Sat | Nov 17, 2018

JWN’s Sterling, big on family, values

Published:Sunday | June 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Disciplined in his approach to task, Major Andre Sterling has an acute sense of responsibility to family and values.

Sterling, the logistics and customer service director at J. Wray & Nephew Limited, maintains a very strong relationship with his wife of 22 years, Shelley, and two daughters, Leann, 19, and Sarah, 17.

"I think I have an excellent relationship with them in different ways. Leann is more like me, reserved and introspective. When she's ready to share, we have a great rapport. Sarah is outgoing, effervescing and very affable. She's always trying to get me to do the latest dance," he noted with a smile.

The bond with family is rooted in firm belief.

"You need to be more inclusive in the formative years," said Major Sterling. "I've been right there from the delivery room until now; the changing of diapers, doctor, school and its extra-curricular activities, I try to be there for them."

He added: "I believe that a family really needs to have both parents play their role. The children learn to appreciate what family is about when they feel the influence of both."

According to Sterling, there are deeper lessons to be learnt from that, which ultimately dictates the pattern they will shape in their own journey.

 

SETTING GOOD EXAMPLES

 

"It's not only being part of their life, but them seeing that you have a good relationship with their mother, so they get a good understanding of what family values are. A lot of what we're seeing in the society today is a result of the lack of parenting, and from fathers in particular.

"There is a general weakness of our values as a society - integrity, honesty, discipline, respect for authority. We have to remember that children live what they learn and they're influenced at an early age, their character is developed when they're young. If they don't see their father portraying these values, they're going to do the same, especially boys," assessed Sterling.

He pointed out that he also had a good relationship with his dad, which got stronger through the years.

"He was big on cricket and would spend time teaching us, playing with us in the yard. It is very important that family spends quality time together, despite the workload," he observed.

"So what we do as a family is once a year - for the past 12 years - we go off. Grandparents, aunts and uncles spend Easter on the coast; and a weekend in summer as well. When they were younger, we made it a point to go to the movies regularly."

Strong leadership has been the hallmark of Sterling's diverse 30-year career, which begun in the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).

While serving in the JDF, he worked in the infantry, training, administration, information technology, and was ADC to the governor general.

He later achieved the rank of major, before embarking on a new journey with the Lascelles de Mercado Group in 1996 as the assistant group loss prevention manager and was subsequently promoted to the group loss prevention manager.

In 2006, he was transferred to J. Wray & Nephew Limited to the role of logistics manager and later promoted to head of logistics, where he was responsible for the strategic management of production planning, purchasing, raw material and finished goods inventory, local and export distribution, as well as raw material quality control.

His proven competency resulted in his appointment to supply planning and customer service director and later planning director, after the acquisition of J. Wray & Nephew Limited by the Italy-based Campari Group.

Sterling outlined that his military background has had an influence on his management skills.

"Being in the military, I think most importantly for me, it vastly shapes and builds discipline and character. You learn certain perspectives of people management and how to influence people to get them to do what you want them to do. It helps in that regard because contrary to popular belief, we don't influence people by threats," he noted.

"It helps you to understand leadership, which also applies to your children. You try to coerce them to do what they have to do. Over time, you'll build resentment to getting things done if you're forced to do it.

"My leadership style is to try and get them to do it on their own accord and only use the 'big stick' approach as a last resort," said Sterling.

He added: "The way you manage people is how you grow your children; you need to know what makes them tick, you need to understand what motivates them and get to understand them as individuals.

"If you're a good parent, you tend to be a good manager as well," said Sterling.

With all set for the FIFA 2018 World Cup in Russia, Sterling was asked about his choice.

"I think Germany is going to repeat," he said. "But I'm going to support Argentina because that's the team my brother supports."