From Corn Piece to California - Clarendon daughter now assistant treasurer of Obama's party
A Jamaican woman, Lorna Johnson, from Corn Piece, Clarendon, is the new assistant treasurer of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in the United States.
The DNC is the formal governing body for the United States Democratic Party, which had Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on its ticket for the last two presidential elections.
Johnson, a former track star, who was appointed by President Obama to his advisory committee for the performing arts at the Kennedy Centre in 2014, has had a meteoric rise and now says that her focus will be ensuring that the DNC is fiscally responsible, with special focus on taking care of people at the grass roots.
As a nurse midwife, nurse practitioner, Johnson is the founding partner, administrative director, and chief financial officer of the Advanced Family Care Medical Group, a multiservice practice in women's, paediatric, and family medicine.
Founded in 1995, Advanced Family Care Medical Group is an inner-city medical clinic that provides critical services to thousands of families in the underserved communities of the Los Angeles area. In entrepreneurship, Johnson is a real-estate investor and has served as president of the local chamber of commerce in LA.
Developing a successful practice was a long, tough journey for Johnson who, after graduating as a nurse in Canada, left for the US with US$100 in her purse. Her persistence and determination to become a health-care advocate enabled her to achieve her childhood dream.
It is the same zest that she is taking to her new role, having already made her mark in the Democratic National Party as one of the top fundraisers and advocate.
The former Hayes Primary School student, who spent one year at Vere Technical before migrating to Canada, also served on the National Finance Committee for Obama and was a surrogate for Hillary Clinton's campaign.
She helped to raise close to US$1 million for Clinton and US$2 million for President Obama, respectively, a role she played by targeting Democrats overseas.
"I did this in collaboration with a team that included actor George Clooney, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, and designers Anna Wintour and Tom Ford," said Johnson with pride.
According to Johnson, working with the party has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences of her life.
"I was considered an outsider before," she reminisced. However, with Tom Perez, leader of the DNC, creating this position, specifically for her, she feels that she must have been doing something right.
In her new role, she will travel nationally, inspiring others to support the party. Johnson's plan is to replicate the success she has had in her business ventures.
The same way that Johnson has directed the growth of her companies, is the same way she plans to have an impact on her new position.
The 1988 Olympic qualifier, who ran the fastest at the National Stadium in Kingston, said that over the years, as a Jamaican, for her, the sky is no limit. "That's how I was raised."
That positive attitude comes as no surprise. Johnson grew up in Corn Piece, where the people around her were progressive farmers. Her mom was a poultry farmer and successful businesswoman.
"She burnt coal and she was one of the first women in the community to have a car, which was the community taxi, ambulance, you name it."
Johnson does not believe in going halfway with anything. Achieving great heights is in her DNA, and she will remain at the top of her game.