Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Ingrid Christian-Baker: Dream Big

Published:Monday | May 9, 2016 | 5:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence
Ingrid Christian-Baker a champion in her own right.
Ingrid Christian-Baker with her always ready charming smile.
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Once, in the small district of Inverness, St Ann, was a little girl with big dreams. Today, Ingrid Christian-Baker can say her dreams have come true as she is now the general manager of Jamaica Private Power Company.

In a recent interview with Flair Magazine, Christian-Baker recalled how much fun her childhood was. Inverness is a small farming community, so the outdoors were fundamental to her childhood - playing with friends and attempting to climb trees. She, however, admitted that she was not much of a climber.

"If you were not able to climb or attempt to, then your friends who could get way up enough to the fruits wouldn't share. So, I would get to the lowest branch and stop," she said, laughing.

She always had big dreams. She once wanted to become an air hostess as she was attracted to the idea of being able to travel the world. She then thought of becoming a fashion designer as she used to design her cousin's outfits. Then, she felt like she wanted to become a lawyer, but later changed her mind.

After completing her A Levels, she started working as she was not able to afford university. She was advised to do some courses with the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA), which she started shortly after joining the Telecommunications of Jamaica (TOJ) family.

She then moved on to the Sugar Company of Jamaica where she started out in finance and later became the company's financial controller.

But the highlight of her professional life came when she began working at Jamaica Private Power Company. She started out as business and administrative manager, a position she held for four years. before being asked to have a dinner meeting with the heads of the company. Her first thought was that she had done something wrong - but she couldn't think of any mistake she had made. Christian-Baker never envisioned that she would be offered the position of general manager.

That night she was excited. It was overwhelming as she had thought that the position would have gone to someone from the head office. Her work, however, spoke for itself and her bosses were watching.

But Christian-Baker was not only about work. While she moved up in her career, she ensured that she was qualified achieving her accounting and chartered accounting accreditation courtesy of the ACCA and a master's degree in business administration, international business.

She married Newton Baker, whom she had met while working at TOJ. She recalled the day they met in the lunch room. She was eating alone when he came over and sat beside her. He was a trainer for another department. It was his first day and he was nervous. They chatted for a bit and there was something about him that left a mark on her. However, she never thought then that the quiet, handsome trainer would later turn out to be her husband.

They now have two sons, Tyrell and Dylan. Her family life has always been as important as her career. While it is difficult to balance the two, she makes it her point of duty to make the time for her family a feat she achieves with the support of her coworkers and her husband whom she describes as her 'backbone at home'.

Spending time with her children is crucial, and most importantly - without any technological distractions.

"I like to go to the beach with them. Seeing them play just, watching them is a good feeling," she told Flair.

"I also like to take long drives with them. That is when it is a little harder to pry them from the games, especially because the car has a television. But I usually turn it off. I tell them to look outside and point out landmarks, and they get into it," she said.

She does manage to squeeze in a little personal time on occasion to attend to her plants, an activity she finds extremely relaxing.

Through it all, she has learnt that education is key and advised: "Everything that I achieved was through education. Get it as early as you can and when you land that dream job, put your best foot forward to achieve your potential."