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Valerie Veira - Empowering young women

Published:Monday | April 12, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Valerie Veira.

Valerie Veira is a highly motivated communicator who believes in meeting people at their level. Her personal and professional successes can be attributed, in part, to her organisational, negotiating and industrial development skills.

A graduate of the University of the West Indies and Harvard University, and the director of several boards, she disclosed that sometimes she is the 'lone female' in the boardroom. Veira celebrates her femininity and is of the view that women should not compromise and feel obliged to be 'one of the boys' in order to progress. She is adamant that women should ensure that they are evaluated and remunerated on the same 'yard stick' as their male counterparts - training, experience and qualification.

She acknowledges that while some women have 'broken through the glass ceiling', she feels, however, it is time for the ceiling to be shattered.

A consummate professional, Veira is committed to a holistic approach to development. She states that economic and social issues are part of a 'twin concept' which must be integrated in programmes of development if there is an interest in sustainability. A visionary, her wealth of experience in business development, policy and public-sector management, as well as communication, catalysed the development of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation. As chief executive officer, Veira resolved from the outset to implement a unique style of leadership and management based on facilitating a participatory team approach, committed to lead in a 'different voice'.

Empower women

She believes that it is important to empower women, as well as men, as a strategy towards achieving gender equality and is of the firm belief that women are endowed with equal capabilities when compared to their male counterparts.

An advocate for equal rights, Veira is clear that women need to be focused and operate in a professional and principled manner in whatever capacity they are located. She is unequivocal about the importance of family values, and is personally in the mindset of 'family' extending beyond blood relatives. In this regard, she reaches out to young women who need support and encouragement and mentorship. She is a former president of the Big Sisters of Jamaica, and is committed to sharing with and guiding young women, where possible, to ensure that more women will walk beside their male counterpart and not one step behind.