Planning and Innovation

On August 21, 2018 a 6.9 magnitude earthquake shook the islands of Trinidad and Tobago for almost two minutes; roads cracked like eggs, windows shattered, cars were crushed from falling brick and mortar and shelves caved, even the facade of our 200 year-old Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity was damaged. Some of us had yet to recover from the damage and the trauma of this experience when our resilience was tested again. About two weeks ago, our islands experienced rainfall that in a couple days exceeded the expected levels for the entire month. Rivers burst their banks, and homes and communities were inundated. Over 100,000 people were victims of the floods; some families even feared for their lives, spending hours on rooftops, stranded.

Thankfully, for both events, there were no fatalities but even though they are behind us it will take months for those in the worst affected areas to return to a sense of normalcy.

In the aftermath, we’ve had to evaluate our priorities and realize the importance of family and friends over all else. Life is fleeting and the importance of not only building strong foundations, but of being prepared for even the most robust structures to fail and fall, is integral to our survival. Each of us has had to take the lead in making these decisions. It has made us take a deep breath and a long look at the future.

I’ve always believed in aligning my personality with my purpose. For me, work is almost a form of prayer –each day I feel grateful to work with this incredibly dedicated team at Republic Bank. Even the days when I feel I could’ve done better, perhaps approaching a matter from a different angle, I look forward to the next day – to collaborating with colleagues and finding solutions.

Oprah Winfrey once said, “when you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.” As a proponent of continuous learning, which is also at the nexus of the Bank’s educational development programmes, I can relate to Winfrey’s statement that, “doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment”. I see this commitment daily in our team at Republic Bank. Leadership comes from within - we each need to take the lead, take the baton and run the next mile. Planning over procrastination works every time, and it can begin with the small stuff – clearing files, reading daily, waking early to meditate for 10-15 minutes and making daily lists.

We were all impressed when we saw the Japanese national football team cleaning the stands and the locker rooms after they had lost their match and before they left the stadium in the recent World Cup in Russia. That’s leadership! That reflects a generosity of spirit and wisdom that’s undeniable – it says we’re all in this together. They showed their collective consciousness not so much in words as in actions and attitude. Ultimately, they left the stadium as winners.

Catastrophic events and challenging times are catalysts for visionaries to emerge. But times like these also create a sense of realisation that leadership comes from within; we each have the ability to make a difference. At the Group Human Resources Department at Republic we understand the importance of being prepared for the challenges that come daily in working for one of the leading financial institutions in the world. In a financial services group that extends globally from Guyana and Suriname to the Caribbean archipelago and Africa, we’ve had to think creatively as well as strategically – integrating cultures, installing innovative technology and ensuring that our core values of customer focus, integrity, respect, professionalism and results orientation are represented globally.

Dunbar Mc Intyre, John Jardim, Ronald Hartford and David Dulal-Whiteway are some of the icons who have committed themselves to ensuring that our people, our employees, customers and shareholders are protected and well served in the best and worst of times.

But leadership is not only about a title or designation – it is also about initiative and innovation. In our banking halls as well as in our board rooms many have taken the lead on a diverse range of issues, and their strategic, well-informed, inclusive decisions have brought rewards to the Republic Bank Group as well as the communities we serve. I have watched secondary school students who have taken part in our mentorship and internship programmes reflect the attributes of influential leaders by being proactive and innovative problem solvers, by being disciplined, good listeners and effective communicators and by showing passion for special projects – and these are teenagers. We can learn a great deal from their inspirational enthusiasm, as well as from the natural world, so that we just don’t wait passively for the next storm or tremor in order to react.

Go to top