lady in red
logos

DISTINGUISHED WOMEN IN Business

Lisandra Rickards

Lisandra Rickards

Rickards is the CEO of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Jamaica. A Harvard graduate, she has developed and delivered scaled initiatives to over 1,200 Caribbean entrepreneurs and counting, with the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship.

view full profile

Lisandra Rickards Profile

Lisandra Rickards

Lisandra Rickards was in search of something more in her career, something that was not driven by dollars and cents, and soon enough she found her home at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship.

Now chief executive officer (CEO) of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, Rickards left her job in finance not quite sure of what she was going to do next.

"Then CEO of the Branson Centre - Lisa Lake - sent an email advertising open positions at the centre. I applied, and the rest is history," she told Flair.

She works with entrepreneurs of the average age of 38 years and she found exactly what she was looking for at the Branson Centre. Rickards now has a sense of fulfilment that she is doing her part in the growth of Jamaica.

"We operate in a tough economic environment where entrepreneurs face a lot of challenges. It's inspiring to be around the resilience and drive that pushes entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams regardless," she said.

Writing a memoir has been on the cards for Rickards for some time. Truth be told ,she has even thought that she has completed it on several occasions but there is always something else that she would like to add - another story for her to tell.

Her aim for the memoir is to make an impact. She would like to encourage others to follow their joy and design their life.

Read More Here
Yaneek Page

Yaneek Page

Yaneek Page’s mission is to help people realise their entrepreneurial potential and live a better life. Staying true to her words, Page has been doing just what she sets out to do through her various business ventures.

view full profile

Yaneek Page Profile

Yaneek Page

Renown businesswoman, chief lady of The Innovators series, Yaneek Page is more than what meets the eyes. Fresh out of sixth form she started her own skin care and beauty products store at the age of 17, with the support of her mother. Born into a family of entrepreneurs, Page expressed that it was just a natural fit for her. This business savvy woman, wanted to go where no woman had gone before. She revealed that initially it was a struggle as being a young woman, people would ask whose business it really was and call her 'a little girl'. She was even asked, "who the hell I thought I was".

Page went on to start her lucrative company, Future Services International Limited, which provides legal funding, expanding its borders into entrepreneurship training, business coaching and TV production. Completing a course in restorative justice at Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies at UWI Mona with Donna Parchment-Brown, Page was inspired. "It was then I understood that people who have suffered terrible injustice usually never move past it unless and until they feel justice has been served."

When she suffered serious head injuries after a car accident, Page gained first hand experience with injustice. "Looking back, I think the Lord made me go through that horrific experience to be able to testify about what it means to be injured because of someone's carelessness but not compensated because of ignorance and others' greed."

Read More Here
Yhordanka Akwanza

Yhordanka Akwanza

Thirty-five-year-old Yhordanka Akwanza, is the Co- Founder and COO of one of the most successful eye wear companies in Jamaica - Eyeland Eyewear. The company which started in 2004, retailing quality and affordable glasses for Jamaicans.

view full profile

Yhordanka Akwanza Profile

Yhordanka Akwanza

Yhordanka Akwanza loves life and has a passion to continuously grow and develop as an entrepreneur. The co-owner and COO of Eyeland Eyewear, came to Jamaica from Cuba in 2003, not knowing the language. "At first, I worked voluntarily at Mona Preparatory as an assistant dance teacher to learn English. Back then, I couldn't even say hi," she told Flair.

Akwanza was introduced to the eyewear world which was her husband's family business . In 2004, she decided to focus entirely on the optical work which was her husband Ketao's passion. "In that same year, we started Eyeland Eyewear with my husband as the brains behind it all and me at the front at customer service," she explained. When the company started, they had three locations among the family. Today, Eyeland Eyewear has 16 locations and is no longer a shared family business.

"When you have limited formal education, and you are a self-proclaimed entrepreneur, all you do day in and day out is think about solutions to problems that can also turn in a profit," said Akwanza who had pursued a degree in Afro-Cuban dance in Havana.

According to Akwanza, the main challenge with creating and building a brand is human resources. "When you don't have qualified people to achieve all tasks, then everything else will fail. We find it very challenging to find highly motivated individuals who look at working at Eyeland Eyewear as a carrier and not a trampoline in to other employments or school," she explained.

Read More Here
Dian Williams

Dian Williams

Williams is the Founder of Earth Elements, which has become the one-stop shop for raw, natural materials and beauty products. Her business came from an interest in creating beauty products that are beneficial and natural for the improvement of the skin.

view full profile

Dian Williams Profile

Dian Williams

Chief Executive Officer of Earth ElementsJA, Dian Williams, is motivated by helping those around her achieve their goals. She tells Flair, "I am motivated by my personal goals, as well as those of the persons whom I'm responsible for - my family, staff, and customers."

Earth ElementsJA provides the largest selection of all natural and organic products. "Our business is very personalised and we cater to the full range of the market. We also have wholesale and retail divisions that aspiring entrepreneurs could in fact build a business out of our business."

The mother of three created her business after recognising that there was an untapped niche market for natural products and materials.

Through life we all experience trials that will test how strong we are and give us the skills to ensure our survival. For Williams, this came when she was 19 years old and became pregnant with her first child while attending university. "I barely survived university as I saw the world differently after having a child at 19. My reality meant that I had to go home to a child when all my friends were out partying. While my mom never judged me, something in me wanted to be somebody she could be proud of. I managed to keep it together long enough to finish university and never looked back," said Williams.

Read More Here
Lanisia Rhoden

Lanisia Rhoden

Lanisia Rhoden is a Social Entrepreneur who is passionate about youth entrepreneurship and serves as Business Advisor with the HEART Trust/NTA, helping their trainees to develop their businesses and access seed funding.

view full profile

Lanisia Rhoden Profile

Lanisia Rhoden

Former festival queen for the parish of Manchester, Lanisia Rhoden, has been a trailblazer in youth entrepreneurship, and has accomplished a lot in an impressively short time frame.

To date, one of her most important accomplishments has been the establishment of the Young Women/Men of Purpose (YWOP/YMOP) programme which she started in 2009,during her reign. The organisation provides career services to young men and women in Manchester - including mentorship sessions on different vocations, presentations from professionals, and pairing a mentee with a volunteer.

"We started the organisation to help young women who are ignored or who aren't given enough attention because of their family background or situations they may get themselves in. What started out with catering to women between the ages of 16-25, was quickly expanded to include men, as young as 13 years old," Rhoden explained.

Rhoden who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in food service management from the University of Technology, and a Master of Science in innovation management and entrepreneurship from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, further reveals that outside of mentorship, YWOP has carried out three projects that are internationally funded.

Read More Here
Audrey Tugwell Henry

Audrey Tugwell Henry

Mrs. Audrey M. Tugwell Henry has been an Executive Vice President of Retail Banking - Caribbean North & Central at Scotia Group Jamaica Limited since September 2017. Before, Mrs. Henry was the Senior General Manager of Retail Banking Division at NCB.

view full profile

Audrey Tugwell Henry Profile

Audrey Tugwell Henry

Audrey Tugwell Henry, has had a very long and illustrious career in banking. Today, she has returned 'home' to her current role as vice-president, Retail Banking Scotia Group, a role she assumed last September, after stepping down as the senior general manager of the Retail Banking Division at the National Commercial Bank (NCB).

The Montegonian previously served as senior vice-president of Retail and Electronic Banking for the Scotia Group, a post she held until May 2008.

Tugwell Henry's foray in banking began in 1987, when she worked as a teller at Mutual Security Bank. With a master of business administration in general management and a bachelor of science from the University of the West Indies, along with a diploma in education from Church Teachers College, Tugwell Henry's first profession was a teacher. It was while she was on her way to her teaching job at the Herbert Morrison Comprehensive High School, that Henry stopped at the bank to enquire about a teller vacancy. That same day, she walked through the door with a firm job offer. With no background in business when she started, Tugwell Henry was eager to soak up everything about business education.

Read More Here