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How Nadeen Matthews Is Learning From Disappointment and Why Other Women Can

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Nadeen Matthews, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer, NCB Group was the only Caribbean national named among the Young Global Leaders Class of 2017. Nadeen is the youngest female executive at the largest financial services institution and publicly traded corporation in Jamaica – the National Commercial Bank. The company also has business in Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, and Cayman Islands and the Dominican Republic.

At just 37, Nadeen Matthews’ resume reads like an international bestseller. A young Jamaican girl moves to New York, defies the odds to attend one of the city’s most prestigious high schools, and eventually graduates with an MBA from an Ivy League university. Following her much anticipated return to her homeland, Jamaica, she goes on to become the youngest female head of a division at the country’s largest financial institution, the National Commercial Bank (NCB). Recently, she added yet another impressive accomplishment: becoming the only Caribbean representative for the World Economic Forum’s 2017 cohort of Young Global Leaders, an exceptional network of innovative thinkers and fearless pioneers.

And yet, Nadeen’s story isn’t simply one about success, but in fact, is a lesson in overcoming disappointment.

“It’s a core part of my philosophy today that disappointments always turn out to be opportunities,” shares Nadeen. “When my dream didn’t work out in a particular way, I refused to be discouraged as there are always lessons in every failure,” she explains.

Growing up in Portmore – a popular town in the parish St. Catherine, about 35 minutes outside the capital Kingston – Nadeen enjoyed a happy and simple childhood. Back then, playtime was dominated by outdoor activities: playing hide and seek, running carefree through the streets, and climbing mango laden trees. After sitting her Common Entrance exams (then, Jamaica’s national high school entrance test), Nadeen was eager to start her high school journey in Jamaica but those plans were quickly thwarted by an imminent move to the United States. Devastated by the prospect of leaving her friends, relocating to the Bronx became a sombre reality.

Although the adjustment was initially tough, Nadeen focused on her studies and excelled academically. She aced the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) and became the first student from John Peter Tetard Junior High School to attend Stuyvesant High School – New York City’s top public high school with a focus on science and mathematics. .
Bolstered by her academic performance at Stuyvesant, Nadeen confidently submitted applications to top ranking universities: Brown, NYU, Emory and Duke. And though she was accepted to all, her parents simply could not afford to send her.

“It was a bit crushing,” recalls Nadeen. “I had worked so hard, got good grades, and had been admitted into my dream schools but I didn’t get to go,” she reveals.

Despite her disappointment, Nadeen was offered a full scholarship to Binghamton University, a top-ranked public college in southern New York State. There, Nadeen flourished in extra-curricular activities: performing with the Black Dance Repertoire (BDR), and reconnecting with her Jamaican roots through the Caribbean Student Association (CSA). As the CSA’s public relations chair, she played an active role in organizing Binghamton Carnival, an invaluable experience which honed her business development, marketing and relationship management skills. Ultimately, her time at Binghamton University proved to be an amazing experience.

Following graduation, Nadeen was chosen to participate in a management trainee programme by the financial juggernaut Chase, today known as JPMorgan Chase. After an initial stint at the company’s Westchester location, enrolees were sent to various offices. Missing out on the highly coveted Manhattan branch, Nadeen was assigned to what was then deemed as the less coveted Bronx office. Shrugging off what others would have perceived to be a let-down, Nadeen decided to make the most of an opportunity to interact with seasoned bankers who were truly vested in her development. The move, which turned out to be a tremendous boost for her burgeoning career, led to her appointment as an Assistant Vice President, the second in her class of 40 persons to be promoted.

After four years at JPMorgan Chase, Nadeen made the difficult decision to leave in order to pursue an MBA. Unlike her undergraduate application experience, this time she was able to attend her first choice school as she received a full tuition fellowship to the distinguished Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. A job at the global consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, followed graduation but the long hours and gruelling travel schedule began to take its toll after two and a half years.

Longing for more purpose in her work life and unable to kick a nagging desire to return to Jamaica, Nadeen decided to move back to the island in 2010. Since accepting her first post at NCB as Head of Strategy, Nadeen’s portfolio has been expanded to include marketing, corporate social responsibility (CSR), digitization and innovation. Today, she serves as the organisation’s Chief Digital and Marketing Officer, diligently working to transform banking in the Caribbean through cutting-edge digital product and service solutions. Additionally, in her role as CEO of the NCB Foundation, she leads the execution of various CSR initiatives undertaken by the NCB Group.

In spite of all her professional accomplishments, family is still Nadeen’s number one priority. Although her days are generally crammed with work activities, she still finds the time to read bedtime stories to her three-year-old daughter Nyla, and snuggle with 10 month old Lyan. Whenever she’s afforded a break from work, Nadeen is content to explore the island’s breath-taking countryside with her family.

Nadeen credits a strong support system for helping her to cope with all her responsibilities. Although her parents, and her sisters, Natalie and Nicaila, continue to reside overseas, they are still her biggest cheerleaders. Back in Jamaica, Nadeen’s brother, Maurice, and the girls’ grandmother readily assist with daily pickups, and her partner, Mark is incredibly helpful with the girls and very supportive of her career.

“Juggling motherhood and a demanding job can be very challenging,” says Nadeen. “It is important to strive for balance and be clear about your priorities. In addition, I always aim to give my very best and I believe everyone should try to do so irrespective of their circumstances. At the end of the day you still have to hold yourself accountable to you; you have to take responsibility for your own happiness and success,” she explains.

Businessuite Women

JAMPRO’S Film Commissioner to join International Women’s Forum Global Leaders Fellows Program

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Film Commissioner at JAMPRO, Renee Robinson, has been selected to be part of the International Women’s Forum Global Leaders Fellows Program for the year 2022-23. The year-long, intensive leadership development experience prepares Fellows to be leaders for tomorrow through multidisciplinary training that develops the participants’ leadership and management capabilities.

“This opportunity will allow me to fluently speak the language of international deal-making, advance the focal shift of business towards the creative economy, and solidify access to financing for our creative practitioners.”

Robinson’s selection was based on her career as an orange economy expert, content strategist, and thought-leader. She has served as Jamaica’s Film Commissioner since 2016, with responsibility for national economic growth and economic impact of the screen-based industries, advancing employment, film production expenditure, and contribution to GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

JAMPRO’s President, Diane Edwards, said that “we congratulate Renee for being selected to join this prestigious Fellows Programme. We look forward to seeing her advancement in the next year, and her continued excellent work to develop Jamaica’s creative economy”.

Reacting to her selection for the Fellows Program, Ms. Robinson said it demonstrates the rising shift towards business-focused entertainment industry as a valid economic driver. She noted, “Investing in the creative economy is not philanthropy or corporate social responsibility; it is, in fact, lucrative and critical for socio-economic development. Through the Fellowship, I plan to groom my skills in influencing business decisions that support the creative economy.”

 

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€7-Million Grant For Women In Business And MSMEs

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PHOTO: ADRIAN WALKER
Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke (left), and General Manager (Acting), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Caribbean Country Department Group, Carmen Madriz, shake hands following the symbolic signing of a Non-Reimbursable Agreement for the European Union’s provision of a €7-million (over J$1.2-billion) grant for the Government’s Boosting Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems (BIGEE) Programme. The signing was held during a Visibility Ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, on Wednesday (May 25).

 

The Government’s Boosting Innovation, Growth and Entrepreneurship Ecosystems (BIGEE) Programme has been bolstered with a €7-million (over J$1.2-billion) grant from the European Union (EU).

This will provide support for female-led businesses by helping them to build their capacity to contribute to the economy; assist recovery of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) from the economic fallout resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic; and support stakeholder climate change mitigation and adaptation projects that contribute to resilience and sustainability.

The funds are being facilitated through a Non-Reimbursable Financing Agreement under the EU’s Caribbean Investment Facility and will complement the US$25-million loan for the BIGEE programme that was provided by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which will administer the grant.

The BIGEE Programme, which is being implemented by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ), aims to promote sustainable and robust growth among start-ups and MSMEs.

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke; Head of the European Union Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Marianne Van Steen; General Manager (Acting), IDB Caribbean Country Department Group, Carmen Madriz; and DBJ Managing Director, Anthony Shaw, participated in a symbolic grant agreement signing on Wednesday (May 25).

This was held during a visibility ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

Dr. Clarke, who conveyed the Government’s gratitude for the EU’s support, said the BIGEE Programme is geared towards positioning innovation at the centre of the business ecosystem.

“For [Jamaica] to have the kind of economic growth that can support the kind of jobs [we are seeking to generate], we need value-added private-sector activity which is based on innovation,” he stated.

In this regard, Dr. Clarke, who is also Chairman of the IDB’s Board of Governors, said the BIGEE programme “underscores the Government’s commitment to promoting financing and investing in innovation”.

Mr. Shaw said the grant agreement represents “another step in the long-standing fruitful relations between Jamaica and one of our most dependable international development partners – the EU”.

Ambassador Van Steen, in her remarks, said the grant was indicative of the EU’s renewed commitment to fostering entrepreneurship in Jamaica, in a sustainable way.

“The development of micro, small and medium enterprises is critical, not only to the Jamaican economy but to the economies in all countries. Here in Jamaica, they are playing a vital role in the Government’s efforts to spur economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Madriz said the grant represents “another important milestone in the effort of the Government of Jamaica, Development Bank of Jamaica and the Inter-American Development Bank to strengthen the country’s business ecosystem”.

The BIGEE Programme’s specific objectives are promoting innovation and productivity among established MSMEs with high growth potential, promoting sustainable growth in scalable start-ups, and creating a sustainable pipeline of high-growth potential start-ups.

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Businessuite Power 50 Women in Jamaican Business for 2022

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BUSINESSUITE Magazine’s  ranking of Jamaica’s leading businesswomen provides a unique opportunity to secure an insight into the professional lives and activity of some of the most interesting and inspiring women in Jamaica’s private sector today.

How we pick the Power 50

What qualities can adequately describe a woman of power and influence on a national level? She is often described as ambitious, driven, determined, creative, a confident leader and a risk-taker. She allows her passions to order her steps, her gifts and her talents to become her own personal calling card.

Powerful and influential women are thriving in their business lives across Jamaica and so the move by the BUSINESSUITE editorial team to select, based on the format created by FORTUNE magazine editors, the 50 most powerful and influential women was truly a daunting task.

As stated, the selection process for the BUSINESSUITE list of the ’50 Most Powerful and Influential Business Women’ is based on a general format created and used by the editorial team of FORTUNE Magazine. This includes:

1. The general size (Revenue, Profitability and Human Resource) and importance of the woman’s company in the Jamaican economy;
2. The health and direction of the company;
3. The arc of the woman’s career and;
4. Societal and cultural influence of the business as informed by key industry insiders and published information

It must however be noted that since BUSINESSUITE Magazine is not privy to the financial statements of some of the companies mentioned, this was not heavily factored into our final listing and placements. Readers are therefore invited to debate and discuss the names and placement of individuals.

They aren’t just successful executives, entrepreneurs, or administrators who are admired and respected within their own organisations, they are the voices that are heard across the industries in which their companies operate, even across corporate Jamaica as a whole.

The Presentation Event – October 2022
The awards will be given to 50 women business leaders who have achieved strong results in their respective fields. This will be the 1st edition of Businessuite Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Awards, to be held in October 2022. Details to come.

The awards are aimed at honouring remarkable Jamaican women who have made outstanding contributions to their organisations and set new standards of administration and performance across corporate Jamaica and the economy.

We will also be seeking to recognise and identifying Rising Stars and Women Abroad.

The Special Edition – October 2022
The event felicitates the most powerful women in Jamaican business and salutes the spirit of successful business women with a special issue of Businessuite Magazine ‘Most Powerful Women in Business” Jamaica Edition. Details to come

See also

The Top 40 Most Powerful and Influential Women in Jamaican Business for 2016.

Businessuite Power 50 Women in Jamaican Business for 2013

Businessuite Power 50 Women in Jamaican Business for 2012

Businessuite Magazine December 2014 Digital Edition

BUSINESSUITE Magazine October 2012 Digital Issue

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BNC3

Taking Stock LIVE – CEO and Founder of Island Grill, Thalia Lyn Opens Up

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Jamaican fast food chain Island Grill, is expanding! The eatery is seeking to employ 1-hundred new staff, including positions at a new Spanish Town restaurant. But what are their plans beyond Jamaica? And will they ever do an IPO? CEO and Founder of Island Grill, Thalia Lyn, joins us.

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Businessuite Women

Ketanji Brown Jackson Confirmed To The U.S. Supreme Court

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Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday, making history as the first Black woman to ever join its ranks while leaving the balance on the nine-member court—controlled by a six member Republican-appointed majority—unchanged. The 53-47 vote affirming the elevation of the 51-year-old federal appellate judge saw her garner backing of all 50 Senate Democrats and only three Republicans.

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