Denise Brown is SRI's Diamond Team Member of the Year

Thursday, August 08, 2019

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PRIOR to joining the team at the headquarters of Sandals resorts — Sandals Resorts International (SRI) — as group shipping clerk, Denise Brown worked in purchasing at another resort, confident that she had mastered the art of coordinating and navigating the many intricacies of purchasing and shipping.

But, it wasn't until her journey with Sandals began in 2015 that she tapped into her true potential in the field and realised there was much more to learn.

“Being at Sandals is a different ball game,” she said. “It has truly been a learning experience and a very good one. I can say I've become an expert in the field, thanks to my experience at Sandals and I love it.”

As group shipping clerk in the Procurement Division, Brown is responsible for calculating costs and processing all documents pertaining to the clearing of SRI's shipments which arrive in Jamaica by sea or air. She ensures that all shipments are received and cleared according to plan and that all relevant paperwork is prepared and processed.

This requires her to be versed in shipping laws and regulations, duties and waivers, and sees her in continuous dialogue with government officials, customs brokers and buying agents. It's demanding work but Brown would have it no other way.

“I love getting results,” she said. “When I'm presented with a challenge and I can work through it, find a solution, get it done and everyone is satisfied, I love that...This job allows me to think outside of the box and keeps me on my toes, and that's what drives me. I always say I could never sit at my desk and do the same thing every day and in shipping, no two days are the same. It gives me a sense of satisfaction.”

Brown, who studied business administration, would receive an even greater sense of satisfaction than the love affair that shipping and logistics alone provide when, in May, she was named Diamond Team Member of the Year (2018) for SRI.

The Sandals/ATL Group uses the sought-after gemstone to brand the highest employee incentive prize per property. It is bestowed at the Annual Prestige Awards. Diamond awardees later go head to head at the Ultimate Award Ceremony for the Platinum Team Member award.

“I don't even think I've fully wrapped my mind around it yet,” Brown told the Jamaica Observer. “It was really a surprise. I was up against two very strong contenders so I had no idea that my name would be called, but I am really grateful. I challenge and push myself, not that I expect a reward, but it's just my nature.”

Her boss, Stephen Kerr, the company's group shipping manager, agrees that going the extra mile is in fact in her nature.

“Denise is a no-nonsense person as it relates to her work. She takes her job very seriously and she will definitely go above and beyond. She is extremely knowledgeable about shipping and is one of our go-to persons here. Denise is always one step ahead of the game. She is diligent, meticulous and always has the company's best interest at heart,” he said.

Motivated by her 19-year-old daughter, who is about to begin tertiary studies in computer science, Brown said she is hungry for even more growth.

“I would say about 90 per cent of what I do is for my daughter, or even more than 90 per cent. Everything I do is for her. I just want to motivate her and ensure that she knows that anything is possible,” she said.

Brown continued: “When I told my family that I was a nominee for the Diamond Team Member Award they believed that I would be named the winner. My daughter said, 'Mommy, you are going to win this.' The dress I wore on that night is actually her dress. She saved and bought that dress for her graduation but she gave it to me to wear on that night. She always encourages me.”

Having been named Diamond Team Member of the Year, Brown will now go on to compete against the top team members for all resorts and companies in the groups for the title of Ultimate Team Member of the Year. If she wins, she will walk away with US$20,000, an acrylic trophy, an upgrade to her previously-won five-night trip for two to any Sandals/Beaches Resort in the Caribbean. This upgrade will include luxury return transfer from her home to the airport as well as first class airline tickets to her destination of choice.

As she looks forward to heading off for the Ultimate Award Ceremony, Brown is also planning for the future — a future which includes formal study in shipping and logistics at Caribbean Maritime University.

“I believe I have mastered the practical side of shipping so now I want to learn more of the theoretical aspects,” she said. She is also desirous of learning more about the shipping laws and regulations in the other islands where Sandals and Beaches operate, in order to assume a more regional role in the company's shipping and procurement operations.

“I am not looking to go anywhere else,” she said. “I want to stay here and grow in the company. I want to learn more and take on more responsibilities, all in the name of the company.”


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