I consider myself blessed to work for over three decades within mediums I love (see what I did there?) Don’t get it? Radio and Television, anyhoo… when I look back on it, I have also worked in other areas that all have a connection to what I do now.
Can I tell you, I have found this blog to be very therapeutic as it has also forced me to dig wayyy deep in the recesses of my mind, to have you walk with me in my life’s journeys. I have had to call friends to ask if they remember certain dates, places and people’s names. Ole age is something else, eh? I used to laugh at my parents and grandparents when they forget things and blame ole age. I am not doing that now as it is at my door step #coversface.
So after doing the research and digging up factual memories 🙂 I decided to write about my work experiences over the years. So here goes….
My first job fresh out of high school was at the Attorney Generals Office downtown on Barry Street for the summer (thanks mommy). It was short but good; filing and learning about the running of the office and the reason for the Attorney General…(girl crush) Ossie Harding 🙂 who was the attorney general at the time…Moving on..
After the summer I went to the Town Planning Department where I worked in the Registry for a number of years; it is now called N.E.P.A. National Environment and Planning Agency. I got to travel to many known and hidden parts of Jamaica, as the agency had to ensure the plans submitted, did not breach any boundaries and building specs. Can I tell you, the plans for Coney Park, (our theme park back then) came across my desk for registering, so I was ready for it long before anyone else 🙂
Back story time…anywhere that I worked, I always learned other things outside of my duties. So I was stand in/back up telephone or rather switchboard operator. It may seem like nothing, but I had to connect calls by plugging them into extensions. Trust me you had to remain focused or you could plug out the wrong call.
I entered Miss Jamaica while there and was approached after the finals to work at a soon to be opened, new hotel, Sandals Dunns River in Ocho Rios, St Ann. The few years at Dunns River has left me with lifelong friends, awesome memories and second degree sunburn, thanks to my boss Paul Tomlinson (love him so much) who loved putting me on pool and beach duty…every week. (Do you all see a swimwear trend in my life?
A contingent of personalities were guests of the hotel and I had the honor (or terror) of being the MC for the weekend. Before leaving, Fae Ellington one of Jamaica’s leading media personalities, told me I have the natural talent that should be in media. Mr. T didn’t want me to leave, but knew of my dream of being in media. I stayed through the Christmas holiday, left into the new year, came back to Kingston and enrolled in Fae Ellington’s voice and speech class at the Creative Production Training Centre where I met Susan Simes, (bless her for the China opportunity).
While I waited for CVM to launch, I worked at Stuart’s Travel for a year, while still doing more courses at CPTC. I went on to Power 106 FM for a few years, working as Jamaica’s first female technical operator with Barry G ‘The Boogie Man’ and Dr. Leahcim Semaj. I edited shows on reel to reel, (fix your face) its a cassette just 50 times bigger. I oversaw the shift from information on tapes to the computer.
CVM Television was finally ready to launch and all who were waiting got the call to come in. For over 10 years, I worked as a technical operator in the satellite room, master controller, moved to production and directed and hosted CVM at Sunrise, news, entertainment shows and sporting events, also did news reports. Monica DaSilva 🙂 taught me how to edit promos and programmes (she is the best). I hosted new years events, Jamaica Carnival, did a weekly entertainment show where I interviewed personalities and did a movie review. I got the first interview with my friend Orville ‘Shaggy’ Burrell when he won the Grammy, such a proud moment.
During my time at CVM I went to Trinidad for 3 months; back story…I was running camera and doing lights at a Jamaica carnival event, alongside persons from Trinidad. Back then, women only went before the camera, so I was an anomaly who was invited to work in production for the summer. I remember being at CCN TV 6 and editing something for broadcast and turning around to see all the men watching me, waiting for a slip up I suppose. It stopped after they realized I knew what I was doing 🙂
While still at CVM, Supreme Ventures started their daily lottery games, I saw this as something new to learn, so I volunteered to direct and help them with this new ‘venture’ :). Paul Hoo offered me a job as Draw Coordinator, as he wanted someone on the team with technical skills who could navigate any broadcast challenges and be able to explain to the team in layman terms, what they were. Amanda Hudson (love her) and myself were one of the first draw talents to go live with the daily draws. 13 years of being both a Draw Coordinator and an On Air talent have left me with another set of great memories. I became the girl with the ‘stand-up’ (my model stance) and the ‘Walk Good’ girl. That was always my closing line, in tribute to my Great-Grand mother, Don-Don who always said that to me when I was leaving home. The entire saying goes “Walk Good and mek Good Duppy follow you’. Let good spirits follow you on your walk.
Kool 97FM during that time was looking for announcers so I auditioned and got the position, starting with one shift. I did this for 13 years while simultaneously working at Supreme Ventures. God Bless Sonia Davidson and Anthony Jackson who always tried to accommodate an Outside Broadcast or any time Kool may need me to cover a shift or any other media related event I had to host…another set of awesome bosses that blessed my working experiences. Yohann Stephens, a former Kool DJ migrated and left the Saturday morning slot open. I was the announcer working alongside him. None of the DJ’s wanted the shift as it was 5-9am (too early for them). I took up the challenge with the assistance of fellow Kool DJ’s, loaded my computer with music and started doing the show by myself. I was so unsure at the start but I grew up around all types of music and the show Kool Alternatives, consisted of a number of musical genres so I had a great time putting together the show till I found my footing. I looked forward to Saturday mornings. I left Kool 97 FM with all that along with being Production Supervisor.
I had to add this work experience; In order to complete my degree I chose to intern at JPS in the Corporate Communications Department. Ruthlyn Johnson (uwi lecturer during my degree) and Winsome Callum both true Boss Ladies to me and I learned so much from them. Let me tell you something, it was never an intern work, straight out the starting block, I was writing press releases, commercials, writing presenter introductions. I interviewed and wrote pieces on interns there at the time (yes I was one…kinda), worked with the team on their Streetlight launch in Montego-Bay, Race to Save community project and on the JPS Power Smart tv show. I am very proud of being given free reign to create the JPS Bushing flyer that gave information on trimming tress and shrub safety during the hurricane period. Their fun day was another one of the highlights for me. Called the JPS Power Up Championships, there is JPS TV, (yes please!) and I was the roving reporter for the day. I also co-hosted with Boss Lady, Ruthlyn, on their monthly intranet show. whew!!! Love my JPS family.
My newest work journey move has been to another radio station, The Edge 105 FM, since January of this year, as a producer/presenter. It has been another learning experience and forging of friendships. I look forward to where this innovative Reggae station takes me and Jamaica.
I am open for what is next for me. I have been told the best is yet to come, even better days are ahead in this ‘new year’ of my life and work blessings as I continue to ‘Walk Good and mek Good Duppy follow Me’.