Wed | Aug 23, 2017

International Women, Jamaica! - A Melting Pot of Talented Women

Published:Sunday | October 23, 2016 | 10:00 AMJody-Anne Lawrence
Engrossed in a very animated conversation are from left: Sheryn Hylton Parker and Yoga instructor Alyssa van der Ree and Bertina Macaulay.
Attorney-at-law Rose Bennett-Cooper (left) seems to be entertained by the vibrant Sharon Martini.
Mico Teacher's College's Sharon Wolfe (left) and Artist Pat Kentish-Skeete pause their conversation to share a smile with our camera.
Head of the University of the West Indies Alumni, Cecile Clayton (left) has a chat with tutor and farmer, Lisa Gordon at the International Women Jamaica launch.
From left: Sheryn Hylton Parker, Halima Khant - wife of the Deputy chief of mission at the United States Embassy and Christene King, kept of chic in white.
Bertina Macaulay from Sierra Leone who has adopted Jamaica as her second home poses in her beautiful African print dress for the camera.
From left: President of the American Women's Group Claudja Barry Alexander and the British High Commission's Lyndsey Kilifin show their support for the International Women, Jamaica.
Former Miss Jamaica World Joan McDonald (left) poses for the camera with Founder of International Women, Jamaica! Sheryn Hylton Parker.
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A diverse group of beautiful, creative and talented women came together for the launch of International Women, Jamaica, at Villa Ronai on Thursday, October 13.

It's a haven for global nomads to become integrated into the Jamaican way of life. Villa Ronai was filled with an amazing melting pot of women. Artists, real-estate brokers, archive specialists and yoga instructors, came together for one purpose - to mingle.

According to the group's founder Sheryn Hylton Parker, having travelled extensively with her husband, who was a diplomat, it was a bit difficult getting reintegrated into Jamaican society when she returned home two years ago. She believed that if it was difficult for her who felt such kinship with her Jamaican folk, there must be others who felt the same.

This group is to be a catalyst for the women's reintegration or integration into the Jamaican culture. She believes that if she had an outlet such as this, it would have been helpful to her - it is all about helping each other as women. Her hope is that the group will evolve into assisting some of the numerous charities across the island.

After Parker's introduction, Sheila Graham executive/artistic director at Area Youth Foundation and adjunct lecturer, School of Drama at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts, spoke about getting along with Jamaicans. She noted that being assertive is crucial as well as knowing how to make a joke out of awkward situations. But one of the most important factors was to give people a chance - have an open mind. She noted that she has worked with inner-city youth and has never suffered any misfortune at their hands. She admitted that we are an old testament nation - more of an eye for an eye people rather than a turn the other cheek.

There was a short question and answer segment to end the formalities and the women returned to sharing their own stories, hope to help each other feel at home in Jamaica. Here are the highlights.