My new role as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner for DRI Consulting started officially on January 1, 2022, after years of talking and planning around what an ideal and seamless transition would look like. Of course, it was not completely seamless, but it came pretty close. Five months in, the energy around the ownership transition continues to build.
There are still fine details to iron out and new learning that comes with leading this specific type of organization at this time but –as my grandfather liked to say: “Dis time yasso...” Jamaican patois that signals: “Mark this moment. It is momentous. It is transformative. It matters”. Dis time yasso,
I am building on multiple legacies –the impactful 30-year history of DRIC, 20 years of my own leadership experience, generations of survivors and thrivers who have passed on their wisdom to me, and my family who continue to bless and support me on this new journey. Dis time yasso, there is excitement, determination, and anticipation in every breath.
A few weeks after January 1, my younger sister told me to expect a package. This is nothing strange. As far away as my native Jamaica feels at times, purchases still manage to land there or here through the magic of Amazon, Etsy, or something else. I was thrilled with the token that arrived –a beautiful glass name plate with my name and new title, embossed with our DRIC logo. Such is the nature of my family of origin: supportive, attentive, affirming. My sister, a lawyer, had pored over every legal document created for the ownership transition.
My brother, a marketing specialist, continues to help craft our digital presence, marketing strategy, and sales plans. I am half-Jamaican, half-Tolan (my mum is from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands).I spent most of my life in Jamaica, passing many Summers on sandy beaches, in hilltop retreats, or just playing in our mango-saturated front yard with my siblings. Both parents embodied servant leadership. My mother –a nurse/midwife and educator –and my father –a minister of religion, counsellor, and educator –taught us that everyone was worthy of our attention, love, and service. My first official job was as a missionary to a church in Orkney, Scotland, and most of my working life has focused on facilitating the empowerment of others through education. Education was another family value that I embraced –not just in the traditional sense –but also in terms of curiosity and openness to continuous learning.
To that end, I completed a bachelor’s degree in Pure and Applied Sciences (I thought I wanted to be a medical doctor but was cured of that notion. Let’s just say it would not have been a good fit!). I also completed a second bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a postgraduate certificate in Psychotherapy, master’s degree in Education, and PhD in Psychology. I’m a certified performance coach, and very avid reader. I most recently completed The Vision Driven Leader by Michael Hyatt and Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown. I highly recommend them both. I’ve held leadership positions since childhood, including being head girl at my preparatory school at age 10, through to university president, and now CEO at DRIC. I have grown as a leader by embracing my introversion, trusting my instincts and analysis, and leaning on others even when it’s uncomfortable. I am a good listener and have learned to actively seek to understand needs and perspectives by asking questions, sharing work-in-progress, and pushing back when necessary. And I write –short stories, songs, and mostly poetry. I published my first book of poetry last year, entitled Becoming Wisdom. My hubby Dave and I love to paint and explore beautiful places.
In 2005, as my boss and University President, my father said: “we should offer a master’s degree in consulting psychology”. As with many of his ideas, he threw it out there with the full expectation that it would manifest at lightning speed. He is a visionary after all. He had completed his master’s degree in Consulting Psychology at Harvard back in the 1970’s and saw the need for these skills in public and private sector organizations in Jamaica.
A few years later, with the help of multiple subject matter experts, students graduated with the first accredited master’s degree in Counselling and Consulting Psychology in the Caribbean. As academic dean for the faculty, I studied, I learned, I practiced, and I fell in love. I felt that I had found a field that combined all the professional things I enjoyed –psychology, education, service.
I met our founder, John, when he came to the university in Jamaica to offer training in Consulting Psychology. At 6’8”, he cut an imposing figure and soon filled the room with his gregarious and engaging presence. He delivered solid content on consulting psychology skills, supported virtually by interns in the US. Not long after, I applied for a pseudo-sabbatical that allowed me to complete a post-doc part-time with DRIC.
I enjoyed the work, the systems, and the relationships and continued supporting projects after the post-doc ended. DRIC’s mission aligns very much with my own values: “Bringing out the truest and best in organizations and their people. Love at work –success delivered”. I saw that mission play out daily in the ways we connected with clients, seeking to understand their needs, challenge and support them.
Not only was the work gratifying, but the variety of services we offered meant there was never a dull moment. On one day, I might be leading selection or development assessments. On another day, I might be coaching a new manager. On yet another day, I might be designing or delivering training. I loved it! And I decided to take on a full-time role at DRIC when the opportunity arose.
As DRIC LLC, our mission remains the same. We’re still about bringing out the truest and best in those we serve, and love at work is success to us. We’ve crafted a new vision statement that embodies much of what DRIC has stood for over 30 years.Our valuesare Servant Leadership, Belonging, Achievement, Joy, and Firsts.
We will continue to deliver excellent, client-centered services and will continue to be a highly recognized training shop for aspiring consultants. Our focus over the next few years will involve strengthening our efficiency through increased automation of our processes; expanding our reach to aspiring consultants through Consulting Psychology Corner; and growing our client base, particularly beyond the US market.
We have learned and grown through dynamic relationships with engaged and open clients. Even as we seek to expand, our number one priority will continue to be those who have shared in our growth over the last 30 years.