Proven Success!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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“Be your greatest critic! Positive Vibe + Positive Action = positive results” were some of the sound words of advice offered by Proven Wealth Ltd & Proven Fund Managers President & CEO Chorvelle Johnson as she addressed students of her alma mater Knox College around the boardroom table.

Monday's staging of Applaud It! was unique on several levels. Students sat with two female company principals — Johnson and Lisa Gomes, Proven Wealth Ltd & Fund Managers chair the other. The students were the first [this season] from out of town to have the Applaud It! experience. the menu was a full vegan one created by Stush in the Bush, recipients of the 2016 Chairman's Award at the Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards.

Also lunching with the students were past students of Knox College, notably Captain George Reynolds [also a Proven client]; Commander Antonette Wemyss-Gorman, the first female head of the Jamaica Coast Guard; Marcus Steele, Proven board member and managing director of Carreras Limited; and Ryan Reid, assistant vice president, wealth management at Proven Wealth Ltd.

There was a lot to absorb from the corporate influencers over the three-course dining experience that commenced with Refresh — Farm Fresh Sparkling Cucumber Basil Lemonade — and segued into the salad course — Beef Tartare with Cucumber, Shallots, Dill and Mustard Aioli — then the main — Vegan Crabcakes with Stush Scotch Bonnet Cream, Micro Greens, Seasoned Dasheen Crisps, and a Bloody Mary Shot — and closed with dessert — Live/Raw Citrus Cheesecake with Stush Lemon Curd and Coconut Chocolate Ganache.

Proven board member Marcus Steele added his own flavouring to the meal when he suggested, based on his company's predominantly female executive team, that the men were being left behind, to which Wemyss-Gorman, herself the mother of a male teen, shared her view that “The [approach] to the mothering of boys in Jamaica is wrong.” A heated argument ensued, with student Rhajni Mothersill countering that males were still outperforming females in Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate and Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination, and that he was proud of what men have been achieving, but concluded by imploring the men “to step it up a bit”!

Head Girl Alexandria Richards was delighted by the ascendancy of women who were once deemed incapable of running successful entities.

Chorvelle Johnson was given the final word: “It's not a competition,” she said, “but rather everyone is moving forward. It has to be a two-way street, each stepping forward one foot at a time.”

The next topic was success. Proven Chair Lisa Gomes was put on the spot by the students who wanted to know the secret of her success. “Be passionate and set goals,” was her charge. “At 19 years old I told myself that I wanted to be president of something... I was once told by the chair of Sandals International Gordon “Butch” Stewart that if you are passionate about something you will never work a day in your life. He is spot on!”

Johnson added further advice; “Surround yourself with the right people. Your support team plays an integral role in your success. “Most importantly,“ she added, “be your greatest critic!”

Proven board member Marcus Steele sought to allay the fear of failure: “To win you have to fail.” He explained, “Accept coaching. For coaching to be meaningful, however, you have to be humble.”

Stush in the Bush principals Lisa and Chris Binns encouraged the students to eat properly: “Eat well before you are forced to by your doctor.” Indeed, the students, who were at first apprehensive about a full vegan roll-out, had nothing but praise. Truth be told, the empty plates spoke volumes.

Knox College Head Girl Alexandria Richards in her vote of thanks was effusive in her praise of the initiative and pledged to share her knowledge with her peers.

Emojis were used to intensify the gratitude, which was palpable.

The Jamaica Observer's annual Applaud It! initiative has moved from a one-week master class to three as more industry heads are urged to participate. What remains, however, is the concept to provide a unique opportunity for industry leaders to meet members of the next generation exactly where thay are and engage them during a formal meal that exposes them to social and dining skills.

There's no disputing the invaluable lessons received around the Proven Wealth boardroom table soaked up by the Knox College students.

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