The affable Bianca Welds


Sunday, June 19, 2016

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SHE’S fun-loving, adventurous, artistic, techno-savvy, and committed to artistic and health-related causes, as she sees these areas having the potential for sustainable growth.

Bianca Welds tells All Woman that she was born in Scotland to Jamaican parents, but moved to Kingston at the age of one where her interests and passions were honed.

"When I was growing up with my younger sister, my parents allowed us to follow our interests. They didn’t impose activities or subjects on us. If we were interested in dancing, which we were, then we did dancing. If we weren’t interested in piano lessons, which we weren’t, we didn’t have to do piano lessons. That resonated with us through life. We followed our interests, perhaps a non-traditional path, but I appreciate the freedom given to figure things out by myself," she said.

Some of those interests included swimming and playing water polo. She was the first captain of the Tornadoes Swim Club which she represented at the national level.

However, after leaving St Andrew High, the free-spirited Welds took an unconventional path and spent a year in Belgium before returning to Jamaica where she pursued a degree in computer science, worked in the field for three years, then pursued an MBA and a master’s in information systems while in Miami.

But though she’s certified in information technology, Welds says her passion for the arts has never left her, so she combined the two to create a good balance.

"Arts and culture is what I’m passionate about, but technology is sort of the foundation for everything," she said. "My involvement over the years led to this as I did dancing in prep school, played the flute in sixth form, and when I went to university I joined the UWI Panoridim Steel Orchestra where I played for 18 years, served as captain, PRO and section leader, and did a lot of teaching. I’m really passionate about arts and arts organisation. I was integral in helping to negotiate sponsorship contracts for this group and I also do photography, write poetry, and design jewellery. It’s about creating the balance between business, what I’m passionate about, and using technology to make it work," she said.

With regards to finding this balance, Welds also uses her time to present to fellow artists on how to capitalise on their talent and earn from it.

"If you’re genuinely interested in exploring art as a career, learn as much as you can about business at the same time. It will give you an edge to making a living out of what you love. Talent is great, but you can’t live from it alone. But how do we boost businesses and still maintain our creativity or use our artistic abilities to make money? I’m dedicated to not only helping people hone their artistic skills, but survive from it," she said.

Welds is the project manager for the Caribbean Mobile Innovation Project, which is funded by the World Bank, and geared at building the application development ecosystem across the Caribbean.

She explained that this venture provides training, coaching and competition to encourage app developers across the region and prepare them for investors and development while helping them build their start-ups.

Welds is looking to get more involved in innovation and entrepreneurship with this aspect of her life specific to the arts and culture.

"I’ve been involved with the technology community for a while and I like the impact it could have on the region, especially the aspect of entrepreneurship," she pointed out.

Welds, who has lived in Italy and visited the Balkans — particularly Serbia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Croatia — is also passionate about mental health and how society perceives it.

"It’s pretty important and we don’t pay a lot of attention to it, which is unfortunate, because there’s a lot of stigma and it makes people not want to seek help. I’ve dealt with it in the past — both personally, and with close friends and family. I’ve known people who have suffered from depression, borderline personality disorder, known people who are bipolar, struggle with anxiety issues, and who have even attempted suicide. It is something that plays a major role in our lives and I think we don’t pay enough attention to it.

"Like a lot of things in our culture, I think we have a long way to go. The first step is getting the conversation going and getting people to be more open. I don’t hide the fact I’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression, have taken medication, and have gone through therapy. Most people don’t talk about it or tell people about it, and it’s these conversations we need to start having. Like physical health, it is something we have to deal with."

Welds also believes that our lives are determined by the consequences of our choices and as a result she doesn’t live with regrets, as she believes she had a choice, even if she had no control.

"You always have a choice and even if the outcome is not what you expected, there are lessons you would have learnt," she said.

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