Chanice Watson, room technician at Beaches Negril, is the epitome of the often repeated phrase, "The world needs more women who aren't bound by the limited imaginations of others."
Watson is boldly charting her unique journey of defying gender norms, persisting through hardships, and redefining the parameters of success in the engineering department at Beaches Negril.
She credits her achievements to passion, perseverance and the power of thought.
"I've always stayed true to myself and I've never given up on my dreams. I saw the goal and told myself I could reach it if I continue to push," said Watson.
Her chapter with Beaches Negril began in March 2019 when she enrolled in the company's Hospitality Training Programme in the engineering department.
A talented individual with an affinity for technical tasks, she had recently graduated from the Caribbean Maritime University with qualification in property maintenance..
"As the only girl of 11 children I've always been a tomboy. My mother was a tomboy also and loved everything that was hands-on. She was my role model, and I'm grateful for all the lessons she taught me," added Watson.
Her proclivity for the practical side of life allowed her to excel during her training, and she was able to secure a permanent role upon completion.
Fate, however, had other intentions. Watson recalls April 12, 2019 as a bittersweet date that will forever be etched in her memory. She proudly graduated from the hospitality programme and, a short while after, was involved in a car accident that changed her life entirely.
"Both of my legs were broken and I was unable to walk for six months," she said. "The doctors told me, on three different occasions, that I would never walk again. It's a miracle that I can."
In 2021, after a two-year recovery process, Watson managed to motivate herself to continue to pursue her passion.
She reapplied for the position of room attendant and was warmly welcomed back to the team by Wilbert Harding, the chief engineer at Beaches Negril. No sooner had she returned, however, she learnt of her father's passing and had to, yet again, defer her dreams for an additional month.
Determined to press on, Watson finally found herself on a path that aligned with her purpose when she returned to her role in July of 2021.
Armed with a steely will and a clear view of her purpose, she made a name for herself within her male-dominated team and eventually earned the respect of her colleagues. Being the only female on her team came with its challenges but her resolve to excel remained unshaken.
"I don't think of myself as different from my male co-workers when I'm at work. Like them, I am just a team member," she said.
"In turn, no one on my team treats me differently either â€” and I don't expect them to. I come to work, I do my best, and at the end of the day I feel good," added Watson.
In spite of the injury, and the evident limp that lingers as a result, Watson is determined to maintain her fierce independence.
She considers her limp a reminder of her strength and motivation to consistently propel her towards her goals. Her concerted efforts to grow in the field of engineering are guided by a positive mindset, unwavering support from her management team, and the sheer pleasure gained from doing her job.
Whether Watson is repairing air conditioning units, installing plumbing fixtures, or attending to electrical issues, she is having the time of her life. For her, the most satisfying part of the job is knowing that as a woman, she is thriving in a conventionally male-centric role.
A woman of many words, Watson's advice to other females surrounds adopting a victor mindset, taking risks, and shunning societal expectations.
She warned against abandoning true passions in order to fit in and, instead, recommends that women give themselves permission to break barriers.
"I am grateful that Beaches Negril took a chance on me, and I want to encourage a woman somewhere out there to take a chance on herself," she stated. "There will be hard times but do what you love, tell yourself that you can make it, and know that the sky is the limit," said Watson.
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