When Jamaicans speak of Real Hotsteppas, they speak of people who impact their community in a positive way. So it is quite clear why these seven women from Montego Bay have made this list. Today we give you the lowdown on what makes them, each in their own way, so powerful.
1. Janet Silvera
When senior journalist Janet Therese Silvera, takes on a story in pursuit of justice for the voiceless and the oppressed, she is simply unstoppable. Though many people may not even remember, in 2014, she was the match that lit the fire that eventually led to the decriminalization of small amounts of ganja, as she along with her colleague Adrian Frater, pursued relentlessly and broke the story about the beating and subsequent death of 31-year-old Montego Bay resident Mario Deane at the hands of the police over a simple ganja spliff. That story, and the series that followed, earned the two journalists a Press Association of Jamaica Journalism Award that year.
A philanthropist who sacrifices daily, her most important achievements to date has been the birth of ‘MoBay City Run’, a 10K/5K run and walk, which she founded in 2014 to raise funds for struggling tertiary level students in western Jamaica. The annual event has donated millions to students from St. James, since its inception.
Silvera, a Mount Alvernia High School past student, also founded ‘Sarah’s Children’, an organization which aims to protect abused children and the elderly. Sarah’s Children was named in honour of her mother, Sarah Darling-Findlay.
The newly-minted president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce resident is no stranger to awards. She was also named the Press Association of Jamaica ‘News Journalist of the Year’ 2009, for the thought-provoking piece ‘Dad Raped Us’. The conceptualizer and coordinator of the Gleaner’s Hospitality Jamaica, in 2006 she was the American Express/Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) awardee for Excellence in Tourism Reporting.
At her first job with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) in 1985, she proved she was invaluable to the organization after only six months on the job when she created history by being named ‘Hostess of the Year’. In June 2012 when she became the first Jamaican to be honoured with the Marcia Vickery-Wallace award for Travel Journalism by the Jamaica Tourist Board.
The many acknowledgments of her outstanding service both locally and internationally, are a testament to the achievements of this giant of a woman. She is one of the Golden Girls of Montego Bay.
2. Pat Wright
Pat Wright’s work in cancer prevention is indelible. She is hailed by many as a motivational force, because of her heroic battle with cancer, beating the affliction five times, something quite unheard of. Today, as Jamaica continues to grapple with non-communicable diseases such as Cancer, she has dedicated her time and efforts, through to inspire others to change their lifestyle and to eat properly, as a proactive measure to prevent cancer in order not to have to fight it later on.
She opted to use raw foods and adopt a toxin-free lifestyle to eliminate her last bout of cancer. She keeps farmers in St. James and other parishes happy as she buys their fresh produce to make her raw food dishes and smoothies at the Wrightlife Eatery at Fairview in Montego Bay. She constantly encourages people to eat properly, opting out of consuming processed foods but to build their immune systems.
This astute businesswoman has worn the professional hats of cosmetologist; fashion designer, and spa director. For many years Pat mentored young and old employees at Sunset Beach Resort Spa and Waterpark where she served as spa manager. She demonstrates to Montegonians that our health is our first wealth.
For her, long as she lives long she remains alive, she is leading a healthy lifestyle and inspiring others to do the same through food and her blog ‘cancersurvivorx2’.
3. Katrin Casserly
Katrin Casserly is a champion for the youth in Western Jamaica, and supports every endeavour to make their lives better. She has taken on many causes in western Jamaica over the years including the End Bullying Globally Campaign. She has been the chairman of Hanover Charities the biggest charitable organization in Western Jamaica for more than a decade, raising funds to help young people to pursue higher education. To date, she has donated over half a billion dollars to projects and scholarships in Hanover.
She has been operating the Schatzie boutique for several years now in Montego Bay, which specializes in Jamaican designed linen garments. The former marketing manager at the Round Hill Hotel, is one who always embraces the spirit of adventure and service. She is the patron of the Hanover 4-H Clubs Parish Advisory Council and works steadfastly in the region to reduce youth unemployment.
Despite her hectic work schedule, Katrin has always made time for her deep and abiding interests in meaningful social causes in development of the parish of Hanover and by extension Western Jamaica. An Austrian by birth, she is a champion for Jamaica which she now calls home.
4. Angella Whitter
Angella has been one of the bastions in the development of Real Estate in Montego Bay and the development of the city as a prime tourist destination. She has been the Managing Director of the Whitter Group of Companies for close to two decades and has been at the helm of several property developments in Jamaica including the Whitter Village, a 220,000 square foot retail and office complex situated at Ironshore in St. James.
She has also led other projects including the 18 – shop Golden Triangle Mall and the 18 hole championship Ironshore Golf and Country Club. With little fanfare, this very busy lady is a past student of the William Knibb Memorial High School and has helped her alma mater with financial support, but physically visiting and supporting the institution with sports and academics.
5. Michelle Rollins
Jamaicans who do business with, or work within Spanish-owned hotels in Jamaica, can attribute this to the indomitable Montego Bay businesswoman, who has consistently demonstrated her commitment to the people of Jamaica.
Mrs. Rollins has pursued efforts for job creation in the tourism sector and provision for housing for tourism workers within Jamaica’s north coast. She has also given charitable support and contributions to several causes in the fields of children’s welfare, education, healthcare, economic development and strengthening ties between Jamaica and the United States. An American native, Mrs. Rollins has been resident of the island since the 1970s, and continues to remain passionate about her adopted homeland, which she describes as having a huge opportunity for world-class tourism.
An attorney and accomplished businesswoman, Mrs. Rollins is currently Chair of Rollins Jamaica Limited, the holding company for Rose Hall, Limited which includes the Rose Hall development projects. She also has also chaired several advisory boards over the years in the areas of education and culture.
The very affable and down-to-earth Michelle, not only donates to social development projects, but also gives her time to these projects. One of her dearest projects is the SOS Children’s Village which she supports 100 percent. She has no qualms about picking up children from the SOS Children’s Village to accompany her to church and invites them home for Easter breakfast; and we can personally attest that she knows each child by name, she knows of their achievements in school or on their first jobs, and we have seen how she cares for people.
It is no wonder she has been honoured numerous times for her role in helping to strengthen the island’s tourist industry as well as her philanthropic contributions to the people of Jamaica.
6. T’shura Gibbs
Hailing from Glendevon, this Montego Bay High School past student grew up on Salt Spring Road in the community.
Never forgetting her roots, it so came as no surprise when she helped to conceptualise the “I Love MoBay” Foundation in a bid to help restore a sense of pride and fellowship within her beloved Montego Bay and serve as its Executive Director.
The businesswoman held a top executive position at the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), as director of the energy distributor’s in the western and has also served as president of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI).
In February 2018 she took on the role of CEO of Zimmer & Co. Under her leadership, the health and wellness distribution company, which is headquartered in Montego Bay, with primary focus on medicinal cannabis and hemp-based CBD products, has grown its portfolio to over 100 products, sells into over 200 retail outlets in three countries and currently employs 10 team members.
T’Shura is driven by a deep passion to serve, a quality she exhibited throughout her 20 years in the airline industry which spanned several Caribbean countries.
She also sits on the boards of CanEx Jamaica, CannaMexico, Northwest Construction & Development.
7. Gloria Henry
Many Montegonians know Gloria Henry as a top executive at the Montego Bay Freezone company. What many may not know is that this gentle, diminutive lady with the sweet-sounding voice is a champion for people and community development.
Anyone who has a job in Montego Bay’s BPO sector can attribute it to the work Gloria, who spearheaded the transition of the Montego Bay Freezone from a manufacturing industrial estate into an ICT-focused enclave, supporting the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.
The Assistant Vice President – Operations and Customer Relations Port Authority of Jamaica and Montego Bay Free Zone Company, she is also President of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica. Gloria has more than 24 years of extensive combined experience in many areas of business including, administration, public sector management, banking, corporate services, strategic leadership, customer relationship management, and property management.
She has served many public, private, and civic organizations, including The Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce where she served as President for the period 2015-2017 and was instrumental in fundraising efforts for a linear accelerator for the Cornwall Regional Hospital and in raising concern about cancer care in public hospitals.
She is responsible for the strategic planning and management of 700,000 sq. ft. of facilities. Provides Real Estate as a Service, supporting 45 customers, over 11,000 employees across multiple business lines; manages 345-seats BPO incubators and shared services operations. Duties include leadership, strategic/tactical management, continuous improvement of customer experience, financial performance, staff development, vendor management, promotion and reporting at the Montego Bay Freezone.
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