If you aren’t already aware, Suzanne Stanley has been appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Jamaica Environment Trust (J.E.T). So what? Why is this news? A change for the future is always news but this is positive news, as Suzanne Stanley is a woman who is young, vibrant and motivated. She has also proven that she has superb Project Management Skills from various successful endeavours with JET, where she joined and served as Programme Director from 2010.
With first-class honours in a BSc. of Geography from the University of the West Indies, Mona, a Master’s degree with distinction in Environmental change and Management from Linacre College and the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University in the UK, along with her experience, she is definitely well equipped for the job.
Suga got in touch with the busy Deputy CEO this week, where she was able to give us the 411 by just answering 5 questions.
At 30 years of age and as head of such an Organisation, you will interact with many older persons, in Government and the Private sector. What challenges do you think this will pose, and what are your general views on the average age of our Political and Private sector leadership?
‘I have the experience of working with all age groups, from the very young in schools to the very old and even retired members of society, for instance at Community workshops. So with that experience, I am very comfortable dealing with all ages.’
Stanley also stated that the challenges arise with donors and various fundraising efforts, as a lot of people may not know her, but know her boss, CEO Diana McCaulay because of McCaulay’s age. She then said she knows she has to get to know more people, old and young. She believes she is able to get along with people easily and does not think it will be too much of a challenge for her down the line.
You can tell she is a confident person that expresses herself well, which are good qualities to aid in facing any challenges.
With regards to general views on the average age of our Political and Private sector leadership, she is of the point of view that age brings wisdom. ‘Experience is important where leadership is concerned and thus a big part of the job. There are a lot of leaders that are old, not to say that young people can’t be leaders, but they are the exception rather than the rule,’ stated Stanley. She then went on to say that leadership takes a certain level of maturity and frame of mind that are not so common. She has even noticed a change in herself over the past 10 years.
There is an impending election, what Environmental issues stand out as urgent for a new Jamaican Government?
‘It is not just the environmental issues that are urgent, but also social and economic issues, which go hand in hand. For instance, Transparency and Accountability on a local level are essential with respect to situations concerning our Natural resources, Riverton City dump, Goat Islands, Harbour View Sewage plant etc. Environmental campaigns such as ‘Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica’ all speak to transparency but there is a lot to tackle and improve upon with regards to social and economic issues,’ stated Stanley.
Do you agree that Jamaicans are apathetic to Environmental issues, and what direct strategies can a Government and an Organisation like yours employ to combat this apathy?
Suzanne stated that Environmental awareness and concern for the environment is not at the level it should be, but there are more people who exercise interest and the correct practises than you would think. Still, there are so many social and economic issues on the forefront that it gets drowned. This is why it is important for JET to keep current in the media and to keep people thinking about the environment and proper environmental practises.
She also said that JET is action oriented and leads by example, thus creating an appreciation for the environment and persons. People should be allowed nice places to see instead of the Government bulldozing areas close to the shoreline for hotels, ports and cruise ships. That actually creates further apathy amongst the people. Major decisions at the Government level and Private sector are important to promote concerns of the people.
Stanley continued to say that JET targets schools, working people and society at large. For example, once a person such as a Teacher or President of an Environmental club at a school is established, there is a chain reaction and further multiplier effect. Suzanne said it starts with just ONE person and persons involved can be people other than JET representatives that are effective Community leaders and Ambassadors for JET.
On that note, Suga would like to remind you that it only costs $1000JMD to sign up with JET to get updates on local, current environmental issues and projects and to see how you can assist to improve those issues and participate in various projects.
What impact has your alma mater, Immaculate Conception High School (ICHS) had on your career decision and work ethic?
Suzanne stated that Immaculate Conception High School definitely had an impact on her direction and no, it did not have anything to do with being in the popular club, ICE (Immaculate Conception Environmental Club). Imagine, she was not even a part of it. Some would think that is shocking, but if you knew Suzanne in high school or know her now, she pretty much just went to school to learn, make friends and go home when the bell rang. Extra curricular activities were never her thing, however she was actively involved in JMTC (Jamaica Musical Theatre Company) outside of school and still assists them with productions to this day.
So how did ICHS help? Her Geography teacher, Mrs. Arlene Hay who taught her practically throughout all of High school except for the year she was on leave, kept the subject interesting and was very structured and organized. Leading by that example has had an impact on Suzanne, influencing how she approaches work today.
ICHS in general also had a way of making students develop high expectations in terms of difficulty of exams. She shared memories of how many would receive low grades or even fail Mock Exams, but then excel in the actual exam. So Immaculate held them to a high standard and she is thankful for that.
After a very catchy and effective, ‘Nuh Dutty Up Jamaica’ campaign, a huge team effort, which you mainly assisted with the Creative Production, such as PSAs, can you give us a hint as to what the next big project will be about or have to do with?
Suzanne informed Suga that the next big project will be launching Phase 2 of the Clean Coast Project and they are gearing up to deliver an extension and expansion of the ‘Nuh dutty up Jamaica’ campaign with great assistance from the Tourism Enhancement Fund.
In the past year, JET has had Marine-themed Field trips, Underwater Clean ups and Research Days at Secondary schools. They will now be implementing Debris Containment Booms on a large-scale. What are Booms? Haven’t heard that since Retired Senior Superintendent of Police, Reneto Adams said it on the news. No. Booms are nets at the end of gullies Suga Readers. Nets that JET has periodically emptied. Now isn’t that fantastic?! Most of our gullies are disgusting. They are currently monitoring the success of a trial run of a Boom at South Gully, Montego Bay, then will place more island-wide depending on its success.
Other than that, Stanley said the plan is to do additional Promotion, and have a more targeted approach in Communities to see how Solid Waste Management can be improved.
Other Current Environmental Information:
Tomorrow will be the 30th Annual International Coastal Clean up Day.
Registration for the Popular Beach Clean Up at Fort Rocky on the Palisadoes, had to be closed ahead of schedule due to an overwhelming demand of volunteers! Wow. Definitely a good look for the future of JET.
Persons were reminded that there are 124 other Beach Clean ups across the island to participate in. See list at http://tinyurl.com/iccsites2015.
Please, as citizens of our country, play your part in keeping Jamaica as the Land of Beauty. Environmental conservation is important not only for our Country’s survival but for ours as well.
See Coastal Clean up Promo video here and have a great weekend cleaning up our beaches!
By: Gabrielle Burgess
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