Stories of Inspiration: Retired ICAJ Member, Mrs. Patricia Reid-Waugh Shares Her Life’s Journey
ICAJ congratulates its retired member, the multitalented and multifaceted, Mrs. Patricia Reid-Waugh, on her most recent successes in the literary arts. Her performance of Miss Lou’s ‘Dry Foot Bwoy’ and her own poem ‘Me An Me Jacob’ earned her a Gold Medal in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Speech Competition (Jamaican Language Poetry) in February 2017. She also published her first book, “Retirement, A New Adventure” in February this year.
Mrs. Reid-Waugh holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in Mathematics and Economics, Post-Graduate Diploma in Education in the Teaching of Mathematics and a Master of Science in Accounting, all from the University of the West Indies (UWI). Additionally, she pursued graduate studies in Educational Administration under a USAID Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.
Let Pat tell you a bit more about her colourful life….
Life in the Classroom
Fresh out of university, I commenced my professional career as a Mathematics Teacher at Calabar High School in September 1974. Though inexperienced, it did not take me long to convey to the boys that I meant business. After four weeks of intensive instruction on the rudiments of the Circle Theorems, my 5th Form class was administered a test with the caution that anyone who scored less than 60% would be required to serve a detention.
A few students sought to test the theory that this young teacher need not be taken seriously. They did so to their detriment. Needless to say, the word got around quickly that if you were placed in Mrs. Waugh’s Math class, don’t test! A significant achievement during my tenure at Calabar (1974 – 1981) was grooming high achievers of the 3rd Form to sit O’Level Mathematics and Additional Mathematics in the 4thForm. Selected students were challenged to heights of academic excellence and many boys in other mathematics groups were envious of their counterparts who benefited from this experiment.
In my opinion, the implementation of accelerated learning initiatives for the highest achievers at Grade 9 motivates these students to the extraordinary performance of which they are capable. Conversely, students who struggle academically should also be afforded specialized attention to bring them up to a passing grade. As a teacher, I was always guided by a simple philosophy – “if the student has not learnt then the teacher has not taught.” I was therefore prepared to give as many extra classes as possible, free of charge, to ensure my students’ success. Their success was my success.
Transition to the Accountancy Profession
In August 1981, I left Calabar to pursue the MSc Accounting degree, in preparation for a career transition. I joined the Deloitte firm (then Touche Ross) upon completion. For me, Deloitte was the best training ground for any new accounting professional. The environment was supportive and family oriented; partners led by example, demonstrating a high work ethic and commitment to clients. Partners, Sydney Fernando and Carey Metz had the greatest influence on my professional accountancy career, and I credit their training for my being awarded a prize by the firm for “Effective Response in Situations of Urgency.” My 14 years with Deloitte Jamaica was split in two periods sandwiching a stint as Financial Controller at McIntosh Bedding Company and the now defunct Jamaica Record.
In January 2001, I was recruited by the Deloitte firm in St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles where I spent a couple years before moving to the St. Maarten Telephone Company to assist with setting up an Internal Audit Department. In June 2004, I moved to the island of Nevis to take up the position of Regulator for Nevis’ Financial Services and a Commissioner of the St Kitts and Nevis Financial Services Commission.
I gained significant exposure to international regulatory processes and procedures established to fight money laundering and counter the financing of terrorism. I represented the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis at numerous regional and international meetings and conferences dealing with regulation of financial services in general and AML/CFT regulation and compliance. In 2009, I was appointed to serve on the Working Group of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) that was given the responsibility of preparing the first Strategic Plan for the organization. The work of the Group culminated in the presentation of CFATF’s Strategic Plan for 2011-2015.
Life in Nevis
Living on an island with approximately 12,000 people was a unique experience. Within a week of my arrival, everybody in Nevis knew that there was “a Jamaican lady who drives a blue and silver Jeep living in the yellow upstairs house at Zetlands.” Nevisians are warm and welcoming to anyone who is a productive individual, regardless of where the person hails from. Almost everyone to whom I was introduced said “Welcome to Nevis!” They embraced my friendly personality and distinct cultural background and I, in turn, did my best to contribute positively to the society both professionally and socially.
Having studied organ playing at the Jamaica School of Music and recognizing that there was a shortage of church musicians on the island, I volunteered to play the organ for one of the Anglican churches. I also assisted with organizing special events, e.g. assisting the Library in mounting annual Black History Month exhibitions and executing cultural activities. I simply immersed myself in Nevisian life, adjusted to whatever differences there were, thoroughly enjoyed my time there and made lasting friendships.
Life in Retirement
I took the decision to return to Jamaica in the summer of 2011 to avail myself of specialized diagnostic and other medical services that were not readily available in St. Kitts and Nevis. This marked the beginning of life in retirement. In addition to volunteering and mentoring, retirement has afforded me time to pursue so many new and arguable ‘out-of-the-box’ activities for personal enrichment. I have always had an interest in writing and for a long time have been writing poems and storytelling pieces for family, church and work events.
I recall the days at Deloitte Jamaica when I would write poems for a Long Service Award Ceremony or Christmas Party or in Nevis when my storytelling pieces espousing our colourful Jamaican culture would be the talk of the island for months thereafter. In 2010, I was awarded a Merit Certificate by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission for an original poem titled “Me An Me Jacob”, a piece in which an old woman celebrates her 57 years of marriage to her Jacob. Humour is good medicine for any and every disease and the literary and performing arts offer unique opportunities for dishing out generous doses of this medicine.
In March 2012, the ICAJ Writers’ Club was launched and, naturally, I was a foundation member. Regrettably, the Club has not been as vibrant as it could be and this is a pity because an abundance of talent resides in the ICAJ. I would certainly like to see the revival of this Club. My involvement with the Club encouraged me to start writing a book comprising stories of my life. This project fell by the wayside because the literary expert who was assisting me migrated to Germany and was no longer able to provide the required guidance.
I then turned my attention to another aspiration, learning to play the violin. My first efforts were not very melodious. There was so much squeaking and squawking coming from my apartment that at times I was embarrassed to face my neighbors. Thankfully, things have improved considerably and I can now produce a decent sound having achieved success in the Trinity College Grades 1 & 2 Violin examinations.
Recently, I auditioned for the JCDC Speech Competition (Jamaican Language Poetry) and was selected to compete in the Kingston & St. Andrew Parish Finals. Competitors in the Adult Category are required to perform two contrasting pieces. My performance of Miss Lou’s ‘Dry Foot Bwoy’ and my own poem ‘Me An Me Jacob’ earned me a Gold Medal in February 2017. It was a fun experience!
Retirement, A New Adventure
The most exciting of my retirement activities is the writing and publication of my first book “Retirement, A New Adventure” which was launched on February 5, 2017. In February 2016, I saw a two-day publishing workshop advertised. I decided to attend so I could gain some insight to allow me to finish the book on stories of my life. During the exercise, the facilitator asked participants to state the title of a book each would want to write.
I jotted down ‘The Joy of Retirement’. We were then asked to map out chapters and I made appropriate notes following the instructions of the facilitator. The workshop was interesting and instructive. Some three weeks later I bounced into the papers from the workshop and immediately thought it would be a great idea to write such a book. Nine months later “Retirement, A New Adventure” was birthed.
The book motivates pre-retirees and retirees to adopt a positive, wholesome and fun outlook to life after work in order to stay active and engaged. The thesis of the book is that life in retirement involves much more than just ensuring financial security. Retirement opens up opportunities for doing and learning new things, exploring new places and meeting new people, discovering our hidden talents and showcasing them, and, experimenting with new tools and technologies to reconnect with the past and connect to the future. Retirement affords time to fulfil long-held dreams and aspirations on the journey to self-actualization. My adventure continues….what will your adventure be?
Republished with the permission of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica (ICAJ). For further information, please contact Patricia Reid-Waugh at email@example.com. www.icaj.org