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Angella Grandison-Reid Continues A Creative Legacy

Published:Wednesday | May 20, 2015 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill
Mazie Miller is not passing on the traditional baton, but she is handing over a miniature mortar and pestle to her successor, Angella Grandison-Reid.

Angella Grandison-Reid, consumer services manager at GraceKennedy, is the successor to the affable Maizie Miller, who retired from the company in March. A trained teacher, Grandison-Reid joined the GraceKennedy Group as promotions coordinator in 2006, and within one year, she was appointed as the promotions manager and a trainee manager for the Consumer Services Division, the post Miller recently vacated.

However, Grandison-Reid's thirst for excellence began in her early years as a student at Clarendon College. She was known as a hard-working student, and her teachers, seeing her potential, encouraged her to pursue her dreams.

"I was always outpacing the other students, and as a result, the teacher's called on me often. I even managed to outdo myself at times," Grandison-Reid said.

It could be said her journey with GraceKennedy began when she was 19 years old. In her second year at the College of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST), now the University of Technology (UTech), she received a scholarship from GraceKennedy while pursuing studies in Institutional and Catering Management.

Not to be outdone, Grandison-Reid also attended the Mico Teachers' College, where it was further affirmed that she was destined for greatness.

"I received 13 A's for my courses, including one in teaching practice. It was such an accomplishment that 13 persons came to see me teach in the final practice," she said.

Life as a teacher

During her teaching career, she taught home economics management and food and nutrition at Vere Technical High School and the Lennon High School in Clarendon. And in her first year of teaching fifth-form students at Lennon, 20 of the 23 students achieved grade one, and five made the top five in the island for two consecutive years.

So successful were her efforts that she was seconded to the Ebony Park Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART) Academy, where her instruction rate exceeded 95 per cent and her trainee pass rate was 99.9 per cent.

"I am from very humble beginnings and I grew up with a grandmother who believed that we could be successful. She was a strict disciplinarian and taught us the value of respect and hard work. We were also taught how to be resourceful - 'tun you hand meck fashion'. We knew the importance of education and how it can make your life better," Grandison-Reid told The Gleaner.

While at Lennon, she was also involved in the Creative Cooking programme, spearheaded by the late Dr Heather Little-White, who was her mentor while she completed her degree programme at university. Not long after that, she joined the GraceKennedy family.

Inspired by the words: "The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upwards through the night," and the added hard work from her team, she was able continue her journey.

Teamwork

"I have quite an effective team and I would not be successful without them. Shereen Codner, Carlene Holness among others, they have been tested but they keep on raising the bar. We have gone from one event directly into another, sometimes doing 17 hours on the road," Grandison-Reid said.

After nine years at GraceKennedy, Grandison-Reid sees her work as fun.

"It is something that I am passionate about. I work hard, so I play hard as well. You have to ensure that, as a leader, you motivate your staff and empower them to make good decisions or your job will seem much harder than it really is," she said.

Since working at GraceKennedy, Grandison-Reid has continued to upgrade herself. As an avid reader, she has participated in numerous developmental programmes including a joint course between the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard University School of Public Health and Nutrition and her Master Degree (MBA) in Business Administration from the Commonwealth of Learning and the University College of the Caribbean.

"To be recognised in your field, you must be competent and you must aspire to learn the management aspect of the business, especially if you want to be a leader. At Grace Kitchens, we work for a cause and not for applause," Grandison-Reid said.

Maizie Miller, who she has succeeded, had nothing but kind words for Grandison-Reid.

"We were looking for that person who came to the job with the right attitude, skills and competency. She is a people person who can identify with our consumers. She has a God-given talent, is no pushover and has a innate passion for her job," Miller said.

Grandison-Reid is now going full speed ahead in her role and looks forward to the challenges ahead.

"I was in training for this post for more than nine years. I would not say it's a transition, but a continuation of the legacy and Grace Kitchens is poised for even greater things. Our focus is to see how we can engage young people with activities and innovative product development," Grandison-Reid said.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com