Sagicor's tough choices

Sagicor's tough choices

Observer writer

Thursday, January 21, 2021

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For 23 years Sagicor Jamaica has made the tough decision of who, among the country's needy, will benefit from funds raised through its hugely popular Sigma Run. The company's strategy has been to focus on those with the greatest need while ensuring that beneficiaries are spread all across Jamaica.

“In terms of how we chose the beneficiaries, we normally start that work well in advance of the run. A large number of potential beneficiaries are brought to the floor by recommendations from board members as well as recommendations from clients and from team members. So we do the evaluation, we [assess] the need and we [look at] the geographical areas,” president and chief executive officer of Sagicor Group Christopher Zacca explained during the latest Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange.

This year, two medical facilities in eastern Jamaica, the Annotto Bay Hospital in St Mary and the Port Antonio Hospital in Portland, have been selected as beneficiaries for the signature charity run,which will also help students struggling to learn during the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, it was Bustamante Hospital for Children, Clifton Boys' Home and Savanna-la-Mar Hospital which recived a helping hand.

“If we supported [a cause in] the west [of the island last time], [this time] we would go to the east and that was a consideration this time. At the end of the day, we make an objective assessment of the real needs and also about where we have been and where we need to be. I think we came up with an excellent choice this year,” Zacca added.

Committed to continuing the work they began more than two decades ago, Zacca and his team have this year had to find a way to stage the run, which normally attracts thousands of participants, during a pandemic caused by a virus that thrives on mass gatherings.

“The fact that it could not be in person has created some concerns and issues but the team has been quite remarkable in their innovation around the virtual run, and I am very satisfied as CEO of the group that we will have a successful and impactful run. It has been quite refreshing to see the innovation of the team and the support of the entire community,” said Zacca.

Executive director of the Sagicor Foundation Alysia White said the major challenge had been coming up with fresh ideas.

“We would already have been on a track to produce Sigma Run from last year so we would have set the date, our wheels were already turning. The challenges we faced included how [to] reinvent ourselves now to do something brand new. It is not something that is unique to Sagicor. I'm sure that other companies are facing challenges and other people are facing the thoughts of how to make something successful,” she added.

She recognises that it will take a team effort to make the event a success.

“The wider Sagicor team is completely on board with us and we've had people volunteering to help. This year we are happy that we are able to go to the eastern end of the island and lend our support,” added White.

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