Janice Grant Taffe The Quintessential LeaderMonday, August 02, 2021
The lusty applause that welcomed the arrival of Janice Grant Taffe, senior vice-president, general counsel & corporate secretary at Sagicor Group Jamaica, to Villa Ronai Thursday last, reverberated long after the final toast was raised. It was a bittersweet moment for those in attendance. Grant Taffe would be leaving a company she had been attached to for 32 years, had led its legal, regulatory and overall corporate governance framework, built its group legal department from the ground up, and guided its legal strategy of growth through mergers and acquisitions and new products and services.
Indeed, Group President & CEO Christopher Zacca was effusive in his praise of the outgoing legal luminary. “Under her strategic leadership, her legal acumen has guided major investment and corporate strategies which have helped to position the company as a leader in the financial services and the real estate sectors. We are grateful to have had her expertise to guide us in the areas of corporate and commercial law and considerable experience in pensions, real estate transactions and insurance law,” he shared.
There'd be more from Zacca. “Janice epitomises the quintessential leader we read about in books. Her contribution to this organisation spans 30 years of yeoman service in shaping who we are, keeping us on our toes as we maintain business integrity with her foresight.”
Life of Jamaica (now Sagicor) founder and Sagicor Group director emeritus R Danny Williams, the man who put in a good word for her to be hired, shared the following virtually: “I can't help but cast my mind back to when you were hired by Life of Jamaica, and I put a good word in for you. I must say that I am glad that you will be continuing with Sagicor, because the time, the knowledge and the experience you've had with Life of Jamaica into Sagicor is something we can't buy. I wish you all the very best for the future. I know that you will continue to make a very useful contribution to Jamaica, and that you will continue to keep in touch.”
Peter Melhado, Sagicor Group Jamaica chairman, who also joined virtually, added, “It's been a long stint. I've certainly worked with you for 15 of your 32 years. Incredible contribution to the group. I've had a lot of fun, a lot of laughs and jokes. I'm always asking you to remind me what boards or committees I'm on, which always gives us a source of mirth. I know you're staying on as corporate secretary, which is great, but I also know you are going to be taking on a few other things. I know you have plenty of gas left in the tank, and I really want to wish you all the best with that.”
In a moving citation that succinctly and humorously detailed Grant Taffe's impressive legal acumen, caring nature and sense of humour, assistant Vice-President & Legal Counsel Grace Royal Bassaragh described the phenomenal woman as a giver and a mother to her team. “I know that almost everybody present here this evening can confirm that they have received a gift or token from Janice Grant Taffe,” said Royal Bassaragh, whose rhetorical statement was met with shouts of agreement from the audience. “More importantly, she gives of herself. She has a listening ear for every problem and every person who walks in through her door. Never fails to give a compliment and is so approachable that persons who don't even know her come to her for advice.”
Between laughs, tears and copious toasts Grant Taffe graciously soaked it all up. Her composure was commendable in the midst of the effusive outpouring of love that included a medley of her favourite songs from Shane Bennett, social and digital marketing officer, group marketing, Sagicor Group Jamaica. Guests at this juncture presented long-stemmed roses to the guest of honour. The Reverend Astor Carlysle who had experienced first-hand, not once, but twice, the altruism of the evening's honoree, brought the evening to a perfect close by asking all in attendance to join him in raising a hand in prayer for Grant Taffe.
The evening's compères Alysia Moulton White and Karl Williams invited guests to continue enjoying the Jacqui Tyson fare that included Jordan Chuck sushi offerings, and the musical stylings of DJ Babba; few needed a second prompt. Reluctantly, but in order to make it home before the curfew, further fond farewells were shared with the lady of the evening. Few would dispute that this had been the type of adieu many could only dream of.
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