Sharon Williams: Superwoman of Service!
For more than 20 years, Sharon D. Williams has based her life on one sweeping philosophy: service excellence. It's a key tenet that defines both her personal and professional experiences.
A career banker since 1994, Williams's impressive resume reads like a road map for professional success at the National Commercial Bank (NCB) from teller to personal banker to stints as manager of both the Private Banking Centre and the New Kingston branch.
Williams currently holds the position of manager group service delivery at NCB. Under her leadership, the group has twice been awarded the Jamaica Customer Service Association (JaCSA)/PSOJ Service Excellence Award and special recognition in the areas of Reward and Recognition and Talent & Capacity Building.
"I try not to procrastinate," she told Outlook. "If I have something to do, I just do it. Strong execution is a strength that is almost always written on my performance appraisal by my direct supervisor," shared the young servant leader on how she handles her professional responsibilities.
Passion for service
Her passion for service extends to her spare time as many of her evenings and weekends are spent planning for and executing community-building activities as a Kiwanian - now specifically as the newly appointed lieutenant governor of the Division 23 East in Jamaica, which consists of 19 clubs.
As if that isn't enough, Williams is also an active member of the Boulevard Open Bible Church where she serves on the treasury and special events committees. She is also a director of the Jamaica customer service association (JaCSA), with responsibility for the finance committee.
Where does this proverbial superwoman find time to do it all; or better still, find time for herself to recharge?
It's a balancing act, she says, one in which there are several synergies at play. "Funnily, while all three areas involve serious work, they all create opportunities for fun and enjoyment," she shared.
"At NCB we encourage staff engagement and so we are always planning social activities to ensure that staff unwind. So, I attend trips, parties, games evenings, etc. The same is true for church and Kiwanis. There are always social activities to help persons de-stress. Outside of these activities, I make time to lyme with my family and friends, and vacations mean real fun time," she explained.
Speaking to her various service capacities, she says these are duties she approaches with glee, and they are now second nature given that she's been doing them for almost half her life. "I believe service to others can change the world. As a Christian, it is important that we take on the nature of Christ. His life and works show us what it means to serve others, and through that, bring healing. Servicing others is my talent, my calling, and the way I choose to leave my mark on this world, hence, I always feel the need to invest in others through service."
Journey into voluntary service
Williams's journey in voluntary service started as a student of the St Andrew High School, where she was an active member of the School's Key Club and held several leadership positions such as director, vice-president and president. She was also a senior prefect with responsibility for the fourth-form group.
"St Andrew has instilled important disciplines in my life. And because of that, it is important for me to continue giving back to my school to ensure that the young women there benefit from my insights, and are inspired enough to take similar paths," she noted. In any given school year, Williams leads motivational and career talks to the students who are members of the School's Leadership Development Programme and other groups such as Class Treasurers.
Following her exposure to Key Club in high school, it was an easy and natural progression for Williams to join the Kiwanis movement in 2003, after being invited by a member of the Kiwanis Club of New Kingston, who was one of her customers.
Since that first meeting, Williams has held several positions including chairman, director, vice-president and president. At the end of her tenure as president, the club was awarded the distinguished status by Kiwanis International. Williams, for her service and leadership within the organisation, has received several awards such as Kiwanian of the Year and Top Director.
The incumbent Lieutenant Governor knows the task ahead is great, but is up for the challenge. "My key goals for the administrative year October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018, will be to launch a leadership development programme to build the leadership capacity of Kiwanians."
The programme, she says, will target Kiwanians who demonstrate good leadership potential and a willingness to take on leadership roles within their clubs and at the divisional level.
"The programme is scheduled to start in January 2018, and will extend over a period of eight months. It is anticipated that this initiative will help to further strengthen the division and ensure that it continues to hone the leadership potential of its members," Williams said.
Coincidentally, October 1 is also the beginning of the new financial year at her bank and she, for her part, has also refreshed her approach to her professional life.
"Banking is changing and that will affect how we serve our customers; I have committed to ensuring that service quality and excellence remains at the core of our business so that we may continue to delight our customers and improve in required areas," Williams said.