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Racquel Nevins - Up to the challenge

Published:Monday | May 28, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Racquel's passion is to be the best at whatever she is doing. - Colin Hamilton/Freelance Photographer
Racquel Nevins

Nashauna Drummond, Lifestyle Coordinator

Racquel Nevins gets bored easily and works best when challenged. With three brands in her portfolio at Red Stripe, she has all the challenge she could ever want. And she's ready for it.

"My strategic focus will be delivering growth to the Guinness brand in a challenging market where overall alcohol consumption has been showing year-on-year decline," she told Flair in a recent interview.

Just six weeks into the job, she was a quick study and was settled and ready for the task by the first week of her appointment. Nevins has already set for herself the challenge to see where she can take an already established brand such as Guinness. "This may sound like a marketing dream, but the idea is to take an already great brand and further cement it in the hearts of our target consumers."

At the same time, she is focused on cementing and growing the market for Dragon and her non-alcoholic beverage, Malta.

But as a child growing up, Nevins never envisioned herself in a position like this. If you had asked her at 10 years old what she wanted to become, you certainly would not have heard her say a marketing executive.

"As a child, it was either an athlete or an air hostess. I remember when I was about 10 years old speaking to a 16-year-old who told me, 'No, I don't think so'. That stuck with me and immediately there went the dream."

That has stuck with her all her life. "I never tell someone that they can't do something," she told Flair. She abandoned her athletic pursuits when she kept clocking low times.

However, she is one determined young woman. "I am self-motivated by the passion to be the best at what I'm doing at the moment. I am pushed from within to be the best I can be."

But being the best, especially in marketing, is very hard. "At Red Stripe it takes a lot of work to be such a good company. But I make a conscious effort to separate work and my personal life. I will stay at the office later so that I don't have to take home work."

Financier turned marketer

Nevins started her professional career in finance. "Accounting came naturally, though I sucked at math," she confessed with a laugh. "I started in finance and when I got the opportunity I made the switch, and that's how I got introduced to marketing and I fell in love with it."

This pushed her to complete her MBA in marketing. "I like the fact that there is always change. It keeps the brain working to drive change or being agile to make change work to your advantage. And when you arrive at a breakthrough moment, that moment when you crack a tough marketing issue, the feeling is euphoric."

The euphoric feeling is one she experiences often in a profession that has already given her a lifetime of experiences.

One of those experiences was in a regional position that had her living in Costa Rica for four years.

"I didn't overthink it. I knew it would be a good experience professionally and personally, so I went for it. My experience was great, although initially it was not easy. I had to push myself beyond my comfort zone in a culture that is very different from ours in Jamaica. I was tested personally and professionally and came out stronger and more open to change than ever before. Brushing up on my Spanish didn't hurt either," she ended with a wide smile.

It seems nothing daunts this young professional who, in her early 30s, has already learnt some of life's most important lessons.

"It's good to dream big; it's even better to deliver results. I apply that lesson to every professional challenge," notes the St Jago High and Merl Grove High School past student.

Asked where she sees herself in five years, the response is: "I will tell you in five years and one month!" She confessed that she is still trying to figure out what she wants to become when she "grows up". "I try to not overplan my life. There are so many unknowns, so I prepare as best I can for the future."

However, her immediate plans were to find a challenge. "I have found that."