Elaine Gregory: 18 years of work, fun and reward
GREGORY... Observer has taught me that when I work hard, there is reward

People who know Elaine Gregory will tell you that she wouldn't stay long in a job if she didn't enjoy it. That's why Gregory has been a sales executive at the Jamaica Observer for the past 18 years.

Now, as she looks forward to retirement in the near future, she is even more pleased that her life's goals have been fulfilled.

"I have been working, working, working and didn't realise that while I was working I was self-actualising. I really do enjoy what I do," she said in an interview last week as the newspaper continues to mark it's 30th anniversary.

"I was just at work the other day reflecting and the eureka moment hit me that, 'Hey, you have reached self-actualisation.' While I am earning and doing what I love, the company has given me the opportunity to work hard and play hard while I am self-actualising," she said.

Her journey at the Observer started after she left the former Crown Eagle Life Insurance Company, where she worked as a life underwriter.

GREGORY... clients can tell if you are in it for the money or in it to help them to grow

"I was recommended to work at the Observer by someone who knew my ability, and when the opportunity came I took it. When I got here, the sales environment was no different from where I was coming from. It was like taking my experience to another product," she explained.

Her experience, she said, has been nothing short of growth and success.

"When the challenges come or if there is a proposal on the table and I go to a client, tell them what it is, and say for instance my competitor might be doing it for $20,000 more, my client will call to say, 'Fix it, make it happen,' " she said.

"That's what I love about sales, when you know you have a product that can fit that client, and you know, maybe the client cannot manage that cost or product, you find ways to cut it, fix it, and tailor it for your clients and they will always be eternally grateful. Clients can tell if you are in it for the money or in it to help them to grow, and when they do you can grow also," she added.

Reflecting on memorable moments at the newspaper, Gregory said she looks forward to celebrating each year's accomplishment with her colleagues.

"When it is the last day of the year and we get together as a team, and we just sit and give God thanks for the year that has passed, that means a lot to me. We share our experiences as a team and look forward to coming back for the new year and to start the process all over again with excitement," she said.

Gregory's work goals and achievements have their foundation in the experience she had as a youngster growing up in Alligator Pond, Manchester.

As the eldest of 11 siblings, she was hell-bent on conquering poverty with education and maintaining a standard of excellence.

"I could not be staying around to add anymore poverty, so I had to get out of there. I felt pressured in the sense that at age 14, that was the age you were out of school, and then there is only one thing — you go on the beach and sell fish. But I had to find something else to do, and that was education," she said.

"My siblings looked up to me and I took each one from the country at some point, whether it meant living in a little one bedroom to keep my siblings with me to go to school," added Gregory.

She admitted that when she retires she will miss most the interactions she has with her clients and will always remember the valuable lessons she has learnt during her years at the Observer.

"Observer has taught me that when I work hard, there is reward, but I have to push for that reward by making sure that I use my experience to get it done. I am also going to miss going to the events and mingling with clients," she added.

BY BRITTNY HUTCHINSON Observer staff reporter hutchinsonb@jamaicaobserver.com

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