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#1 Dianna Blake-Bennett General Manager Salada Foods Jamaica Limited Businessuite 2019 Top Jamaica Main Market CEO By US$ % Change in Profit after Tax

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Mrs. Dianna Blake-Bennett joined Salada in February 2016 as the Commercial and Corporate Affairs Manager and was promoted to Acting General Manager in August 2016. Mrs. Blake-Bennett has over 15 years’ experience in Sales and Marketing leading in this area in a number of companies including Restaurant Associate, Mothers Enterprises Limited and the Jamaica Co-Operative Credit Union League.

Prior to joining Salada, she was the Sales and Marketing, Manager at Industrial Chemical Company. Mrs. Blake-Bennett holds a Postgraduate Diploma and an Executive Master in Business Administration from the University of the West Indies, Mona School of Business.

The Company

Salada Foods Jamaica Ltd is the largest coffee processing company in Jamaica and the only soluble coffee processing plant in the Caribbean. We are the home of the renowned Jamaica Mountain Peak brand of coffees and instant teas.

Business Performance

Our 60th year as a company was truly historic.  We hit revenue of $1.041 billion and returned net profit of $219.18 million as we continue to execute on our strategic initiatives – grow exports, introduce new products in the local market to improve our market share, improve factory utility and make Salada a great place to work.  It is our belief that delivering on these strategic pillars will improve shareholder value.

The introduction of a cess in April of USD$1.41 per kg on the importation of green coffee beans, the main raw material in our operations, impacted our bottom line adversely by $20 million. Since then, we have been lobbying Government to remove the cess on commodity grade and priced green coffee beans, as this is not available locally. If the cess remains, our bottom line will take a $90 million hit in the coming fiscal year.

Economically, the past year was a relatively stable one. There was growth in several sectors of our economy, lower unemployment aided disposable income availability which contributed to our revenue growth. Fluctuations in the exchange rate mid-year were concerning but by the last quarter of the year there was relative stability and our US investment portfolio was not negatively impacted.

The performance of LASCO in the distribution of brands is exemplary, sales to trade was $655 million, growing 13% above prior year.

Export sales grew by 21% above last year to $146.36 million as our collective efforts with our distribution partners in the United States, Canada and Barbados were successful.  Growth in the US was 10% year over year, with the Northeast showing signs of recovery posting 14% growth over last year. The Canadian and Barbadian markets grew year on year by 440% and 220% respectively.

Group Operating Profit & Net Profit Operating profit improved by 237.38% to $270.07 million, $33.70 million of this total was a write back relating to termination of medical benefits associated to retired employees.

Operationally, selling and promotional expenses increased by $12.15 million above last year’s $32.77 million which was associated with the launch of our Mountain Bliss 876 brand.

As Management paid focused attention, administrative expenses were curtailed at $118,348 million in comparison to $112,913 million prior year restated without retirement benefits.

Net profit of $219.18 million, our best to date, was the result of our increased revenue, lower operational expenses and improvements to finance income earnings due to foreign exchange gains.

Sales & Marketing

Launching our newly acquired Mountain Bliss 876 brand (MB876) was the centre of our marketing thrust as we sought to gain distribution presence and share of mind. At year-end we had attained 70% distribution of the two sku’s- MB876 gold and classic in supermarkets across the island.

Our flagship brands Jamaica Mountain Peak Coffee and Ginger products broke new ground as we executed on our strategic platform to engage a younger consumer base. We launched several activities on our university campuses, primarily The University of the West Indies (UWI) and University of Technology (UTECH), including a loyalty card with our campus partner Narda’s Coffee Shop and sponsorship of UWI 5K to assist students with tuition were a few of the activities that has endeared our brands to them. Social media activities played a pivotal role in the brands gaining our younger consumers’ attention and loyalty. Operations & Quality Full introduction of flexi work week in our packaging operations positively impacted cost of labour with the resultant improvements to factory overheads and gross margins.

In October, the first month of the new fiscal year, we had a boiler accident. It took longer than expected to get the boiler back up, thus production was affected for the first two months of the new year and will impact our first quarter results.  Operations resumed in December and we have in place plans which will realign our performance going forward.

We continue to operate as a certified Safe Quality Foods (SQF) manufacturing facility and were re-certified in November 2018. Subsidiaries During the year significant efforts were made to divest Salada’s shares in the Pimora subsidiary, but without success.  Production and sales of Pimora smokers were discontinued, this caused a further impairment of the assets, with a resultant net loss of $6.5 million.

Mountain Peak Food Processors Limited continues to operate as the distribution arm of the Group and posted profits for the second year running.

Corporate Social Responsibility

We continue to execute our plan to have Jebb Memorial Basic School certified as an early childhood facility. This year, a breakfast programme was instituted to help children that come to school without that very important meal. Additionally, classrooms were tiled, and industrial strength ceiling fans installed, which were required components for certification.  We continue to finance their lunch, yard maintenance and pest control programmes.  Our support continues to engender community support and goodwill.

Outlook

Economic Conditions Jamaica’s macro-economic outlook is positive, with unemployment trending downwards and inflation set to be relatively stable at 4%. We expect that domestic sales will continue to grow as our strategies to enter new channels and eek out new opportunities in existing channels are realized.

Exports too, are expected to continue its upward trajectory with us capitalizing on the performance in the United States, Canada and Barbados whilst seeking opportunities in other markets.

We will continue to leverage our manufacturing expertise and capitalize on our contract manufacturing segment while developing new products for future introduction.

Social media straddled with the use of traditional media sources will remain the main platforms utilized in the execution of our selling and promotional activities as we undertake to convert brand awareness into consumption of our products.

Our biggest risks are the changes to the regulatory environment and the lack thereof of a transparent policy that governs the coffee industry and specifically the importation of coffee beans since the country does not produce commodity grade or priced coffee for manufacturing.  We will continue to lobby Government to ensure that a policy is put in place and to ensure that our manufacturing interest is considered.

As we continue to grow shareholder value, management will continue to pay keen attention to key areas of the business.

Dianna Blake-Bennett General Manager Salada Foods Jamaica Limited

To view full 2018 Annual Report click HERE

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Who is M. Georgia Gibson Henlin, KC, CIPP-E, CIPM?

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M. Georgia Gibson Henlin is a distinguished attorney and the Managing Partner of Henlin Gibson Henlin, a premier law firm in Kingston, Jamaica. Known for her extensive expertise in complex dispute resolution, data protection, information technology, intellectual property, and telecommunications law, she has built a reputation as a formidable legal mind in both contentious and non-contentious fields.

Professional Background and Achievements

Georgia Gibson Henlin has an illustrious legal career, marked by numerous qualifications and recognitions. She was admitted to the Jamaican Bar in 1993, the Ontario Bar in 2002, the New York Bar in 2018, and the British Virgin Islands Bar in 2022. Her academic credentials include a Master of Law Degree in Innovation Law and Policy from the University of Toronto.

Gibson Henlin has been instrumental in shaping legal practices related to technology and data privacy in the Caribbean. She is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP-E) and a Certified Information Privacy Manager (CIPM), demonstrating her commitment to maintaining high standards in data protection and privacy law. Additionally, she is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, underscoring her capabilities in arbitration and mediation.

Leadership and Influence

As the Managing Partner at Henlin Gibson Henlin, Georgia leads a team of highly skilled attorneys. The firm specializes in complex commercial and civil disputes, representing clients across various sectors, including banking, telecommunications, and insurance. Under her leadership, the firm has garnered a reputation for innovative legal solutions and robust advocacy in high-stakes cases​ (Henlin)​​ (Chambers Talent)​.

Her influence extends beyond her firm. Gibson Henlin has contributed significantly to the legal community through her publications on regulatory issues in telecommunications and internet protocol. She has been consistently ranked in Chambers Global for General Business Law: Dispute Resolution, reflecting her standing in the legal profession​ (Chambers Talent)​​ (Chambers Practice Guides)​.

Contributions and Recognitions

Georgia Gibson Henlin’s contributions to the field of law have been recognized with various honors. She was conferred with the Order of Distinction, Commander Class, on Jamaica’s Independence Day in 2023 for her outstanding service to the legal profession​ (Francis Grey – Cayman Islands Law Firm)​.

Her work spans multiple jurisdictions, providing specialist legal advice and representing clients in significant legal matters. Gibson Henlin is known for her strategic approach and impactful advice, which align with her clients’ commercial goals.

M. Georgia Gibson Henlin is a leading figure in the Caribbean legal landscape, known for her legal acumen, leadership, and dedication to advancing the practice of law in areas critical to modern business and technology. Her work continues to influence and shape legal standards and practices in Jamaica and beyond.

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Who is Andrea Coy, CEO of GK Foods International Business?

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Andrea Coy is a seasoned executive with an extensive career in the food and finance industries. As the CEO of GK Foods International Business, she oversees the global manufacturing and distribution operations of GraceKennedy Foods across multiple regions, including the USA, Canada, the UK, Latin America and the Caribbean, Belize, West Africa, and Europe.

Career Journey and Leadership Roles

Andrea Coy began her journey with GraceKennedy Limited in April 2005, initially serving as the Financial Controller of Hi-Lo Food Stores. Her rapid rise through the ranks saw her appointed as General Manager of Hi-Lo in March 2006. By October 2010, she was leading World Brands Services, and in March 2012, she took on the role of CEO of Hardware and Lumber Limited. Her leadership prowess was further recognized in March 2014 when she became Senior General Manager for the Global Category Management Unit within the GK Foods Division.

In October 2015, Coy’s portfolio expanded as she was named CEO of GraceKennedy Foods Domestic. This role gave her responsibility for multiple segments, including Hi-Lo, Grace Foods & Services, World Brands, and several factories in Jamaica. Her current role as CEO of GK Foods International Business, assumed in January 2018, places her at the helm of the company’s extensive international operations​.

Board Memberships and Professional Affiliations

Andrea Coy’s influence extends beyond her executive duties. She is a member of the GraceKennedy Group’s Executive Committee and chairs several boards, including Grace Foods Ltd. and GraceKennedy Belize Ltd. Additionally, she holds directorships on the boards of GK Foods & Services Ltd., GraceKennedy Foods (USA) LLC, and Grace Foods UK Limited, among others.

Her expertise is further acknowledged through her role on the Bank of Jamaica Board of Directors, where she serves on the Audit Committee and chairs the HRD Committee. Coy’s background in finance is underpinned by her experience at Citibank, NA, where she served as Resident Vice President, and at Shirlome Chemical Group and Mair Russell Grant Thorton, where she held various senior positions​​.

Educational Background

Andrea Coy holds both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Accounting from the University of the West Indies, achieving honors and distinction, respectively. She is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica since 1997. To further bolster her managerial acumen, she completed professional education in Turnaround Management Strategies at Harvard Business School in 2011​​.

Impact and Vision

Under Coy’s leadership, GK Foods International Business continues to strengthen its global presence, adapting to market demands and expanding its footprint. Her strategic vision and operational expertise have been pivotal in driving the company’s growth and ensuring its competitive edge in the international market.

Andrea Coy’s journey reflects her resilience, strategic thinking, and dedication to excellence, making her a notable figure in the food industry and a leader poised to drive GraceKennedy’s international business to new heights.

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Who is Dr. Taneisha Ingleton?

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Dr. Taneisha Ingleton is a prominent Jamaican leader currently serving as the Managing Director of the HEART/NSTA Trust. With a robust academic background, including a PhD, LLB, MPhil, and BA, she brings extensive expertise in human capital development, organizational leadership, and performance coaching.

Academic and Professional Background

Dr. Ingleton is a highly educated professional with a diverse academic portfolio. Her educational journey includes a PhD in Education from the University of the West Indies and an LLB from the University of London, among other qualifications. This extensive education underpins her strategic thinking and leadership capabilities​ (Home – Jamaica Observer)​.

Leadership at HEART/NSTA Trust

Since taking the helm at HEART/NSTA Trust, Dr. Ingleton has spearheaded numerous initiatives aimed at enhancing vocational and technical education in Jamaica. Under her leadership, the organization has expanded partnerships with global entities like City & Guilds, resulting in thousands of certifications across various trades and skills. She has been instrumental in modernizing the training programs to include cutting-edge fields such as autonomous robotics and digital marketing​ (Home – Jamaica Observer)​.

Key Achievements and Initiatives

Dr. Ingleton has led several significant projects at HEART/NSTA Trust, including the establishment of the first Autonomous Mobile and Aerial Robotics Lab in Montego Bay. This initiative is part of a broader strategy to equip the Jamaican workforce with skills relevant to the modern economy. Additionally, she has focused on addressing the backlog of certificates for graduates, ensuring that they receive their credentials promptly​ (Home – Jamaica Observer)​.

Commitment to Workforce Development

Her tenure is marked by a commitment to workforce development and youth empowerment. Dr. Ingleton’s efforts are aimed at not only improving technical and vocational education but also aligning these programs with the needs of Jamaica’s evolving economic landscape. Her strategic vision includes boosting support for the manufacturing sector and increasing enrolment in training programs through digital platforms​ (Home – Jamaica Observer)​.

Dr. Taneisha Ingleton’s leadership at HEART/NSTA Trust exemplifies a blend of academic excellence, strategic foresight, and a deep commitment to national development, making her a pivotal figure in Jamaica’s educational and economic sectors.

 

 

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Who is Senator the Honourable Dr. Dana Morris Dixon?

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Senator the Honourable Dr. Dana Morris Dixon is a distinguished figure in both the public and private sectors of Jamaica, known for her significant contributions to business and governance. Currently serving as Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, she oversees Skills and Digital Transformation, as well as the National Identification System and the Registrar General’s Department.

Educational Background and Early Career
Dr. Morris Dixon’s academic credentials are impressive. She is a Fulbright Scholar, holding a Bachelor’s degree in Economics (First Class Honours) and a Master’s degree in Government (Distinction) from the University of the West Indies. She furthered her studies with a PhD in International Studies from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and completed an executive program at Harvard Business School.

Her career began in academia at the University of the West Indies, where she taught undergraduate and graduate courses and contributed to the Jamaica Economy Project, a precursor to the Caribbean Policy Research Institute.

Private Sector Leadership
In the business realm, Dr. Morris Dixon held several senior executive roles at the Jamaica National Group, including Managing Director of JN General Insurance Ltd. She led significant strategic projects such as the establishment of JN Bank and the creation of the group’s new structure in 2017. Notably, she played a pivotal role in launching the first Caribbean bank authorized in the United Kingdom in 2020.

Her expertise was also instrumental in the successful completion of Jamaica’s National Risk Assessment in 2021, crucial for the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action Plan, while on secondment to the Bank of Jamaica.

Public Sector Contributions
Dr. Morris Dixon’s public service is equally notable. Besides her current ministerial duties, she has served on the Jamaica Education Transformation Commission and various other boards and committees, advocating for women’s advancement in leadership roles. Her efforts are directed towards fostering a digitally empowered society and improving vocational training to meet the private sector’s needs.

Commitment to National Development
Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen have both highlighted her dedication to national ideals and policymaking acumen, emphasizing her role in driving digital transformation and vocational training initiatives. These initiatives aim to enhance the skillset of approximately 700,000 Jamaicans not formally counted in the labour force, thus supporting economic growth.

Dr. Dana Morris Dixon’s blend of academic excellence, business acumen, and public service commitment makes her a vital asset to Jamaica’s development and a role model for future leaders.

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Ambassador Marks Champions Investment in Women

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Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, has called for increased investment in women as a moral and strategic global necessity.

She argued that, as half of the world’s population, women are not just participants but key drivers of economic growth.

She noted that they occupy diverse roles as scientists, military members, entrepreneurs, educators, and political leaders, underscoring their essential contribution across the spectrum of human endeavour.

“Women play a crucial role in confronting some of the most pressing global challenges today, from geopolitical conflicts and rising poverty levels to the escalating impacts of climate change,” she added.

Ambassador Marks, who was addressing an International Women’s Conference in New York recently, noted that despite the role and contributions of women, the current rate of investment in women is woefully inadequate.

She said that an additional US$360 billion per year is required by developing countries to achieve gender equality under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“At this trajectory, more than 340 million women and girls will still live in extreme poverty by 2030,” Ambassador Marks lamented.
She noted that closing gender gaps in employment could boost GDP per capita by an impressive 20 per cent,” illustrating the vast economic benefits of gender parity.

Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks (second right), shares a photo opportunity with (from left) Chief Executive Officer of Nevalliance, Dr. Neva Alexander; Jamaica’s Consul General in New York, Alsion Wilson; former President of the Jamaica Nurses Group of New York, Claudette Powell; and past presidents of the Union of Jamaica Alumni Associations in the United States, Karlene Largie and Lesleyann Samuels. Ambassador Marks was at the International Women’s Conference hosted by Nevalliance at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on March 9.

In her rallying cry for societal change, Ambassador Marks noted the potential for transformative change through collective action and commitment to women’s economic liberation.

She called on women to step forward as active participants in the fight for gender equality.

Emphasising the conference’s theme, ‘Leading Ladies’, Ambassador Marks championed the idea that women must not only advocate for change but embody it, inspiring others by becoming exemplary figures in all spheres of life.

“We must all become leading ladies in our own right. Let us be the change we wish to see,” she urged, calling on women to lead by example and show the world the strength and capability inherent in female leadership.

Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, is greeted by New York State Senator, Kevin Parker, on her arrival at International Women’s Conference at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on March 9. Looking on (from left) are Jamaica’s Consul General in New York, Alsion Wilson, and Chief Executive Officer of Nevalliance, Dr. Neva Alexander.

Reflecting on her own experiences, Ambassador Marks shared powerful lessons on embracing innovation, the value of relationships, and the uncompromising importance of integrity.

She called on leaders, policymakers, and community members to invest in women, highlighting the undeniable return on investment for society’s broader prosperity and well-being.

“To forge a future where everyone thrives, we must all contribute to creating a world brimming with opportunities, where women empowerment is the norm, not the exception,” she said.

The International Women’s Conference, organised by professional development company Nevalliance, was aimed at enhancing awareness about women’s issues and generate resources to support their growth.

By: March 18, 2024

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