Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Craig Williams - man with a plan

Published:Monday | August 29, 2016 | 8:00 AMRandy Bowman

When it comes to serious business, Craig R. Williams is the man to know. Currently the Group Research Analyst at Seprod, the 37-year-old manages the corporate communications and digital marketing for Seprod's 18 consumer brands. But he wasn't always this 'responsible'.

A man born under the clock, his childhood was that of the average Jamaican boy. In short, adventurous, supportive, and instructive.

As a student of Kingston College (KC), Williams was interested in only three things, maths, sleep, and reading Superman comics that has paved the way for the creative solutions and logical thinking he has to do on a regular basis. As for those regular naps, he dreamt of one day becoming the governor of Bank of Jamaica (BOJ).

KC, he shared "was the best seven years of my life. The boys there helped to mould and shape me into the person I am today". Outside of home, Williams found a brotherhood that showed him it was OK to be himself and would often protect him like big brothers. And for the clumsy bookworm, he was grateful.

By sixth form, Williams had traded in his comics for articles written by Jamaica Tourist Board's Dennis Morrison and was confident more than ever that he wanted to become a director of JTB if not the governor of BOJ.

A firm believer of making a plan and sticking to it thanks to his parents, by the time of he went to University of the West Indies, he was a very focused individual. He subsequently became the holder of a bachelor of science degree in economics and got settled. One degree down, on to the next, as his prestigious posts required a master's. He began the master's programme in economics, but later took a leave of absence as his immediate family decided to migrate.

 

DECISION TO STAY

 

He didn't wait to leave this beautiful island he calls home and so he decided to use his 12 weeks of summer to explore and cement his decision to stay. With his tuna sandwich and water, Williams drove around the island looking for the 'unbeaten paths'. By the eighth week, he saw an ad in the paper for a statistician at JTB whose chairman was Dennis Morrison. He thought this was his chance to get in and work his way to the top. He applied and was successful. Time to update his plan.

He developed in the five years, 4As - advertising, attraction, accommodation, and airlift negotiations.

With the economic master's still on hold, he switched to international relations at Mona School of Business. Over the next five years, Williams succeeded by applying the fundamentals of his schooling and on-job skillsets. And within a few years, he had left an indelible mark at not just JTB, but Sandals and Airports Authority of Jamaica.

After noticing an inconsistency within the manufacturing industry and knowing the important factors involved - price point, volume, and quality - that became the new focus of his next plan. Once again, he applied himself and is already making significant strides in one of Jamaica's largest manufacturing organisation.

Today, in addition to working closely with Seprod's CEO, Richard Pandohie, he is an active PitchIT Caribbean mentor, MSMB Alumni executive, Jamaica Girls Who Code (MEMBER), and a member of the Brand Strategist Association (Miami and New York) and Harvard Business Review Advisory Council organisations.

He believes, as a lecturer one told him, you only need four to five hours of sleep and as such he is wide awake by 4 a.m. each morning, raring to go. He enjoys working out as that keeps him 'balanced and grounded' and prefers to spend his meal times with family and close friends.

He certainly has his plate full but still makes time to "travel and explore the world (locally and internationally) and always off the beaten path".

He also shared a secret to his success: "I have embraced failure as a critical part of my life and I would like for persons to push themselves to 'failure points in every aspect of their life. Failure is a prime opportunity for growth and development. Additionally, they should not personalise failure."

randy.bowman@gleanerjm.com