Mon | Aug 20, 2018

Marsha Lee: A woman of strength

Published:Thursday | November 17, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Marsha Lee, acting CEO, Annotto Bay Hospital.


Having spent the past 20 years navigating from the bottom of St Mary's health-care system to the top, the acting chief executive officer (CEO) at Annotto Bay Hospital, Marsha Lee, believes that with motivation, determination, and the support of industrious co-workers, anything is possible.

Lee confessed that as an unworldly teenager from Flint River, near Richmond, St Mary, when she began working as a shorthand typist at her local hospital in Port Maria, the thought of manoeuvring into a senior management position never once crossed her mind.

"When I started in health care in 1996, I had no ambition to become CEO of a hospital," Lee told Rural Xpress last week. "I was young and just wanted a job, and to be exposed to a more diverse group of people. I went from stenographer to secretary, to a human resource officer, acted as administrator for a short time, and now I'm acting as CEO.

"Initially, when I started here, we had fewer Jamaicans in certain positions. There were Burmese and Africans, which gave me an appreciation of people from different cultures and how to work with them. Being the caring person that I am, I think health care was the best place for me. I'm really a human resources-driven, people person who is passionate about the welfare of my employees.

"Being the CEO is a fulfilling role that forces you to think outside of the box. Challenges will always present themselves and certain judgements you make will not always be right. You just have to find alternative ways to deal with [any problems], and in doing so you get to appreciate how teamwork gets things done."

Lee, who will complete a bachelor's degree in human resource management in 2017, describes herself as "a single mother with kids aged 19 and 15 years old", and suggests that a jobless young mom who finds herself raising children alone should always stay focused and follow her dreams.




She explained: "Whatever your dream is, just get out there and go for it because you never know. Make yourself available and marketable, and never let your circumstances or finances get the better of you because nothing is unachievable or unobtainable, the sky's the limit."

Lee told Rural Xpress that taking care of the children, going to work, and leaving to study in Kingston is difficult, but doable.

"I remember coming from school late one night and my vehicle was giving me problems around the Junction. I broke down in Broadgate with no lights, total darkness outside, and a fountain of water coming out of the vehicle. I didn't want to get out and let anybody to see that I was a lone female on the road.

"I got home about three o'clock in the morning and remember thinking: 'That was an experience for me to take away and embrace, nothing comes easy'. These are some of the things you encounter in life, if you want to achieve. But just remember, irrespective of what happens, there is always light at the end of the tunnel."