Conversations for Greatness

Friday, November 24, 2017

Print this page Email A Friend!

The cosy, festive setting of the Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) boardroom was where seven grades five and six students of the Stony Hill Primary & Jr High School were greeted by members of the financial group Thursday afternoon. Broad smiles illuminated apprehensive-looking faces as each identified their respective name cards and politely awaited further instruction. This would come from Group Chief Marketing Officer Kerry-Ann Stimpson, who, after inviting the students to sit, introduced the afternoon's hosts Donna Duncan-Scott, group executive director, culture and human development; Jerome Smalling, CEO, JMMB Bank; JMMB County Manager, Jamaica Kisha Anderson; and Kim Mair, CEO, JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation.

It was now time for the students, after placing their napkins on their laps, to introduce themselves and share with the senior executives their hopes and aspirations which ranged from Joshua Dehaney's wish to become a soldier to Shanoya Hall's ambitions of pursuing criminal law. Teaching, nursing and the medical profession were also mentioned. It was their unanimous wish, however, for a peaceful Jamaica that resonated around the table. Indeed, Duncan-Scott was moved to tears as Head Girl Tevina Bernard articulated the need for Jamaicans to treat all as they would like to be treated instead of meting out violence. The JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation-led transformational project, aptly labelled Conversations for Greatness (CFG), which was launched in 2015 and underscores the same message, is aimed at inspiring school teachers, administrators, and other support staff to become transformational agents by promoting a positive mindset. “It is by seeing greatness in all, by eschewing negative thoughts and exhibiting unconditional love and building each other up, that we can all do well,” Duncan-Scott opined. “This was the Joan Duncan vision.” An ethos that is perfectly encapsulated in the company's Vision of Love. The teams at JMMB are committed to a long-term, ongoing process of holistic development that recognises the complete development of the individual. JMMB is therefore a medium through which individuals may have dreams for themselves; and can extend those dreams beyond the organisation into an infinite, prosperous and abundant society and universe... each person is loving and respectful of each other, and represents an important link in a chain of love serving each other, sharing ideas; building each other.

Having paid keen attention to the students' 'One Wish for Jamaica' Smalling, the bank's CEO, sought to direct the thinking towards practical solutions. “What role are you prepared to play?” he asked. The thinking hats went on but the responses were on the tips of many a tongue who posited creating jobs, having one-on-one conversations, and, according to Joshua Dehaney, “As a soldier, I'd like to have a positive impact on people”.

Smalling sought to also widen the thinking around the typical career options. “Think about Artificial Intelligence,” he charged. “Which challenges would you like to solve in the future? Think about food security.” Conversation continued as Smalling fielded questions posed to him about becoming a bank manager, bank regulations and savings.

Head Boy at Stony Hill Primary & Jr High School Shaheem Cole, on learning of JMMB's presence in the Dominican Republic and Trinidad & Tobago, sought answers from Duncan-Scott as to the impact on the Caribbean. Duncan-Scott in her response shared how the company's ethos Vision of Love was initially seen in the twin-island republic as almost contradictory, but smiled as she related that it is now understood and accepted.

Questions flowed as students enjoyed the delicious fare from Chef Damion Stewart of Unique Eats JA whose menu offerings opened with a velvety vegetable pumpkin soup with Parmesan crostini and continued with mains of almond crusted salmon fillet and stuffed chicken breast atop scallop potatoes.

Dessert, coconut piña colada cake with JMMB coconut macaroons and tea poured into elegant cups, closed the meal in style.

Conversations for Greatness is being implemented on a phased basis in approximately 154 schools, islandwide, over a three-year period. To date, 38 schools have participated. Holy Family Infant and Primary and Donald Quarrie High schools, which were part of the pilot programme, have seen positive results in their school environment: most significantly, decreased absenteeism, improved academic performance, improved self-worth and confidence, and greater cohension among the staff.

As Duncan-Scott wished the children all the best for the Christmas season, Jerome Smalling took photos with the young men, and Kisha Anderson reminded them that 'if you can dream it you can achieve it'. Kerry-Ann Stimpson played Santa and gifted each child, while Kim Mair took them across to her office for chocolates; the positive impact that yet another Applaud It! initiative had was evident. Meeting the captains of industry around their boardoom table and they in turn exposing members of the next generation, in this case, students of Stony Hill Primary & Junior High School, to social and dining skills, are invaluable lessons for all.

Stony Hill Primary School is one of the schools that are enrolled in the Conversations for Greatness Programme.






1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon