COVER STORY - Deika Morrison Keeping it in the family
Sacha Walters, Staff Reporter
Deika Morrison now has more time to focus on volunteer work. Ian Allen/Photographer
The former senator in the Ministry of Finance loves her work and her family, and what better way to have the best of both worlds than merging the two?
"I go to bed every night and I'm excited to come to work," Morrison said in a recent interview with Flair.
She stepped out on a limb in September last year, when she officially started Mdk Advisory and Consulting Limited. This was with her business partners and family members James "Danny" Morrison - her father, Joan Morrison - her mother and Kassim Morrison - her brother.
"It was really my mother's dream. She wanted everybody to do something together. We're a very close family," Morrison, whose title is managing director, said.
The plan all came together when both her parents decided to pursue the family's long-time dream of starting a business together.
"We just figured that many factors came together and we said now is the time to try," she said.
Deika, 37, has a professional background in governance and an academic background in engineering and, along with her brother Kassim, who is a financial analyst with experience in the private and public sectors, both represent the youth in the company.
Her mother, who has a number of years experience in the insurance business and consultancy and her father, a chartered accountant with over 30 years experience in accounting, auditing, financial management and corporate restructuring, is the chief financial officer for Supreme Ventures Limited. They represent the experience of the company.
Their company strikes the balance between established companies, which are experiencing a generational shift, and newer businesses that require a more dynamic approach to challenges.
"That kind of balance opens up many doors," she said referring to the gamut of businesses they can facilitate.
In the current uncertain economic climate, where consumers' spending is reduced, Morrison said companies, small and large are seeking to zero in on that spending.
"Companies are very interested in, 'how do we get a piece of that?'," she said. So, Mdk allows these companies to answer some basic questions like, 'what does this environment mean for me?; whether downsizing is the answer or how do they cut cost.'"
Morrison said strategizing is very popular among companies at this time.
There are also other companies which see hope in the midst of challenges, so there might be interest from overseas.
One of the aims of her work is to provide the best service possible to her clients. However, she gets excited at the thought of being given a challenge.
"Come to me with a new problem," she said.
Owning her own business allows not only for professional fulfilment, but it gives her the chance to execute her social responsibility otherwise.
"I wear about 100 different hats. Let me tell you, the good thing about having your own business is that, you don't have more time but, you can better manage your time," she said.
This was in reference to the volunteer organisations in which she is actively involved. She is president of The University of Pennsylvania Alumni Club of Jamaica (her alma mater); a Rotarian; vice-chair of the Women's Leadership Initiative (WLI); a member of the Economic policy committee of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and she is also an ambassador for Campion College, to help raise funds for the school's library.
Presently, she is working on a book drive to collect age-specific books within a seven-day period, through her Rotary Club. This initiative is a part of the club's 36th annual Rotary District 7020 Conference which will be held on May 4-8. Some of the books will be going to children in Haiti.
As for the future of the country, Morrison believes much more can be done to support small and micro- businesses in Jamaica. She believes greater effort should be made to have all support groups geared towards developing businesses, working together and being more accessible to Jamaicans.
"I do think that the private sector and the government have to work harder," she said in reference to this.
Morrison said the country has not yet felt the full effects of the fallout in alternative financial schemes, the tax package, the fallout in the bauxite industry and decreased remittances, and the increase in special consumption tax on gas. She said it is necessary that in our challenging times the country does not let go of social institutions, and that non-governmental organisations are supported.
"We will have a really big problem if our social infrastructure were to go down at this time," she said.