Tue | Sep 18, 2018

Janice McIntosh-Batting Hard

Published:Monday | June 8, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Janice McIntosh (centre) poses with John Beckford, chief of staff, Office of the County Commissioner, and Hazelle Rodgers, after copping the top award from a field of 11 outstanding women as Lauderhill Regional Chamber of Commerce 2014 Business Woman of the Year.
DOWNTIME: A game of catch with daughters Jessica and Jenna is the perfect way to unwind after a busy week.
Janice prepares her best swing. She was a hard hitting player until injury forced an early retirement from the game.

To have a day declared in your honour is no ordinary feat. So when February 4, 2012 was proclaimed 'Janice McIntosh and Jamaica National Appreciation Day', in Broward County, Florida, in the United States of America, McIntosh was justifiably proud.

Jamaica National's chief representative officer, McIntosh, took over the reins as the guardian of the society's Florida operations in 2010, following five years of distinguished service in the JNBS Corporate office in Kingston, Jamaica, as manager of the sales and promotions teams.

It was a transition that she embraced, and under her watch, the organisation has been propelled further into the cut and thrust of the business community, with high yields.

As busy as the proverbial bee, and just as productive, McIntosh impresses all who know her with her quiet dignity. However, her business partners realise that this should not be mistaken for fragility. Underneath the calm exterior lies a relentless focus on quality results and excellence. "I consistently make my decisions in keeping with what is best for Jamaica National, and what will positively impact the people in the communities I serve," she pointed out. This, she said, has taught her to be confident, consistent, and resolute.

It's an approach her constituents obviously appreciate. Janice is sought after by many local organisations to lend the strength and integrity that accompany her name and that of the company, for direct marketing events such as expos and financial wellness seminars, and for more academic pursuits, such as panel discussions on current affairs.

John Beckford, chief of staff in the Broward County municipal office, was introduced to McIntosh on the first day of her arrival in Florida. Since then, he has maintained a close working relationship with the JN family. "The entire Caribbean-American community has benefited from the financial initiatives, support and services driven by Janice and her JNBS team," he remarked, commenting on her intuitiveness in dealing with the community. He added, "When you couple Janice's natural talent with her warm and sincere personality, you get a consummate professional beyond the reproach of her peers."

A proud product of Immaculate Conception High School, McIntosh appreciates the Jamaican system of education where inclusiveness, respect and excellence are emphasised. She recalls her high-school days as some of her best years, as her well-known, jovial and friendly demeanour made her a sought-after mediator and counsellor during conflicts.

mature outlook

Her mature outlook was no doubt one of the features which compelled her husband, Peter, to pop the question at the turn of the millennium.

"We got married at Laughing Waters in St Ann," she reminisced. "I still consider it one of the most breathtaking places in Jamaica, not just for its beauty and serenity, but also for the hospitality that is so representative of the Jamaican culture."

She affirms her two children - Jessica and Jenna - as the best gifts she has received, and some of her favourite moments are those spent with them at the movies, on the beach, or just simply hanging out.

And as a mother of two girls, she has very strong views about the perception of women in society. "Jamaica, in general, and Jamaica National, in particular, both have excellent track records in their employment and retention of women at high levels," she notes. However, she laments that globally, many women who could make an impact are prevented from doing so because of cultural norms, and sometimes ignorance.

With this in mind, she offers some of her top business tips for aspiring young women. "If you want to stand out in business, think strategically. Lay out your plans, differentiate yourself from the rest and constantly redefine the roles you play," she counsels.

This outlook has distinguished her among other women in her field, and earned her much recognition, such as the LRCC Business Woman of the Year 2014, for her contribution to the community, bolstering the fact that it is not only in business that McIntosh excels, but also in community service. Despite the demands of her job and her young family, she extends her seemingly limitless energy and creativity to key roles in several service organisations. These include serving as president of the Florida Chapter for the Immaculate Conception High School Alumnae Association, and director of the Jamaica/USA Chamber of Commerce.

She is also a founding member of the Jamaica Women of Florida Association, and is involved in leadership roles at Christ the Rock Community Church.

building communities

She encourages Jamaicans in the diaspora to lend their services and talent to building their communities. "Getting involved in local government is a great way to raise the profile of the community and to make a positive impact. We do have impressive Jamaican representation here, but there is room for more people to stand up and be counted," she urged.

But with all she has going on, McIntosh knows when to recharge, and in her down time she steals away to the beach with a novel, or curls up with reruns of her favourite movie, The Matrix trilogy.

McIntosh also nurtures a keen interest in sports, and revealed that she was part of a women's baseball team before a knee injury laid her sporting exploits to rest. With twinkling eyes she warned, "My business associates should know that I was always regarded as a very hard hitter!"

challenges to come

And, as JNBS is positioned for even deeper integration into the Florida business community, McIntosh is more than prepared for the challenges to come.

"JN is here for the long haul. We have a high success rate in carving out our niche, both at home and in the diaspora, as the best organisation with which to do business."

Then, with her characteristic firmness, she underscored, "The Florida team and I are committed to flying the Jamaica National and Jamaican flags high. We will continue to exceed the expectations of our members and friends in the Florida community."

Well done Janice.