Nadine Heywood is empowering businesswomen one initiative at a time
Nadine Heywood can be best described as formidable with a gentle touch. She’s a go getter and a real boss lady in banking and finance.
In fact, she reminisces that her father would call her “bossy” due to her natural leadership capabilities and stick-to-it-iveness in whatever task she set her mind on.
Heywood, however, did not always have her eyes set on banking. She was a natural sciences student in high school until her A-level years when she had a change of heart.
Following high school, Heywood took a gap year from studies and got the chance to work in a financial institution.
Her grit and determination would chart her course, leading to her then employer awarding her a scholarship to pursue professional banking studies.
Heywood grabbed the proverbial ‘bull by the horns’ and has never looked back.
Now a chartered banker by profession, she is currently the director of credit solutions - corporate and commercial banking at Scotiabank.
With over 20 years’ experience in leadership and management, her value systems surround building personal and professional ethics that positively impact her life at all levels.
“People see you for who you are. For me, I fundamentally believe in honesty and integrity. Even if it pains me, I will own up. Even when I am wrong, I will own up. The trust of the people around me is something I cannot take for granted so that is a core value for me. I want my leaders to always be able to trust me, because I execute with integrity.”
That trust Heywood references is personified in her role as programme manager for the Scotiabank Women Initiative (SWI), which celebrates its one-year anniversary this month.
This role also significantly aligns with Heywood’s passion for female empowerment and obtaining a gender balance in leadership roles.
“Women, especially in our country, tend to carry the lion’s share of the nurturing and the caring for the family, but we have a very significant place in Jamaican society. In terms of our role in business both as women and business leaders. Jamaica still has one of the highest rates of female managers. So if more than 60 per cent of your managers are women, that tells you something in terms of the collective responsibility that we carry,” Heywood shared.
Added to that, Heywood said she has been fortunate to have the support of her mother, Jemelia Davis, and sister Marsha Woolery as go-to women for advice and support. This relationship has made paying it forward even more important to Heywood.
“I really think about how we can work with women to identify their unique challenges and how we can work with women to help them to succeed. I have had the benefit of being around women from different spheres of life who provide support and advice. And through my colleagues here at Scotiabank and my CEO, Mrs Audrey Tugwell Henry, who is such an example, I can see powerful women in a very tough industry who balance work and life responsibilities. That’s the kind of balance that I aspire to.”
SWI in Jamaica was birthed in January 2022. After seeing the success of the programme in Scotiabank Canada over the past four years, the bank recognised the potential impact and decided to expand to Jamaica. It is based on three pillars: access to capital, which is about delivering financial solutions; advisory and mentorship, which delivers programmes to help women improve how they execute their roles; and education, which delivers seminars and information to help women build their businesses.
Heywood has continued to lead SWI, executing the current plans while building out the future of programmes to support women leaders and women business owners.
She said: “There is no one initiative that’s going to meet everybody’s needs, but if we take a holistic approach, and we continue to evolve, we will continually develop programmes and initiatives, and over a period of time, every woman business owner or leader will find something in SWI to help her advance.”
Further, Heywood says over the past year, more than 350 women have voluntarily signed on to be part of SWI and more than 400 have participated in signature events under the programme.
Heywood also pointed out that one of the key initiatives launched through SWI as part of its anniversary celebrations is the Special Rate Loan Fund for women-owned or women-led businesses, with an excellent interest rate of 8 per cent to help support them in running their businesses better.
Outside of work, Heywood is very proud of her two adult children, Zoe and Grant, who are currently pursuing their careers. She is also involved in the Women’s Leadership Initiative, enjoys hiking, films featuring women and children, and ministry with her church members at Swallowfield Chapel.
Her guiding scripture is Colossians 3:23: “… do everything as unto the Lord.”
“In moments of challenges I deliver the very best I can. I have found that in life, everything works out to be well when you do that.”