Sat | Oct 16, 2021

From HEART Trainee to Financial Controller

Published:Thursday | October 1, 2015 | 12:00 AMJanelle Oswald
Joy Roberts-Williams

A married mother of three who came from humble beginnings in Greenwich Town, Kingston, Joy Roberts-Williams has beaten the odds and turned her life around to become a successful leader in her field. During the past 22 years at Red Stripe, she has worked her way up the corporate ladder from a Human Employment and Resource Training (HEART) trainee to financial controller.

Roberts-Williams fell in love with accounting in grade 10 at Tivoli Gardens High School, and now a prolific number cruncher, she told The Gleaner, "It was not easy growing up. My family had financial constraints and I was just an average student, but I had a great desire to excel. I remember going into the bank for the first time and seeing a well-dressed woman in office attire. It was confirmed in my spirit that I wanted to work in an office and look as professional as she did. Becoming a secretary was my first career choice, but I fell in love with accounts, and the rest is history," Roberts-Williams said.

Reminiscing proudly, she continued, "I am living my dream, considering Red Stripe is a large organisation and is a subsidiary of the multinational organisation Diageo. People have asked why I am with Red Stripe. The answer is: I am always growing and learning."

"I started at Red Stripe in my teens and I grew into a number of roles, eventually becoming the second-highest senior finance role - financial controller. I have worked very hard to be where I am, but I've been blessed with managers who believed in and valued me; and I work with one of best finance teams ever," she added.

Focus and Purpose

Also a lay preacher and pastor's wife who believes "experience teaches wisdom". Roberts-Williams told The Gleaner: "My personal motto is 'With God, all things are possible'. I gave my life to the Lord at age 13 and started at Red Stripe as a HEART trainee, got married at 21, and attained my qualifications, including an MBA from Manchester Business School while making a family. Additionally, I have been actively supporting my husband in his journey as a minister. God gave me focus and purpose. It was not always easy. I invested my life in His will and acknowledge His sovereignty and greatness. My personal and professional decisions are guided by my relationship with God."

The multiple-award-winning Red Stripe employee also believes in giving the best at all times, loving what she does and being committed to the task.

"My commitment should not be questioned. Diageo has some values, which I embrace, that I believe were already within me. These include be the best, be proud of what we do, and value each other."

Roberts-Williams who is also a motivational speaker, advises career-driven women to "find a career/profession you love and connect with it. Understand the gaps at each stage and close them. Don't be dismayed by failure. I failed a number of exams because of competing priorities. I encourage others to be focused, be your best self, work hard, and strive towards your goal."

At Red Stripe, she has seen many changes, good and bad, over the years. However, she has been able to ride the waves of change and come out on top.

For the future, she plans to continue the journey - perhaps, to finance director or even the managing director one day. She also cites lecturing and being a non-executive director of an organisation as future aspirations. Most important, she will continue building the Kingdom of God.