Maxine Brown - Truly A Woman of Excellence
Giving selfless service is one thing that Maxine Brown would love to teach the youth - something she was taught at an early age by her parents who never wavered when it was time to give a helping hand to those in need.
She remembered as a child, her father, Mordan Brown, who was a member of the St John's Brigade, taking her to Up Park Camp, where he volunteered his first-aid services. Brown always noticed how her parents tried to help other children from her neighbourhood, packing them into the family car or giving them lunch money when they didn't have any.
"They were always ready and willing to give a helping hand," recalls Brown.
This helping spirit flows through Brown's veins, and throughout her life, she has given back to numerous institutions, including her alma mater, Alpha Academy, having served as president of the Alumnae Association from 2010 to 2012.
For those who know her, it comes as no surprise that she received the 2015 Woman of Excellence award for Convent of Mercy (Alpha Academy) High School.
Every year during Foundation Month (May), an exemplary past student is recognised for her accomplishments and rewarded during their annual banquet. Brown's humanitarianism, as well as her accomplishments in the field of public relations, qualified her for this year's award.
Brown told Outlook that she never thought she would have received the award; she never considered it. She said, everything she did, she did it just because she wanted to and not with any reward in mind.
When she was told that she was the chosen one for 2015, she was dumbfounded and, most of all, honoured.
But this is not the first award for free-spirited Brown. She always had an interest in the arts and, over the years, has received a few awards for what she considers her hobby.
In 2007, she received a gold medal and Special Writers Prize from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission for creative writing. Over the years, she has also won two bronze medals and certificates of merit for her pieces. She would like to see her stories in a collection of works or in play format, but she has never considered going into writing full-time. For her, it's therapy, and she told Outlook she would like to keep it like that. Plus, she has no plans on giving up the sensual relationship she has with public relations.
Sometimes the best things that come into your life are not what you were actually looking for, but rather something that comes to you, consuming you in the process and filling you with joy. This was what happened with Brown and public relations. She started at the first public-relations firm in Jamaica - Public Relations Associates - as a receptionist.
"I really did not go in with an interest in public relations. I needed a job and I started out there as a receptionist," Brown admitted.
However, like a whirlwind, she was caught up in the atmosphere, and worked her way up to accounting executive, before moving on to Berl Francis & Company. What captivated and kept her in love with the field for 35 years is how dynamic it is.
"The field is very dynamic. I like how you can change the image and perception of a company and how you can also build the same," states Brown.
She was a part of several popular campaigns, including the Tastee Talent Trail, an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, and an influential part of launching the first Sigma 5K Run.
While she is in love with her job, like any relationship, there are times when there are stumbling blocks. One of hers was a small boat.
"We were going to look on a property for a client, and we could only get there by boat. If you saw the little boat that we had to go on! I did not want to go. I broke out in my Patois in front of the client, forgetting they were there because I was just so afraid," she recalls with laughter - but she made it.
Now a freelancer, Brown has no plans of slowing down, she has no regrets and plans to keep with the field she loves.