The fruits of her labour
Brenda-Lee Martin defines success as being happy with yourself right where you are now in life - setting goals and milestones and working towards them. "However, the important thing is learning as you go along your journey, even if the goals are not met in the way you planned it," Martin told Flair.
Martin currently enjoys her success as the head of the Asset Management department at Sagicor, where she oversees the assets that the company's manages on behalf of their clients - pension funds and managing pension investment client relationships, the Sagicor Sigma Funds and Sagicor Property Services which is involved in property management as well as property sales, rental and leasing.
Being one of the fortunate one, Martin landed a job right after graduating with her first degree in Economics and Management from the University of the West Indies (Mona). "I got the job through my very good friend whose mother was working here at the time. She told me of the opportunity and I submitted my resume," Martin recalled.
Martin told Flair that she joined the then Life of Jamaica team, in December 1992. She worked as a Life Insurance underwriter, where her job was to do medical, financial and lifestyle assessments of persons who applied for life insurance. While working she read for her Master degree in Finance at the University of Wales/Manchester Business School. After she completed her degree in 2000, she was able to make the transition to the Investments Division.
Martina told Flair that the two and half year course wasn't easy but it was worth it. "It was both a costly and time consuming venture which required strict financial planning to fund your payment each semester, as well as good time management to balance work and study," Martin explained.
Though challenging, Martin said she put her mind to it and remained focused. "After doing five semesters and utilising all my vacation for study, I really needed a break before doing my dissertation and it was the hardest thing to get back into it," she noted.
But with the support of family and friends Martin said she was successful. "My mother was very encouraging and she really gave me the push to get back into it. Additionally, I had an excellent mentor at Sagicor, Ravi Rambarran, who I approached for help despite the intimidating things that I heard about him at the time. He provided invaluable assistance and really pushed me as well to complete," Martin shared.
Martin is the last of four siblings which all grew up with their parents whom she notes taught her the discipline of hard work, the need for order and routine, and the value of reward from one's own effort. "Living with a large family has also taught me the value of give and take," Martin told Flair.
Martin grew up in rural St Catherine and as a result she is a part of a very close knit family unit and understands the value and need for quiet time and peace. It has also given her a love for animals and open spaces.
Martin moved to Kingston in the latter part of her high school years at Immaculate Conception High School, where she discovered that she worked very well with disciplines that are math-based. "I understand how my current career, assisting persons with wealth creation and financial planning often translates to peace, security and comfort for individuals and families," Martin explained.
Martin explained that as a child she was always very shy. "I would be the one to listen, observe and take it all in when outside of my comfort zone," she pointed out.
"However, I have found that my working experience has helped me to overcome this, and I have grown tremendously in areas of my personal development," Martin added.
Even though it has been eight years since her father died, Martin still cherishes the fond memories they have shared. "I remember we would have music playing throughout the house every single day. As a result I am an avid music lover across all genres and eras and from time to time I still get together with my siblings and play those LP's. Music is a very important part of my life," she confessed.
Martin encouraged those who have lost their way to view a loss of focus on your life's goals as a short term challenge on life's journey, and you can rise above it. "You will need to do some introspection, analyse your mistakes, learn from them, as well as seek guidance from persons who are close to you."