AMASHIKA Lorne recently coined a hashtag for herself – #AmaGetItDone – and it embodies her self-determination, can-do attitude, and resilience in the face of adversity.
“In the early mornings I'm a television presenter, then I manage projects and make ideas come to life in the day-to-night time,” she told All Woman in a week when this magazine is closing out 2021 with a tribute to women who have inspired over the past year.
“In addition to that I'm very passionate about my country and making it a better place; I'm a Jamaican language advocate, lover of dogs and the fun but strict aunty to the children in my life.”
Lorne, a communication and marketing practitioner, television and event host, author and project manager, has been super busy this year, as the project manager for national project ENDS (E-Commerce National Delivery Solution), a job she says tapped into various aspects of her skills in a way that she had not imagined.
But this Wolmer's old girl (both prep and high) who has a bachelor's degree in International Relations from The University of the West Indies, and who interestingly did a year of school in India at the Mahindra United World College after high school, says the ability to be part of a project that places people at the centre, especially during one of the most uncertain times of our lives, has been a blessing.
“We've processed over 8,000 employees linked to over 500 business entities and it's been a lot of work, but rewarding at the same time,” she shared.
ENDS was conceptualised by a consortium of businesses and individuals under the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), and is a partnership with the Government of Jamaica.
“Hearing the concerns of business owners and employees, meeting with stakeholders who can advocate on their behalf and implement policy that provide an immediate solution, and seeing that process move from concept to reality was beautiful,” she explained about working on the project.
“Working in private vs public sector is very different, especially regarding the pace as which things are implemented, but this private-public partnership was quite agile and effective on all fronts as all stakeholders coalesced around the goal and had a fixity of purpose.
“Being on the ground overseeing one-on-one training sessions and sensitisation sessions, developing the material and leading training sessions with members of State agencies, chairing meetings with ministers of Government and business leaders, and generally ensuring that stakeholders felt heard, and their interests were represented at all times, was certainly a period of time that I will never forget,” she gushed.
Hard work is no stumbling block for Amashika Nehanda Yaa Asantewa Lorne, who was born in St Andrew, and worked in her father's law practice as a youngster.
“My dad had his law practice, a printery and bookshop. I would go and help out in the bookshop for some short stints during the summers holidays, but my first official job was when I was worked as a secretary in his law office. Outside of that, I worked as a youth ambassador with JNBS (now JN Bank) for their youth marketing team, then the JNBS Foundation as a project officer while studying for my bachelor's.”
Asked what she loves most about her work, Lorne says, among other things, she finds comfort in being able to improve digital literacy among Jamaicans, helping to forge new partnerships and giving ideas to businesses on how to pivot.
“I appreciate all the thank you messages that I receive when I've settled concerns or had to manage an emergency situation. I have been working around the clock because it's during the curfew hours when the operational side of ENDS gets going, so at the very least when they tell me thanks, I feel appreciated,” she said.
She said in past jobs she would occupy roles that tasked her with feeding information to others, but in this capacity she had to thank the executive director and president of the PSOJ, as well as the chairman of the Digital Transformation and Innovation Committee of the PSOJ for expressing a high level of confidence in her to lead and execute her duties, as well as the constant encouragement and support meted out to along the journey.
“This would be my biggest career achievement to date because of the number of people that benefited especially at a national level, the level of interaction and exposure that I received, and some of the new tasks that were required to maintain the overall integrity of the project,” she explained.
When she celebrated her birthday in February, Lorne said she was very optimistic to shape the next decade of her life and to work towards becoming the woman she always dreamt she could be. Now looking towards 2022, she remains encouraged and enthusiastic about what she will offer to any role she's placed in.
“Continued growth, with creativity and agility in executing the tasks, will remain a high priority for me,” she vowed. “It's cliché, but it's true when they say that we should trust the process and everything works out for a reason. There are two other mini projects that I intend to have completed when I close 2022 and I realise why the delay and setting a good foundation this year will only bolster those opportunities for next year.”
For now, her focus is on caring for immediate family and growing in professional pursuits, though she says living through this time has not been easy, but she still believes that the possibilities are endless.
“I have so much more in the tank and a lot more value to give to project management, presenting on television, working with clients to create public relations and marketing campaigns, etc,” she said.
“Having my communications firm thrive and create great work is still something that I intend to maintain. And we do have a few projects that will be executed in 2022 that would make me feel very fulfilled as a Jamaican and as a creative.”
Lorne, who incorporated her communications firm in 2017 – Amashika & Associated Limited, which focuses on public relations, media management and media bookings for entities and individuals – sees success as a moving target, “because I always see new horizons to explore and conquer after each climb”.
“However, it does entail having a working rhythm of balance for all facets of my life, a high level of happiness and the freedom to do what I love in a meaningful way that creates a positive impact on society,” she shared.
And with her motivators, parents Michael and Audrey, whose sacrifice and hard work endured to give the eight Lorne children the life they have, Lorne, whose company in late 2019 started a quest to curate authentic Jamaican stories for educational purposes both locally and overseas starting with her children's colouring book Chat Tu Mi & Colour, says this counsel will always help to keep her grounded and motivated, “to try harder and give a little more to whatever I'm doing and no matter the obstacles I face”.
For young women seeking their place in the world, Lorne had these words:
“It's important to remember who you at your core and to allow your work to align with those values so that your passion can shine through. No matter the job title and amount of money, your integrity and reputation will stay with you, so guard those,” she encouraged.
“Never let your gender or age define the amount of value that you can bring to post. Once you stay informed with what's happening around, showcase that you are teachable, demonstrate your willingness to also learn on the job, remain agile in this very fast-paced world and keep people at the centre – then it's all achievable.”