L-R: Dr. Judy Nisbett, Ruby Garcia, Camara Lee-Prentice and Anouska Anslyn
In celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day (8 March), the Nevis Tourism Authority has spoken to four of the island’s most inspiring businesswomen, to understand what motivates them and discover their top tips for female success and empowerment.
Dr. Judy Nisbett – Chair of the Nevis COVID-19 Taskforce, Ruby Garcia – Resort Manager at Four Seasons Nevis, Camara Lee-Prentice – Founder and CEO of TALENT+, and Anouska Anslyn – Founder of Grazed, all shared insights of their daily habits, tips on balancing careers with personal lives, their thoughts on challenges faced by women in business, and their expert advice for the next generation of female leaders.
The women, who all live and work in Nevis, share a common understanding of the challenges that women continue to face in the workplace and the difficulty in balancing work with home life, but also share the view that women are more than capable of reaching the top of their careers while leading a balanced, prosperous, harmonious life.
What rituals or habits do you undertake to set you up to succeed each day?
Dr. Judy Nisbett: I start my day with prayer, devotions, and meditation, then ensure that I get in some exercise – whether its half an hour on the treadmill, or a few laps around the yard – this is my time to relax and reflect before the day begins. At the end of the day, I consult my to-do-list so I know exactly what I need to be prepared for the following day.
Ruby Garcia: Each morning I say a little prayer of gratitude, take a deep breath, and remind myself how truly fortunate I am to be working in paradise. This helps the work day begin on a positive note!
Anouska Anslyn: To face the day ahead I pray, listen to gospel music and have a cup of coffee to get me going. My passions, goals and ambitions are just what I need to keep going each day.
Who inspires you and do you have a role model?
Camara Lee-Prentice: My biggest motivation is my mom. I was raised by a single mom and growing up, she always pushed me to follow my passion and give everything my best.
Dr. Judy Nisbett: My parents are my role models. They provided me a solid foundation, allowed me to dream and encouraged me to fulfil my own dreams. As I grew up, I witnessed their hard work, dedication and diligence in their professions which resulted in them reaching the top of their careers as public servants and eventually leading their organizations.
Ruby Garcia: I have been fortunate to have worked with great female leaders in almost every role that I have taken in the hotel industry. The most recent is my Regional Vice President and General Manager, Yvette Thomas-Henry – she is a strong leader and the 1st female RVP of colour in a top international hotel brand.
How do you balance your career, personal life, and passions?
Anouska Anslyn: Often, work takes precedence over everything else in our lives. Our desire to succeed professionally can push us to set aside our own well-being. I had to accept that there is no ‘perfect’ work-life balance and make a conscience effort to let go of perfectionism, set boundaries, and unplug at times.
Dr. Judy Nisbett: Finding balance in a demanding career is difficult. It involves setting boundaries and not letting work consume you no matter how deep your passion for it; making a conscious effort to carve out time for self and family, and not allowing anyone and anything else into that “space” during that time.
Ruby Garcia: Being mindful of my priorities and planning time wisely is key to creating a work-life balance. Otherwise, work will be non-stop if I allow it to be!
What challenges do you think women face in business and leadership, and how can they overcome these?
Camara Lee-Prentice: Being exposed to many areas of business and leadership, it is my opinion that some women still experience challenges in being taken seriously, even when they are seated “at the table.” In recent years, we have seen more women promoted to top positions throughout the Caribbean, however, we still see or experience the lack of support in the decision-making process and execution of strategic mandates. To women who continue to face such challenges – I encourage you to rise up, keep your head above the water and continue to positively push for what you believe in. Transformational leadership is critical, especially in a challenging environment.
Anouska Anslyn: Women wanting to fit in instead of standing out is a big challenge – women shouldn’t compare themselves or compete to try and be like others. Instead, they should be different, be her, be bold, and be true.
Dr. Judy Nisbett: The ever-old story of women entering a male dominated world and the disparities in commensuration, recognition and the like are still major challenges confronted by women in leadership. Added to this are barriers to garnering the full support of likeminded colleagues and employees at every level of the organization. The glass ceiling has already been cracked and so women in leadership must exude confidence, strength and knowledge in every aspect of the leadership game.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Ruby Garcia: Be confident in yourself, and insist on being heard – particularly when it is for a good cause. Do not let anything or anyone stop you from being heard. Especially during these uncertain times, resilience is crucial to persevere and do business with integrity. Women have grace and combined with leadership skills they can certainly reach their maximum potential. Believe in your abilities and capabilities. Know that there are many of us successful female leaders out there – let us inspire you as you can be the next one.
Dr. Judy Nisbett: My advice is simple: ground yourself in education, training and continuous development; constantly find opportunities to gain new knowledge…build and utilize strategic alliances …empower yourself to stay on top of your game while remaining humble. Always remember that one can lead from anywhere and not only from the top. Always, always believe in yourself. When adversity strikes and you fail at anything, get up with the resolution to rise higher and be stronger using the lessons learnt from your experience. Every experience has a teachable moment.
Camara Lee-Prentice: If you believe it, you can achieve it! Continue to work on mastering your craft, break barriers and manage your brand both personally and professionally! Seek out a mentor who can influence you positively to grow and develop as a leader. You will not always be right, but at the same time, know when to defend your cause. As stated by Franklin Covey, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood!”