you wearing?
I don't wear perfume frequently... but when I do it's a clean, crisp scent.
What are your travel must-haves?
I never part with my technology. My phone, iPad, laptop, etc. You know the drill.
How would you describe your personal style?
I stick to the basics, mostly. Simple elegant lines and Calvin Klein is a favourite in business suits.
Are you a romantic-comedy or action-adventure type of woman?
Action-adventure, of course!
What is your idea of a perfect date?
One where I laugh most of the night.
What bad habit would you most like to put in your rear-view mirror?
I'd like to stop rushing and take things at a normal pace.
Who inspires you?
My grandmother Joyce Dundas. She was one of Jamaica's first fashion designers and has always been my inspiration, and now my daughter is, too. Both of them ground me, and bring joy to my life. Additionally, The Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI) of which I'm a member. They are a great group of women who inspire, motivate and help each other through sisterhood and who give back to the community. Oh, and did I mention I have the best friends in the world? They know who they are, and I am incredibly blessed to have this group of strong women for support.
Who propelled you to enter the business of security?
Kenny Benjamin. He told me I would love it, and he was right! He's also a great boss and a shining example of philanthropy.
Take us through your work day.
I really can't. Security is one of those jobs where no two days are the same, and everything is an emergency. Maybe that's what I love. The unpredictability of it. The important thing is to get the clients' valuables safely delivered and our teams home safely every single day. That's the goal we wake up with every morning.
As a female in a particularly male-dominated field, what advice do you have for other women who aspire to move beyond what tradition dictates?
I want them to know that the sky is the limit, as my grandmother taught me. Never think that because you're a woman, something is out of your reach. My company, Guardsman Group, has never made gender an issue; they are a truly amazing team that measures performance. This has allowed me to excel both locally and internationally and become the first elected president of the Independent Armoured Car Operators Association (IACOA) from the Caribbean and the second female president in its history, an honour I never expected.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I'm not sure, actually. Hopefully with my family and friends; happy, healthy, and still doing the jobs I love as a director of both Guardsman Armoured and Guardsman Group and whatever new subsidiary we have launched at that time. We do love new challenges. We've just expanded our Barbados and St Lucia offices to include cash room services. There is always something new in the group.