In the spirit of International Women’s Day, I wanted to spread awareness of exactly how influential we are as a gender. As a teenager, I went to the Ursuline Convent, which for those who don’t know, is a Roman Catholic School for girls. As a result, I was exposed to a lot of inspiring female role-models, from teachers, to students to Ursuline Sisters. While I believe that there are many contributing factors to the success of a woman (or anyone for that matter) which go well beyond the school environment, I wanted to show how far we have all come as a group since we walked through those school halls together a decade ago, so I reached out to as many people in my year as I could find, and this is what I found…..
Where are they now….
After secondary school Ann-Marie pursued an Associate Degree in Biology, Chemistry and Maths from Barbados Community College for 2 years. She then joined the Pharmacy Program for 3 years and achieved an Associate Degree in Pharmacy. She is currently working as a successful pharmacist at iMart Pharmacy and recently got married in 2016 to her darling husband Jason Mayhew.
Amanda Wiltshire (Alleyne)
Amanda is currently a teacher at a Wills Primary School in Barbados, and absolutely loves what she does. She considers it a blessing to mould the lives of the children in her classroom and is happy to be making a difference. Since leaving St. Ursula’s School she has started a family and has a wonderful son, who is the best decision she has made in her entire life. Amanda has a passion and desire for being a strong individual and a positive example to others. She lives by the principle that everyone has something going on in their life. So always remember to have compassion and understanding.
Paloma holds an Associate degree in Hospitality Studies from PomMarine (BCC). When her father was appointed Ambassador of Barbados to the US, she moved with her family to Washington, DC in 2009, where they visited the Whitehouse and met President Obama. She did an exchange semester at Ryerson University in Toronto and then completed her BS in Hotel & Lodging Management at Johnson & Whales University in the US where she made the Deans list 2 trimesters in a row. In 2013 Paloma graduated with her MBA in Global Business Leadership with a concentration in marketing. She then worked in a Marriott hotel in Washington, DC for one year before deciding to move to Madrid, Spain for a year where she studied Spanish and traveled Europe. She has recently moved back to DC in search of her next move.
After leaving St. Ursula’s School, Carla attended The Barbados Community College where she pursued an Associate Degree in Business Studies and graduated with a Barbados Exhibition. In 2008, Carla attended the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Banking and Finance with First Class Honours. On completing her undergraduate degree in 2011, she was recruited by KPMG, an international professional services firm, where she worked as an auditor for over 3 years. During that time, she obtained her ACCA designation and in 2015 became a qualified accountant. Currently, she works as the Financial Controller in her family business, Firgos Eastern Caribbean Limited.
After graduating from The Convent Meghan pursued an Associate Degree in Biology, Chemistry and Physics from Barbados Community College. In 2013 she moved to The Bahamas to finish her final 2 years of university and just last year she graduated from University of the West Indies, Mona Campus with a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management. She still resides in New Providence, The Bahamas where she works at Sandals Royal Bahamian as a Restaurant Manager. She is currently the youngest employed manager at this property.
After St. Ursula’s Brittany attended The Barbados Community College where she received an Associate Degree with Credit in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics and was also awarded a Barbados Exhibition. She then decided to pursue a medical career at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus. She completed her MBBS degree in 2013, graduating with Honors and receiving awards in Surgery and Obstetrics and Gynecology for outstanding achievement of honors in these areas. Brittany currently works as a general practitioner, teaches medical students at UWI and is involved in research. She plans to pursue residency training in the USA in the near future.
Paige pursued her Associates Degree in Business Studies at The Barbados Community College; she then pursued her Bachelors in management at the University of the West Indies where she earned upper first class honors. She finished her studies at the University of Leeds in England, with a distinction in her Masters in Marketing and Advertising. Her dissertation was subsequently published in the Journal of Brand Management. She returned to Barbados where she became an Account Executive at one of the leading design strategy companies- Blueprint Creative, where she worked for two years. After being offered the position of Marketing Officer at Globe Finance a year and a half ago she is now responsible for all marketing, branding and advertising for the company. Outside of her main profession, her true love is a business she started called Indulge Pastries and Desserts. After just two years of operations, her business has become well known and offers a range of decadent cakes, cookies and sweet and savory treats.
After graduating from St. Ursula’s, Amanda obtained her Bachelor of Management degree in Finance and Administration from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. After graduating in 2013, she moved to Edmonton, Alberta with her fiancé and now works at a large post-secondary institution, where she has fulfilled various roles in Applied Research Grant Administration and Program Administration. Amanda has hopes of returning to school within the next 5 years to obtain her MBA and further her career aspirations of working in a management position for a not-for-profit. Amanda is getting married in Barbados on April 23rd, 2016 to her Fiancé, Anthony Bruni. They are seriously discussing the possibility of moving to Barbados in the near future to raise a family.
Natasha Mahadeo (Dhanraj)
After high school Natasha pursued an A Level in Psychology. Over the course of 3 years she had two jobs, one as an assistance teacher and the other as a personal aid to an Austic child. In 2011 she went on to study for a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from UWI Cavehill. After graduating, she got married in 2012 to her husband Robindra and has been happily married for 3 years. She continued her studies and has since earned a total of 4 certificates: 2 from Ashworth College – A Certificate in Nutrition, Diet, and Health Science, and a Certificate in Professional Child Care. She earned another 2 through PDS Training – Dealing with anger and rage in children and working with bereaved children. In 2015 Natasha then became a certified Guidance Counselor. After a busy life of studying she is now taking a break to be a full time mom to a beautiful little 1-year-old girl. She wants her next accomplishment to be a Masters in Clinical and Counseling Psychology.
After leaving the convent, Julie studied Math, Literature and Spanish Literature at the Barbados Community College. She graduated with distinction from all three subjects. Julie then went to the Big Apple, NYC where she attended New York University (NYU). She completed her Bachelor’s degree in 2.5 years earning a Bachelors in Mathematics and a minor in Business Studies. In 2010 Julie started her first job at a Digital Advertising start up called Six Spoke Media. Where she grew from a strategist to a director in 5 years managing a team of 6 people under her. In July 2015, Julie accepted a job at Microsoft, where she is now, on a brand new team strategizing on how to monetize the new windows 10 with the top strategic advertisers in the USA. Julie’s love for travel has only grown with time, averaging 27 countries so far. And her main hobbies include reading, kickboxing and cooking!
Since graduation, Robyn has attained an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts and a Certificate in Catering from Barbados Community College, PomMarine. During her time there, NIFCA awarded her a gold medal and Incentive Award for an alcoholic Liqueur she named ‘Island Rum Crème’. Robyn owned her own Catering business from 2007- 2009, and was subsequently hired at Walt Disney World. Her work experience stretches across the tourism industry island-wide, including Accra Beach Hotel, Aquamist Restaurant, Turtle Beach Hotel and Hutchie’s. She is currently furthering her education in Law at the University of the West Indies.
Talisa attended The Barbados Community College Hospitality Institute and gained an Associates Degree In Applied Science, majoring in Culinary Arts. She has since gained diverse work experience at Ackee Tree, Paulo’s Churrasco Bagatelle, Island Caterers and RedJet. She is currently enjoying her position at a small Law firm called Daher & Associates, and is aspiring to do a Paralegal Course. As a hobby she still practices culinary arts by catering to small gatherings and making Trinidadian Pastels with the goal of expanding this to a proper business that she can call her own. She truly cherished her time in school. Looking forward to the years ahead, she hopes that we all make it out on top!
After leaving the Ursuline Convent Raenelle went on to pursue Computer Studies. A car accident forced her to pause her education to recover, and subsequently Raenelle decided to follow a career in Nursing at Barbados Community College. After achieving her Associate Degree in Applied Science, she is now a Registered Nurse working at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, with experience in both medicine and surgery. Raenelle is now happily engaged to Jamell Skeete, and awaiting her acceptance to The University of Derby where she is going on to do her Bachelors in Nursing.
Annalee Smith (Johnson)
After high school Annalee chose to stay on our little rock and took a few courses in Early Childhood Education at Erdiston Teachers Training College and Business Management at BIMAP. She received certificates while working in a preschool and eventually as an Au-pair for 3 years. However, since 2011 she has been doing the books for a villa rental/management company. In 2013 she married her wonderful husband, Joel Smith and is now expecting their first child!
Over the last 10 years Sasha’s main priority has been school. She attended Miami Dade College and earned both an Associates in General Management and a Bachelors in Supervision and Management. She is currently working on getting a Masters in Hospitality Management at Florida International University, where she will finally graduate in May. Sasha has also gained invaluable experience in different work environments; the most memorable being at the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association and the Conrad Hotel. She has also had the wonderful opportunity to travel, and spent a year in both Canada and California. She’s also visited Italy- Venice, Florence and Rome, New York, North Carolina, Las Vegas and Texas.
Jameela Kirton (Kola)
Jameela is now married to her high school sweetheart Jason Kirton (Shocker). After 4 years, they have a beautiful 3 year old daughter, Hailee Louise Kirton, who is truly a blessing and has filled Jameela’s life with such joy from the day she was born! Jameela has a Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management and a Master’s in Management with a Specialization in Marketing from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. She is now the Villa Rentals Manger at ASK Real Estate and Financial Services, and specializes in holiday rentals, concierge and property management services for various condominiums across Barbados. She is also in the process of launching a new business in a totally different sector and looks forward to this exciting journey.
After secondary school Michelle attended Appleby College in Oakville, Ontario for 2 years. After graduating from Appleby, she spent an additional year in Canada before returning to Barbados for part time work. She spent 6 months in Costa Rica in 2009 perfecting her Spanish and then spent approximately a year in the UK in 2012. She now lives and works in Barbados in the Real Estate Industry and couldn’t be happier!
Stephanie Marshall went to a couple of universities and got a few degrees in politics and such like. These earned pieces of fancy paper made Stephanie acutely aware that politics is largely a waste of time – for her anyway. So after a short string of jobs that involved sitting at a desk and making polite chit-chat in the tea room, she quit the 9-to-5 and started a small catering company to host supper clubs and bake bespoke cakes for lovely customers. Though she still does the odd cake on the side, Steph is now the pastry chef at a small but popular restaurant. Stephanie lives in London with her darling husband (British, but not the posh kind) and dreams of getting a dog.
After finishing school at St. Ursula’s, Fay moved to England to study for her A-Levels. She then undertook a degree in Law at the University of Cambridge, graduating in 2011 in the top 10% of her year. After graduating, Fay interned with the European Union in Barbados before starting a research and policy position in London. Recently, Fay accepted a new position at a law firm in New York and moved at the beginning of this month!
Shani moved on to The Barbados Community college after graduating from secondary school, gaining a 3.8 final GPA in Mass Communications and a Barbados Exhibition scholarship. She also gained a scholarship to study Media and Communications at the University of Leicester in England, and finished with a first class degree. After working more generally in Marketing for around 2 years, she decided to specialise in digital content writing and editing. She now enjoys doing contract work for institutions like: the Royal Society of the Arts, the Museum of London and now London’s City Hall. With a fellow ‘mass-comm’ colleague, she is looking to launch a website for the global Caribbean community
After graduating from the Ursuline Convent, Kathy-Ann achieved Associate Degrees in Information Technology, Accounts and Visual Arts from Barbados Community College and subsequently gained experience as a full time Graphic Designer at Identity Design. She is currently responsible for all social and print media output from the spa at which she currently works, while pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design. More recently, Kathy-Ann has interned at BCB Communications and has also won 2 Graphic Design competitions with her outstanding submissions. One for the Government of Barbados and the other for Massy United Insurance. She currently runs her own design company, Moonchild Creative and has 2 start-up companies on the drawing board.
Leigh-Ann left St. Ursula’s and went to school in Canada, later graduating from The University of Guelph with a B. Comm. in Hotel & Food Administration. She then moved back home and quickly began working with Bajan Services Ltd./Blue Sky Luxury as a Property Manager, where her position has positively evolved and grown over the last 3 years. Outside of education and career, she is in a very happy relationship and living with her boyfriend and pup, Frankie.
Mikaela went on to the Barbados Community College where she obtained her Associates Degree in Law and History and was awarded a Barbados Exhibition. She then furthered her education at the University of West Indies and graduated with her Bachelors of Law (LLB) in 2011. Upon completing her undergraduate degree she then obtained her Legal Education Certificate (LEC) at the Hugh Wooding Law School of Trinidad and Tobago in 2013 and was subsequently admitted to the practice of law in Barbados in October of that same year. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Corporate and Commercial Law (LLM) as well as enjoying the joys of being a mother to her baby daughter Catherine.
Danielle St. John
After secondary school, Danielle attended high school in Canada at Appleby College. There she studied for 2 years, graduating as an Ontario Scholar. Following that, she was awarded the President’s Scholarship and attended the University of Waterloo for 4 years, majoring in Geography and Environmental Management & Arts and Business, with a specialization in Human Resources Management. Since then, she’s pursued a career in education at both the University of Waterloo and Appleby College, where she was the interim Director of Alumni Relations as well as the Manager of Donor Relations. Danielle recently returned to Barbados and joined the Going Places Travel team as their Special Projects Manager.
Leaving the Ursuline Convent Brigitte acquired an Associate Degree in Math, Chemistry and Biology from Barbados Community College in 2008. She then went from island girl to city girl when she travelled to Canada, where she studied to get a 4-year BSc in Biology from the University of Toronto. In 2012 she moved to Wales, where she achieved a second degree in Optometry at the University of Cardiff. 3 years later she has gone from city girl to country girl, and now practices as a Pre-Registration Graduate Optometrist in Wiltshire, England. Sometimes she likes to write stuff on her blog – The Optimistic Optometrist.
After leaving St Ursula’s school, Amanda acquired an Associate Degree with Distinction in Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics from the Barbados Community College in June 2008, at which time she was awarded a Barbados Exhibition. From there, she moved to Trinidad and Tobago where she pursued the first 3 years of her medical degree at UWI, St Augustine Campus. Then, she returned to Barbados and completed her 5-year MBBS degree in June 2013, receiving Honours in Surgery. In June 2014, she successfully completed her internship year at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and since has been working as a registered General Practitioner in private practice in Barbados. During this time, she has been highly involved in Diabetes Research, earning publications, and has successfully completed US Medical Licensure exams in hope of practicing Internal Medicine in the USA in the near future.
I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of those who agreed to take part in this post. I’m so happy to see how far all of us have come and you should all be so proud of your accomplishments, I think I speak for everyone when I say I’m so grateful to have gone to school with such an amazing group of women, who have so much to offer the world. It was truly wonderful to hear from all of you again and I appreciate your willingness to share your life and progress with me and the rest of my followers!
Lots of love, Brigitte xo