“10-MINUTE MANAGER: Heather Barker”

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Heather Barker is managing director of Clearly Content Communications Inc.

Are you where you’ve always wanted to be?

In some ways, yes. I’ve been able to pursue several interests, in terms of setting up a communications or “story telling” company which attracts reputable brands and projects, and writing short fiction which has been published by local and international imprints.

When I become a fulltime author I’d definitely say I’m where I’ve wanted to be! I’ve also had the opportunity to create UPstart Caribbean, a public education programme on entrepreneurship and am happy to see the strides its made so far.

What is your biggest professional challenge?

Adapting and being flexible in the current economic environment. Clearly Content was formed in 2008 and I’m looking to maximise its growth. So I have the opportunity to surround myself with creative and innovative professionals who are strategic and results-oriented.

What is your biggest life challenge?

The answer depends on where I’m at in life but currently it’s establishing boundaries and learning to say no a bit more, even to those things which are good. I tend to go after or get asked to do a lot. Sometimes I’ve taken on more than I can reasonably do. What I’m moving towards practising is saying no while providing alternate solutions instead of procrastinating, which leads to disappointment. This allows me to say yes to those people, pursuits and projects that I am deeply drawn to.

When you look to the future what do you see?

I see companies forging strategic alliances to create economies of scale and I see greater opportunities in regional and international markets, both professionally and personally.

What is your favourite pastime?

Exploring different continents and being outdoors in scenic parks or at the beach. I also love reading and exercising. Most of what I love is done outdoors!

What is your favourite meal?

I enjoy TV cooking shows such as Chopped and Come Dine With Me and I’ve been experimenting a bit on friends and family. I really like tandoori chicken and I also love a flavourful salmon steak - grilled or baked.

On Saturday nights where are you likely to be?

I might be out with girlfriends, on a date, maybe at a book club (if I’ve managed to read the featured book in time!). Once I’m with people I enjoy being around, I’m happy. If I’m at home, I’m reading a book, writing or listening to a podcast.

What upsets you the most?

When people don’t respect your boundaries. Also, a lack of active compassion is not only upsetting but disturbing. With awareness and a desire, though, we can be kinder to ourselves and others. 

What is your guiding philosophy?

I’m working on doing to others as I’d like them to do unto me; and loving myself, God and others.

If you had the chance to manage Barbados for a day, what would you do?

If I had two days perhaps I’d tackle something at the macro-economic level! With one day I’d have a National Venting Day where interested residents would gather at “pop up” small groups facilitated by counsellors to share their hurts, anger, frustrations and pain. This wouldn’t be an excuse to debate issues, but a forum where Barbadians talk more openly and freely about themselves, what they’re experiencing, and seek a way forward.

We focus a lot on financial, physical and spiritual health and we should pay equal attention to our emotional health. We have some work to do as a nation in this regard, but this may be one of the key issues to helping us address some of the issues we’re experiencing.

In the field of communications I see issues, many of them unresolved, because we don’t express ourselves well or honestly with others; the National Venting Day could be a refreshing way to help mitigate this. Yes, there’s only so much that could be accomplished in one day but it could the start of something worthwhile.