Boys and men need to talk too, says bank executive
Stuart Allen (left), associate, forex & derivatives sales; Claude Campbell (second left), designer, solution, client & digital experience; Owen Francis (third left), director, retail banking channels; and Lancelot Leslie, financial controller & treasurer, with the bank's International Men's Day student guests (from centre) J'Vaughn Hyman, Courtney Reynolds, and Liam Meade.

BOYS and men would do well to communicate more about their hopes and fears and anxieties, dreams and aspirations, as this could be a valuable coping mechanism to help them reach their goals.

This was the message imparted by CIBC FirstCaribbean's financial controller and treasurer Lancelot Leslie to a group of male students hosted by the bank in celebration of International Men's Day 2022.

The students, J'Vaughn Hyman, head boy of Wolmers' Boys'; Liam Meade, head boy of Ardenne High, and Courtney Reynolds, executive senior prefect of Jamaica College, shadowed a number of the bank's executives on November 18, one day ahead of the worldwide celebration.

Noting that this year's theme was 'Helping Men and Boys', Leslie said that "it is most timely given the increase in recent times of the incidences of abuse and violence being perpetrated by men and boys".

He said that "International Men's Day seeks to celebrate the positive values men bring to our world, their families and their communities and encourages men to teach the boys in their lives the values, characteristics and responsibilities of being a man".

Leslie added that it is unfortunate that in Jamaica today many young men are at risk, falling prey to drugs, gang violence even alcoholism. Many have no one to talk to, no role model, no mentor, no responsible male figure to guide them.

"Unlike you", he told the students, "many are not in school, not working towards getting their education so that they can improve their circumstances and contribute to a better life for their families. You have an opportunity to be leaders, you are already on the right path, and we encourage you to stay focused, keep your eye on the prize and success will be yours. At CIBC FirstCaribbean we aim to lead by example. We know that you may have some anxieties about transitioning from high school to university or the world of work and we assure you that there are big brothers looking out for you to ensure you do well."

Hyman concurred, noting that the big brothers programme with its mentoring initiatives, strong presence of old boys making presentations and helping to monitor behaviour is a big plus at Wolmers'. He has his sights set on studying finance and economics and international business at the University of Pennsylvania and returning to serve Jamaica. Perhaps at CIBC FirstCaribbean, he quipped.

Meade shared that as a co-ed school, Ardenne High has male and female monitors dedicated to patrolling and ensuring good order. Students there are mostly compliant, he revealed, and tend to "listen to the vest", referring to the coveted branded vest that forms part of the uniform of head boy and prefects. He sees his future in public health.

Reynolds said that "the Old Boys Association at Jamaica College looks out for us and encourages us. Some provide scholarships and internships at their companies and that is a great help to the students". He has his heart set on being a civil engineer.

The boys spent the day at CIBC FirstCaribbean learning about various aspects of the bank from senior executives including Owen Francis, director retail banking channels; Douglas Cupidon, director, corporate credit sovereigns & FIs; Claude Campbell, designer, solutions, client digital experience; Stuart Allen, associate, forex and derivatives sales; and Jerome Griffiths, head of human resources.

CIBC FirstCaribbean's Stuart Allen (second left) and Jason Fletcher (standing) "fist bumps" with the bank's student guests Liam Meade (left), J'Vaughn Hyman (second right), and Courtney Reynolds..
Students (from left) Courtney Reynolds, J'Vaughn Hyman, and Liam Meade show off their tokens received from CIBC FirstCaribbean..

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