‘No matter how high you go, there is always more to learn’
WITH over 20 years’ experience in the financial sector, current executive vice-president and chief investment officer of Sagicor Group Jamaica, Tracy-Ann Spence surely knows a thing or ten about striving for success. An alumna of Wolmer’s Girls’, York University, and Mona School of Business & Management, Spence never saw herself in the finance industry. However, her drive and tenacity made her aware that anything was possible once she had her heart in it.
“Falling in love with math is what eventually led me in this direction. While I did all sciences in high school and pursued math at the tertiary level, I still weighed my career options. After completing my undergrad degree I took a summer job at a financial institution where I got exposed to investments and trading, and the rest was history,” she revealed.
Big on family, the certified project management professional (PMP) credits her will to always grow and be a better version of herself to her close-knit household. Growing up with supportive parents and younger brother, she says, shaped her into becoming who she is today.
“My parents have always been very supportive and loving. Though very big on education, it was not only about the books. They believed in being rounded and so I played sports and did many extra-curricular activities throughout my educational journey, which I believe set a good foundation for me,” she shared.
Rooted in the credence: ‘No matter how high you go, there is always more to learn’ this she says — along with her soon-to-be-three-year-old son — are her biggest motivators.
Of course, if you ask Spence what the perfect road map for getting to the top is, she will say the only things that are guaranteed are mistakes — a rite of passage, in her eyes.
“If there is anyone in life who has made it successfully without mistakes, I tip my hat to them. I think mistakes are an important part of the growth process, with the key factor being to learn the lesson — don’t just move on without assessing what the lesson in the mistake was. Use the lessons learnt to prevent further mistakes, adjust, and grow,” she said.
Spence revealed that she tends to get caught up in the “business of things” a lot, leaving herself for last. Admittedly, in spite of that she understands that self-care and mental wellness are extremely important and has been more deliberate in putting some structure into her work-life balance.
“My unwind activities used to be far and wide but honestly, right now I enjoy just being able to lie down in bed and binge watch a good series on Netflix with minimal disturbance (my son being an exception). I am an introvert at heart and big homebody, but if I am out and about I am pretty good at blending in and socialising. In terms of hobbies, I absolutely love to travel. I have been to 39 countries and have quite a bit more on my list to go,” she shared.
Being a leader one must understand that, similar to the concept of love language, you have to lead people using their leadership language by tailoring your style based on their personality, shared Spence. “I am big on caring about my team members and their growth, so trying to understand what leadership style works best for them is important. It helps them grow and helps me, as a leader, to grow as well. A combination of my professional and personal journeys has given me a solid foundation to tackle what lays ahead for me at Sagicor, which I am looking forward to.”
One of her favourite quotes is from the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, and reads, “We can each define ambition and progress for ourselves. The goal is to work toward a world where expectations are not set by the stereotypes that hold us back, but by our personal passion, talents and interests.”