When I first arrived in Barbados from Canada about ten years ago I wasn’t sure about lots of things, including the education system. I was very nervous about putting my 6-year-old daughter into school in a strange country where she knew nothing and nobody, especially because she spoke very little English at that time. As a mother I was frightened that it might harm her future education. In the end her teacher, as well as everybody else at St. Gabriel’s, really went out of their way to look after her, make her feel welcome as part of the group and to help her overcome her communication challenges. Quite amazingly, by Christmas, my child was fluent and loving her new life. Far from harming her education, the strong foundation she has been given in Barbados has helped her in later years to become a very successful student in England. I could not have asked for anything better. Barbados is generally good for families. The people are very friendly and there are many activities to keep all ages happy. Even a spouse who is not working can find interesting opportunities to do volunteer work. I think it is important for incoming foreign people to get involved in Barbadian society and participate as much as possible.
Although the outside impression might be that Barbados is just a small island, the reality is that I have met more fascinating people here than anywhere else. Even just spending a day at the races can help you meet highly successful people from all around the world. Barbados is like that. It is a great leveller in a very positive way. I have even been fortunate enough to get to know some genuine global business leaders. They are happy to be here too, because they can relax and be themselves. I have learned a lot from some very wise minds.
Being A Woman in the Construction Industry
When I first started working in the construction industry in Barbados I got some funny looks and surprised reactions – they are not used to seeing a woman succeeding in what they consider a man’s world. Especially as a Project Manager in charge of an entire building site! But, after a while, step-by-step, they grew to understand and respect me for my abilities and the way I operate professionally. I remember the first time I refused to accept a delivery of concrete because it was not the correct mix and it caused total shock and awe. At first they tried to tell me that I couldn’t refuse it but I assured them I could. And I did!
Eventually, after I had explained in detail why it was so necessary to get the mix right, their frustration and anger grew into respect for my knowledge and professionalism. I set a high standard from day one and I have stuck to it at all times. As a result I now have a reputation amongst developers as a person who can get things done and done well. And I like that.
I have already worked on many prestigious buildings, including project managing the construction of Limegrove, but what really excites me today is that there are a lot of new projects and innovative developments now starting on the island. There is some exciting progress going on behind the scenes.
Barbados has already been very good for me but I believe that the best is yet to come.