From poverty to success, Dr Kesha Christie shares her story
Dr Kesha Christie describes herself as a poor country girl. From humble beginnings in Stony Hill, St Andrew, she reflects on her early life as a testament to her unwavering determination.
“At a young age, I had that drive to succeed because I didn’t have it,” she explained. ‘It’ being the financial means to leisurely enjoy her childhood.
In pursuit of a brighter future for her two daughters, Christie’s mother migrated to the United States, where she sent the money she earned to her sister, who took on the responsibility of caring for the girls.
Recalling life without her mother present, she said: “I used to walk the streets and beg to go school. Coming from dirt poor, one of the things I always said is that, ‘I’m gonna make education make that difference.’ So my sister and I would trod the roads to try and get lunch money to go to school because my mother would have been sending funds to my aunts and uncle in Jamaica but we weren’t getting the benefits of that.”
Ever the hustler, Christie was able to send herself to The Queen’s School before getting her first job as a typist at the age of 17 years old.
“I got a typist job and I decided that I [was] really going to make something of myself. I have to push. So I sent myself through school, started out with doing some certificate courses to ensure that I got a better job, then I started my whole accounting career.”
Surprisingly, Christie revealed that beauty was her first love, “In high school I was both doing the sciences and the business subjects but ideally my passion was beauty and cosmetology but my mother say to me ‘weh you a go with that?’ Because in her days, those persons that did beauty were the ones that didn’t excel academically.”
Bowing to her mother’s pressure, she refocused herself on a path that would yield financial reward and elevate her from a poverty-stricken life.
Relentless in her pursuits, Christie became a fully chartered accountant at the age of 27.
However, by 2009, despite achieving financial stability, this early success was not enough for the aspiring business mogul.
“I tried corporate and decided that the drive to do my own thing was just outweighing that,” she explained. “I decided that why not do my own business. I took the risk and would have gone from corporate Jamaica to starting my own business. At that time though, it was not KCLH. I started out humbly with trading as our sole proprietorship where I just had a client that I sucked up to to ensure that everything for them was proper,” she revealed.
Giggling at the memory of her never-ending days and the many hats she used to wear, Christie explained that at the time she did not even have an office space for herself.
“Through it all, God was always there in the mix and I believe that He held my hand through this hardship. Moving from her single client, to three, to six,” she continued, “I was learning the different business support. I am an accountant, so I would have started with the core of the accounting services and the related fields like taxation and auditing because that was my core and my comfort. Then I realised based on the needs of the client, hey, mi half go open bank accounts on their behalf. So I was forging these relationships with banks and all that. At that point, I was everything: bearer, cleaner, every single thing.”
Progressing steadily, Christie pursued her master’s degree at Florida International University. Taking things a step further, she established KCLH Full Business Solutions, emphasising her commitment to providing solutions for people.
With her client base expanding from six to 45, Christie’s staff experienced a 200 percent growth, increasing from one employee to two.
Since that launch in 2015, Christie has been instrumental in building the financial backbone of several ventures across the island.
“What KCLH 2.0 is, is just a higher level of what the poor Kesha would have been doing but showcasing the advantages that persons can get. Because let’s face it, persons are too busy to have that proper support. So, what we provide is that focus on your core business and everything related to business, be it legal, payroll, forensic audit, corporate secretarial, business development, you want to get an EC licence, you want coaching, everything we do it. So I said God, this must have been from you when at that time we thought of a full business because once you think business, KCLH can do it,” she explained.
Comfortably embracing the full-service business model, in 2019, Christie sought further self-improvement by pursuing a doctoral degree in taxation, inspired by her role model, Ethyln Norton-Coke.
These days, Christie spends her off time pursuing her other hidden talents like storytelling, motivational speaking and hosting a business education series on Bridge 99fm.
Looking back at her life, Christie says it was poverty that was her biggest motivation.
“It is my humble beginnings and my poverty that make me motivate persons to tell them seh one, there is no dependency on a male species, because I made sure that I didn’t have anybody to come back and seh, ‘I need to take back a book’, it was all me, God and the hard work.”
With no plans to slow down, she aims to mentor young women from her alma mater, The Queen’s School, while she gathers her thoughts for her autobiography.