‘Turn every opportunity into something big’ - Regal advice from Ackera Gowie
In 2018, Ackera Gowie gave up her 9 to 5 in chase of the Jamaica Festival Queen dream. As she prepares to hand over her crown tomorrow, Gowie maintains that she has no regrets about that decision. In fact, she shared with The Gleaner that taking that leap of faith afforded her a myriad of opportunities during her reign, and her life has been changed for the better.
After the new queen is crowned, Gowie can fully settle into her entrepreneurial pursuit as an artiste manager. But before that, she has some sage advice for her successor.
“Based on my experience, I think she should really take some time before fully indulging in all the activities for the year, to think about some specific things that she can do to really make an impact.” She added, “The year goes by really quickly. I cannot believe it’s been a year already. I didn’t get to do half of the things I really wanted to do,” she told The Gleaner.
Gowie says that experience taught that her reign could have been more fulfilling if she had had a dedicated team of handlers. “I would advise the new queen to get a team for herself; a group of people willing to work with her throughout the year. She should also try to partner with as many organisations as she possibly can, to help them to achieve their objectives and also to help her achieve her objectives.”
Quitting her job with the director of Student Services and Development at The University of the West Indies was the first chance Gowie took on the start of her journey to Festival ‘Queendom’. The results supported her fundamental belief, that people have to make the choice to take a chance, or their lives will never change. She elaborated: “Taking that leap of faith was something that I actually needed to do. I really don’t regret it at all, because I’ve had the opportunity to gain much more than I would have, had I stayed in my job. I have no regrets.”
As Festival Queen, she was given a national platform and recurring opportunities to network with a lot of ‘movers and shakers’. This leads to Gowie’s next piece of advice for the incoming queen who will wear the tiara: “I ensured that I continued a relationship with them. I asked for mentorship, and advice in terms of what I should be doing next.”
That mentorship and advice have led to Gowie becoming her own boss. “I’m an entrepreneur. I’m currently managing D.L.’s music career – and it gives me pretty much everything I have been looking for in a job. Many opportunities, successes and many chances to grow – even though there are challenges. I’m really loving what I’m doing now.” D.L. is a former contestant on popular televised singing competition, Digicel Rising Stars. “Outside of that, I get to work on my personal brand, which a 9 to 5 wouldn’t necessarily afford me the opportunity to do. So I’m in a really great space,” she continued.
There is still more advice for the incoming queen: “Relax and have fun.”
Gowie reflected, “I think I took mine a little bit too seriously sometimes. I forgot to live in the moment and just have fun. I would advise her to try to do her best and just recognise that she’s a cultural abassador. Every opportunity she gets, she should really turn it into something big.”