A journey that inspires
M. Audrey Stewart-Hinchcliffe’s new book, titled The Will To Overcome – Reflections on Circumstance, Vision, Service, is a groundbreaking and timely entrant into the field of public health, given its publication at the height of Jamaica’s battle with coronavirus pandemic. It also forms part of a yearlong 30th anniversary celebration of the Manpower & Maintenance Services journey.
The author, who is an international health management specialist, skilfully weaves her reservoir of challenges and triumphs that punctuate her life’s work into a narrative that is easily understood and mirrors that of many of her peers in business globally. It is written in her characteristic conversational style and is easy to read and understand.
Hinchcliffe, founder of Manpower & Maintenance Services Limited, has devoted her life to healthcare, starting out as a registered nurse before branching into public health, health administration, and finally taking up the mantle in ensuring that hospitals and business entities operate within environments which offer the highest standards of health.
Like many other business leaders at the zenith of their career, Hinchcliffe has, over the years, been asked to present papers, address conferences and seminars, as well as deliver the main address for significant occasions such as graduations. Her speeches have been a source of inspiration and motivation to many, and some of them form the primary ingredients of this book.
Hinchcliffe survived poverty and beat the odds to attain first-rate educational qualifications, both in Jamaica and the United States of America. These include a Certificate in Health Economics, Bachelor of Arts in Community Health and a Master of Science in Health Administration.
EVOLVE INTO LEADERS
She uses some of her speeches to show the reader how, through perseverance, they, too, can evolve into tomorrow’s leaders ... especially if they are women.
The book is set out in six parts and each is like a roadmap, from visionary Leadership to Perspectives in Leadership all the way through to Women, Entrepreneurship and National Development and Personal Growth, Self-discipline and Maturity. The chapters are interspersed with some known and unknown anecdotes for contextual illustration, and strategically positioned photographs of the author, her family and colleagues that show her progression from her early nursing career to the present.
There are many lessons to take away from this book. The first and foremost is that, like the author, women need a strength of character, confidence and boldness of spirit to make it in business. Firm spiritual grounding and a constant desire to learn more are also stressed. Readers will learn how to seize opportunities out of crises; how belief in your business idea can lead to wealth creation and that continuous reading, learning and reinventing of self will help in the success journey.
I found Chapter 14 particularly timely – given the current kerfuffle over the Government’s granting of a permit to mine sections of the Cockpit Country. It was almost like sounding yet another warning for Jamaicans to preserve the environment so as to guarantee environmental justice for future generations. But this book is also definitely recommended reading for players in the health sector, with all its technocrats and bureaucrats who are wont to forget the true meaning of their calling.
Chapter 21, which focuses on the role of libraries in promoting research and development, is another reminder that, while one cannot discount the value of a good book, libraries like all other institutions in a developing society, must ‘wheel and come again’. Hinchcliffe posits that libraries must now enter the era of providing present and future entrepreneurs with tools such as business data, history and analysis that will eliminate the pitfalls which often beset them.
I recommend this book for its carefully documented and practical insights that set out how to (or not), attain business success. Hinchcliffe does not sugar-coat the facts. She lays them bare, sleepless nights and all; but she also shows that, with grit and determination, you, too, will overcome.