UWI's Western Ja Campus Ambassadors
Twelve members of western Jamaica's business community have been appointed to the University of the West Indies, Mona - Western Jamaica Campus's (WJC) Ambassadorial Corps.
The 12 boast a track record of commendable contribution to nation building. They are: Paula Kerr-Jarrett, developer and attorney-at-law; Gloria Henry, president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Richard Ferdinand, tennis pro and guest services director at Tryall; David Hall, head of VIP Attractions; Wayne Cummings, director of Sandals Resorts International; Kathyrn Pinto May of Artsmiths Interiors; Laura Mazabel of Solo Jamaica; Kerry-Ann Quallo-Casserly of Royalton White Sands; Sitara English-Byfield of MBJ Airports; Rajesh Kripalani; Richard Bourke, managing director of AMSTAR; and John Byles of Chukka Caribbean Adventures.
These ambassadors are tasked to advocate for the UWI Mona - WJC as the preferred choice for education, professional development, and producing workplace-ready graduates. They will, among other things, conduct lectures and workshops, lead delegations, and make critical interventions on behalf of the campus.
According to acting campus director, Patrick Prendergast: "The primary objective is to help the campus advance its economic, social, and cultural significance to the development of Western Jamaica."
The Ambassadorial Corps, evolved from a student initiative led by noted Montego Bay journalist and philanthropist Janet Silvera. The new ambassadors have joined the ranks of the first cohorts which included: Adam Stewart, Yoni Epstein, Fred Smith, Dr Barbara Salmon-Grandison, Hope Markes, Everton Anderson, Howard Ward and Ernest Grant, who were among the first group appointed in 2013.
Today, we introduce these individuals who practise what they preach in making a contribution to nation-building.
Kathryn Pinto May
Kathryn Pinto May was born at her grandparents' home overlooking the city of Montego Bay in St James, on the site which is now the University of the West Indies Western Campus. So it is only fitting that the second of three children for Patricia Pinto (nee Hart) and Geoffrey Pinto is now representing the university as one of its ambassadors.
After completing studies at The Queen's School in St Andrew, Pinto left Jamaica to study design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Her first job was at Ralph Lauren Women's Wear, in New York, which involved her working at the sample cutting table. She was later instrumental in developing the designer's swimwear line. Two years later, she was hired by Calvin Klein, where she was responsible for sample production for the four annual seasonal presentations.
Pinto May continued working at the firm for seven years, moving from the sample room to working closely with the designer, managing the studio for his premium collection and liaising with the president of the firm over line development.
In 1993, she returned to Jamaica where she was hired to create a uniform programme for the Sandals group's expanding international resort brand.
Upon successfully completing the mission, the chairman invited Pinto May to work in the company's project office where a team of architects, interior designers, project managers and engineers constantly design and complete upgrades for properties in the Caribbean.
In 1996, Pinto left to establish her own firm - Artsmiths Interiors. An early client of hers was Margaritaville in Montego Bay. Artsmiths was integral to the development of Margaritaville's expansion into Montego Bay airport and across the Caribbean. Other notable projects include the redevelopment of world-famous Doctor's Cave Bathing Club in conjunction with architect Clifton Yap, and the total rebuilding of Rick's CafÈ in Negril. More recently, the firm was contracted to develop a concept for track legend Usain Bolt. The result is a dynamic restaurant, bar, retail and entertainment complex that capitalises on brand Jamaica in the specific areas where the nation excels - music and sports. Artsmiths is currently involved in the process of franchising the concept internationally.
She noted that the ambassadorial programme is a "coming of age for Montego Bay to have UWI Mona WJC, a hotbed of intellect and creativity, in our city."
As ambassadors for the university, it is our place to offer the students real time learning from the working world along with connections to scholarships, internships and job prospects. In return, the role provides an opportunity for us to integrate the business people of the West with the dynamic activities of the campus and the bright thinkers that represent the future of our nation."
Gloria Henry is president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry - the second female to have served in that position in the organisation's 84-year history.
She is currently employed by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) as assistant vice-president of operations and customer relations, at the Montego Bay Free Zone. Since joining the staff at the free zone in 2004, she has spearheaded the transition from a manufacturing industrial estate into an ICT-focused enclave, supporting the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. Prior to joining PAJ, Henry worked for 11 years in various capacities with the Development Bank of Jamaica.
Henry has an executive master's degree in business administration from the Commonwealth Organisation of Learning/UCC; a bachelor of science degree in management from Nova South eastern University; and a certificate in project management from the Mona School of Business; and formal training in occupational health and safety standards by the world renowned Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). She is also a trained securities dealer and project manager.
A Rotarian, Henry is guided by the organisation's motto - service above self. She enjoys travelling, listening to classical music, making motivational speeches, and hiking.
Henry tells Outlook, "The ambassador programme is an excellent opportunity to have dialogue with the university stakeholders and other community decision makers to ensure that the UWI-WJC is meeting the needs of the community and likewise that the community is building capacity to provide employment for the university graduates. It will give me an opportunity to expand the relationship that the Free Zone community and the BPO industry currently has with the WJC. It will also provide a medium for meaningful exchange of ideas and contribution to the development of relevant and timely industry-specific training opportunities and curriculum that will support the human capital in this region."
Paula Kerr-Jarrett started her education at Immaculate Preparatory School and later Immaculate High School.
She completed high school in the United Kingdom, studying law and politics at the University of London. She later returned to Jamaica and attended the Norman Manley Law School, where she completed her qualifications to become an attorney-at-law.
Over the years, she has grown to recognise the tremendous assets that Jamaica has to offer, and her primary passion has been to help develop and establish Jamaica as one of the most highly sought after locations to live and work. In pursuit of this goal, she has become something of a 'social entrepreneur' - networking with various business and government organisations in order to create a synergy of ideas that advance the prospects of Jamaicans from all levels of society.
This role has her involved in many projects with religious, charitable, and educational organisations. Her role has been both in the capacity of fund raising as well as heightening the awareness of various sections of the community to the needs of the less-educated and less-privileged. Put in a nutshell, her goal is 'fair opportunity for all'. This is because she has a strong belief that "your past should not determine your future, nor should your address or social background predetermine your potential prospects".
She is a director of the Barnett Group of Companies, and has also served as a director on the TEF and JAMPRO boards, and is currently serving on the board of Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship (and founding member) and We Care for Cornwall Regional Hospital.
David Hall is Irish by birth and Jamaican by adoption. He received his Jamaican citizenship in 2010. A graduate of Dublin City University, Hall is a chartered accountant, and also holds a master's degree in economics from University College, Cork.
He has held many key positions with international companies, but is probably best known from his days at Digicel which he joined in 2002 as finance director, before being promoted to CEO for Jamaica in October 2003. His mandate was to oversee the growth of Digicel's business in Jamaica, where he increased the customer base by more than 1.5 million to two million.
As CEO, he immersed himself in corporate social responsibility efforts, serving on several boards, including Jamaica Trade and Invest (JAMPRO), Central Information Technology Organisation (CITO), the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC).
He is currently a member of the board of the Spanish-Jamaican Foundation, and chairman of Richard Branson's Virgin Airlines Caribbean Foundation.
Hall has a number of business interests in Jamaica. In April 2011, he launched VIP Attractions at the Sangster International Airport, in Montego Bay, and the Norman Manley International Airport, in Kingston. Under the brands of Club MoBay and Club Kingston, VIP Attractions has created the first VIP cultural lounges anywhere in the world, showcasing the incredible offerings that Jamaica has available.
In 2015, Club MoBay was voted Best Airport Lounge in the Caribbean and the America's at the World Travel Awards, while Club Kingston was named by Priority Pass, as the Best Airport Lounge in the World out of more than 700 competition entrants.
Sitara English-Byfield joined MBJ Airports Limited as a business analyst in 2003 and would later become manager of financial planning and economic control. She holds a bachelor of science degree in accounting and economics, and a master of science degree in economics, both from the University of the West Indies, Mona campus.
With more than 12 years of experience in the airport industry, English-Byfield has proven her skills in managing, producing and analysing costs from all departments, in addition to growing revenues.
She has a reputation for delivering inventive business strategies and client-focused solutions to improve financial margins.
While at university, English-Byfield was an assistant lecturer of managerial economics. She was also a tutor of micro- and macro-economics, and is currently an employer trustee on the board of the MBJ Superannuation (Pension) Fund.
She is a member of the Calvary Baptist Church and its finance committee, and has been happily married to Bjorn Byfield for almost six years. They have a four-year-old son, Caleb, who is currently learning French and Spanish as part of his pre-school curriculum.
With a keen eye for detail and a practical and pragmatic approach to business development and growth, John Byles is a leader whose capacity to effect change is commendable. A graduate of the Florida International University, with a degree in business administration, Byles has crossed boundaries in several fields of business and has been a catalyst for growth in companies across the island.
He has made exceptional strides in his career, including at Chukka Caribbean Adventures where he has worked for the past 15 years. He is CEO of the group, and as a leader has shown tremendous value with his focus on strategic development, sales and marketing and site development.
His dedication to Chukka is enhanced by his commitment to community and family. He is a member boards of several companies, including Tropical Battery, Billy Craig Insurance Brokers, and Cargo Handlers Limited. Even with all of this, he still makes time to fulfill his passion for polo and remains committed to his three children.
Richrad Bourke is a veteran of the hospitality sector, having spent the past 30 years managing a range of properties in the All-inclusive and European Plan (EP) formats in the Caribbean.
His experience spans the opening of new and refurbished hotels in Jamaica and CuraÁao, and he has also managed two strata properties - Point Village Resort in Negril, and Comfort Suites' Crane Ridge Resort in Ocho Rios.
Bourke, who holds a master's degree in hospitality administration from the Western Hospitality Institute, moved up in the ranks of the tourism industry. He has served on the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association's national executive council, and was the area chapter chairman of the Montego Bay Chapter for two years. He is a former president of the Trelawny Chamber of Commerce, president of Skal Club and a former member of the gourmet food and wine organisation, Chaine Des Rotisseurs.
Bourke is currently managing director of Amstar, a Destination Management Company. He is a lover of deep-sea fishing, and spends his past-time sailing, playing squash, and growing orchids.