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10-MINUTE MANAGER: Pushing boundaries

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

10-MINUTE MANAGER: Pushing boundaries

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Q: Are you where you’ve always wanted to be?
A: I am very happy with where I am in my professional life. I work with a team of highly creative and innovative professionals here at Virgin Atlantic and I am constantly challenged to push the envelope or as we say to fly in the face of ordinary. I am always conscious that my work has to live up to the standards of one of the world’s most recognised brands and I believe that has contributed to my personal  growth in a major way.   Q: What is your biggest professional challenge? A: Building and maintaining good relationships is crucial to almost everything I do, and working for a company that frequently challenges the status quo often puts me in a position where I have to defend a position that may not be popular.   Q: What is your biggest life challenge? A: My daughters have grown up and I now realise that I wasn’t really prepared for life beyond motherhood so I am at a stage where I almost have to re-engineer myself out of mummy mode and reconnect to my own aspirations. I am looking forward to a few adventures.   Q: When you look to the future, what do you see? A: Our country is in good hands. I’ve been fortunate to be involved professionally in activities with young people and so many of them are doing amazing things. They have the vision, enthusiasm and resourcefulness that we need to take Barbados forward. I am very excited to see our young entrepreneurs creating opportunities for themselves and others.   Q: What’s your favourite pastime? A: Creating new recipes and putting my own twist on traditional Bajan dishes. We are losing a lot of our culinary heritage and I’m thinking of writing a recipe book featuring all the wonderful dishes passed down from my mother.
Q: What’s your favourite meal? A: Any traditional Bajan meal, especially a good cou cou and salt fish with a bit of avocado and cucumber.    Q: On Saturday nights where are you likely to be? A: Relaxing at home with a good book. I am a voracious reader of everything from classic novels to the occasional glamour magazine. Otherwise I’ll be probably be catching up on the latest movies.   Q: What upsets you the most? A: As a people, our contribution to the region and the world at large far outweighs our small size and resources, yet we do very little to identify and celebrate our achievements so that our children understand that they have a responsibility to own our heritage and build on it. There is too much negative noise about Barbados coming from Bajans and that really upsets me.   Q: What is your guiding philosophy? A: Our circumstances do not dictate our destinies.  When we take responsibility for own lives we automatically engage in behaviours that lead to the outcome we want.   Q: If you had the chance to manage Barbados for a day, what would you do? A: Education would be my focus. I would implement a programme to identify a student’s natural aptitude and guide their development accordingly. We are still forcing children into traditional career paths and not giving attention to areas that could create new businesses and take us into our next phase of development. Education should be structured to suit the needs of the society and we are not doing that.