My Montego Bay...Haresh L Ramchandani

Sunday, July 22, 2018

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Haresh L Ramchandani Past District Governor, Rotary District 7020

What are your fondest memories of Montego Bay?

Walking on Gloucester Avenue on a Monday night for MoBay Night Out, where food and craft vendors and various entities were showcasing their wares. The street was pedestrianised and had a fun, energetic atmosphere.

What's the most memorable meal you have enjoyed in Montego Bay?

I'm vegan, so most meals to me tend to be memorable, as creativity has an important role. Recently, I had avocado toast with a layer of hummus, and pesto, with basil, parsley, rosemary, and lavender. Yum.

Which bottle of wine do you pair with your favourite meal, and why?

My palate is currently in Burgundy, France, and interestingly enough I'm enjoying that with spicy Thai food. A light cooler red seems to work well with the Asian spice.

What would you do if you were mayor of Montego Bay?

There's a Japanese saying 'Genchi Genbutsu', which means 'go and see'. It suggests that in order to truly understand a situation one needs to go to genba, or the “real place”, where work is done. Against that backdrop, I would invite the public service and private sector leadership, along with media and other interested parties — all stakeholders — to “comb” the city with me. And as we move around the city, from the inner-city areas to those centred on tourism, we would all see the issues, challenges, and needs, and hopefully witness things first-hand which would help us to better appreciate how, together, we all can help to positively reshape the city.

What recommendations would you make to a first-time visitor to Montego Bay?

Explore the city. There is so much more than the hotels, resorts, and planned excursions. The off-the-beaten-path adventures are so rewarding, fulfilling, educational, and inspiring.

What sparked your interest in scuba diving?

The peace and serenity of the world under. And the beauty and diversity of life there is breathtaking.

To what/whom do you credit your initial exposure to the Rotary world?

My sponsor who invited me to Rotary. He was insistent on showing me the many benefits of this incredible organisation – service, fellowship, networking, making a difference and impact greater than doing it individually.

What are the most profound parallels you have recognised between managing a retail business and being at the helm of a Rotary District?

At their core both are about managing people, managing expectations, and delivering value. In retail and Rotary, the customers are most important – the customers in Rotary being its members.

Which project with Rotary has brought you the most gratification?

I remember being at a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) several years ago, and after a weekend of training, leadership development, fun and fellowship, a young man from a volatile community in Kingston shared that the weekend was life-changing for him, and that he “would rather work 'til 9 [9:00 pm] than pick up a 9 [ 9mm handgun]”. Profound. Impactful. Life-changing. I get goosebumps thinking about it again.

What is your next major Rotary project?

Working with Rotary, Rotarians, and our partners to bring clean water to every community in Haiti. This is transformational. You can learn more at

Which five words accurately summarise your journey to the post of Governor of the Rotary District 7020?

Integrity, service, fellowship, diversity, and leadership. They're also the five core values of Rotary.

What are the critical factors when deciding on charitable projects?

Sustainability, impact, and needs assessment.

Outside of Rotary, what are your other passions?

I enjoy running, and sharing positive thoughts and actions with people.

“Being the change I want to see in the world” means not just talking, but doing. Leading by example.

What's your ideal family vacation?

I went on a cruise and loved it. Ticked all the boxes. Highly recommend.

To what extent has your career in retail influenced your work with Rotary?

I think Churchill's quote captures the essence of how I feel – “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”.

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