PRESS RELEASE: A mixed audience of men, women, and students heard what it means to ‘Be Bold For Change’ when four prominent women in the community spoke at a special International Women’s Day discussion held after hours on March 8, at CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.
The group of more than 60 participants, which included bank staff and students from St Georges Secondary School and the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College, listened to a panel of speakers comprising BVI’s First Lady, Mrs Lorna Smith, OBE who serves as the Interim Executive Director for BVI Finance and is the President of LGS & Associates, Mrs Rexella Hodge, Executive Director of Vistra (BVI) Limited, Ms Janette Brin, Marketing Manager for CCT BVI, and event host, CIBC FirstCaribbean Country Manager, Ms Stephane Burke.
Each of the women shared their unique story which told of their personal challenges, inspiration, and motivation that led them to their current professional positions.
Despite the aura of success and confidence that surrounds them, the speakers surprised their listeners with their accounts of humble beginnings or personal situations that shaped their paths and influenced the decisions they made to reach their goals.
Following the revelation of a personal event that now guides her decisions in life, Ms Brin observed that “living in a relatively small community means that we can be prone to having what we do and say or how we look, come under scrutiny, and we can find ourselves passing judgment on others without knowing the full story. The best thing we can do, however, is to actually be supportive of each other and encourage each other to overcome the challenges and to be bold in discovering our unlimited potential.”
Speaking on her determined pursuit of education and the mentorship that led to her qualifications and career path, Mrs Hodge said: “There are a few guidelines that I have learned along the way which I think are key to believing in yourself. Never give up – the challenges are in your life so you can discover your strengths. Have faith – my own story is a testimony to the preaching of my pastor, ‘speak it, speak it, speak it until you see it, see it, see it’. Don’t shy away from hard work – it’s your key to success. Be supportive and encouraging of others and always put your best self forward – someone will see your potential and be there to push you to be bold and follow your dreams.”
After recounting her own personal and career history with humour, and humility, Mrs Smith rounded off her reflections by adding “a final word which is relevant to all of us.”
She said: “Women, young ladies, and yes, men too! Once you set your goal, don’t lose sight of it. Don’t be distracted by the noise about you. Be single minded about achieving it and you will succeed in what you set out to do.”
Acknowledging the guest speakers’ contributions on the topic Ms Burke said “what we heard this afternoon touches on so many experiences and emotions which we all may have endured at some point or may yet encounter, but what comes through as a common thread is that being bold means not being deterred by the challenges that we face nor being afraid of the unknown but to take the chance and step out to make that change for the life we want to live.”
International Women’s Day was celebrated by CIBC FirstCaribbean across the region with a mixture of internal and public events to mark the day and recognise the importance of supporting the continuing efforts of attaining gender parity.
In the BVI, the bank had extended the invitation to five, 15 to 17-year-old female students attending each of the territory’s secondary institutions.
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