Sat | Jul 20, 2019

VMBS UK celebrates women of purpose

Published:Friday | July 5, 2019 | 12:19 AM

Victoria Mutual Building Society’s (VMBS) United Kingdom Overseas Representative Office last Saturday hosted a Women of Purpose recognition luncheon at the Victoria Park Plaza Hotel in London, England.

The event, held on the last day of June, which was celebrated as Windrush Month, recognised outstanding women of Jamaican heritage who have made significant contributions to the United Kingdom (UK) and Jamaica.

Among the close to 60 women honoured at the luncheon was newly announced Suffragan Bishop of Dover Rose Hudson-Wilkin, the first black female bishop of the Church of England and a proud daughter of Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Courtney Campbell, Victoria Mutual (VM) Group president and CEO, thanked the women for the work they do to uplift their communities. “I feel particularly honoured to be in the company of so many outstanding women. I am humbled and inspired as I look around this room,” he said.

“I consider the achievements and the impact you have made in different sectors, including healthcare, politics, education, religion, the arts, among others, and I am filled with pride and admiration. Congratulations, ladies, for the immense contribution you have made to your professions, your communities, and to Jamaica. You are examples of Jamaican excellence, and I encourage you to continue to be tireless and unyielding in your efforts to make a positive impact on this world.”

Campbell challenged the women to become involved in mentorship programmes. He said that as times change, women will need even more targeted support to ensure that they have equal opportunities to advance in the workplace.

PAYING IT FORWARD

“Women don’t have access to the same extent as men to networks that help them develop their skills, achieve career progression and transition into new jobs. Some companies are moving ahead on this front, but more needs to be done to create opportunities for women,” he said.

Clover Moore, assistant vice-president, group corporate affairs and communications, who moderated the event, encouraged guests to pay it forward by helping younger women reach their full potential. “As women, we often call for greater access to opportunities for advancement and equality with men. As older women who have achieved success, what are we doing to create these opportunities for younger women?” she asked. “We need to look out for the next generation of women. Let us be for them the mentors and friends we wished we had when we were their age.”

Moore said she had benefited significantly from the guidance of her own mentors – advertising executive Terry Williams and Laraine Harrison, head of human resources at the VM Group – and knew first-hand the value of receiving that kind of support. “I stand here as a testament to their coaching. I know it is my duty to pay if forward.”

While attendees were treated to gifts of appreciation, 12 women of purpose received special awards during the luncheon. They were Josephine Williams (charity); Dr Valentina Collington (medical industry); Paulette Lewis, MBE (medical industry); Dame Karlene Davis, DBE (medical industry); Rose Hudson-Wilkin, QHC (religion); Gloria Leslie (charity); Dahlia Sterling (medical industry); Dr Beverly Lindsay, OBE, OD (charity, entrepreneurship); Marcia McLaughlin (media, entrepreneurship); Diane Abbott, MP (politics); Dona Croll (arts and entertainment); Delores Cooper, OD (community relations).

Many of the awardees were moved to tears as they collected their awards and thanked the Victoria Mutual team for the recognition.