Denise Brown: Shipping guru in the making
Prior to joining the Sandals Resorts International family as the group shipping clerk, Denise Brown had worked in purchasing at another resort.
She thought she had mastered the art of coordinating and navigating the many intricacies of purchasing and shipping, but it wasn’t until her journey with Sandals began in 2015 that she tapped into her true potential in the field and realised that there was much more to learn.
“Being at Sandals is a different ball game,” she said. “It has truly been a learning experience – and a very good one. I can say I’ve become an expert in the field thanks to my experience at Sandals, and I love it.”
As group shipping clerk, Brown is responsible for calculating costs and processing all documents pertaining to the clearing of all company shipments that arrive in Jamaica by sea or air. The Procurement Division, of which Brown is an integral part, handles all of Sandals Resorts International’s purchasing and shipping needs, and it is Brown’s responsibility to ensure that all shipments are received and cleared according to plan and that all relevant paperwork is prepared and processed.
This requires her to be fully versed in shipping laws and regulations, duties, and waivers and sees her in continuous dialogue with Government officials, customs brokers, and buying agents. Though she studied business administration, Brown quickly fell in love with shipping and logistics. “I love getting results,” she said, “When I’m presented with a challenge, and I can work through it, find a solution, get it done, and everyone is satisfied, I love that.”
Though the job is a demanding one, Brown would have it no other way. “This job allows me to think outside of the box and keeps me on my toes, and that’s what drives me. I always say I could never sit at my desk and do the same thing every day, and in shipping, no two days are the same. It gives me a sense of satisfaction.”
Brown would receive an even greater sense of satisfaction in May when she was named the top team member, or Diamond Team Member of the Year (2018), for Sandals Resorts International. Still in awe of the achievement, she said: “I don’t even think I’ve fully wrapped my mind around it yet. It was really a surprise. I was up against two very strong contenders, so I had no idea that my name would be called, but I am really grateful. I challenge and push myself. Not that I expect a reward, but it’s just my nature.”
ABOVE AND BEYOND
Brown’s manager, Stephen Kerr, the company’s group shipping manager, agrees that going the extra mile is in fact in her nature. He said: “Denise is a no-nonsense person as it relates to her work. She takes her job very seriously, and she will definitely go above and beyond. She is extremely knowledgeable about shipping and is one of our go-to persons here. Denise is always one step ahead of the game. She is diligent, meticulous, and always has the company’s best interest at heart.”
Motivated by her 19-year-old daughter, who is about to begin tertiary studies in computer science, Brown is hungry for even more growth. “I would say about 90 per cent of what I do is for my daughter or even more than 90 per cent. Everything I do is for her. I just want to motivate her and ensure that she knows that anything is possible.”
Brown continued: “When I told my family that I was a nominee for the Diamond Team Member Award, they believed that I would be named the winner. My daughter said, ‘Mommy, you are going to win this’. The dress I wore on that night is actually her dress. She saved and bought that dress for her graduation, but she gave it to me to wear on that night. She always encourages me.”
Having been named Diamond Team Member of the Year, Brown will now go on to compete against the top team members for all resorts and companies in the Sandals/ATL Group for the title of Ultimate Team Member of the Year. If she wins the Ultimate title, she will walk away with US$20,000, an acrylic trophy, and an upgrade to her previously won five-night trip for two to any Sandals/Beaches Resort in the Caribbean. This upgrade will include luxury return transfer from her home to the airport as well as first-class airline tickets to her destination of choice.
As she looks forward to heading off to the Ultimate Award ceremony, Brown is also planning for the future – a future that includes intentions to pursue studies in shipping and logistics at the Caribbean Maritime University. “I believe I have mastered the practical side of shipping, so now I want to learn more of the theoretical aspects,” she said. She is also desirous of learning more about the shipping laws and regulations in the other islands where Sandals and Beaches operate in order to assume a more regional role in the company’s shipping and procurement operations.
“I am not looking to go anywhere else,” she said. “I want to stay here and grow in the company. I want to learn more and take on more responsibilities, all in the name of the company.”