Feature
Principal Director, Public Sector Modernisation Programme, Office of the Cabinet, Wayne Roberston, presents Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Public Relations Officer, Judith Hunter, with a plaque for 26 years of service to the agency. Chief Executive Officer at the JIS, Donna-Marie Rowe, shares in the moment.The presentation was made at the company's annual Christmas Soiree, held recently at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew.
Photo: Rudranath Fraser

Story Highlights

  • Veteran public relations officer at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Judith Hunter and dedicated telephone operator, Georgene Smith not only share similarities in their over two decades of distinguished service to the government agency but also their passion for the job.
  • Both spoke glowingly about their tenure at the JIS after they were recognised for 26 years of dedicated service, at the company’s Christmas Soirée held recently at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew.
  • The award, which came as a surprise, will no doubt be remembered as one of their most cherished moments on the job.

Veteran public relations officer at the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Judith Hunter and dedicated telephone operator, Georgene Smith not only share similarities in their over two decades of distinguished service to the government agency but also their passion for the job.

Both spoke glowingly about their tenure at the JIS after they were recognised for 26 years of dedicated service, at the company’s Christmas Soirée held recently at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew.

The award, which came as a surprise, will no doubt be remembered as one of their most cherished moments on the job.

“I was shocked, honestly. I never expected it, but it feels good to be recognised by your peers,” Hunter says after collecting her plaque.

Principal Director, Public Sector Modernisation Programme, Office of the Cabinet, Wayne Roberston, presents Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Public Relations Officer, Judith Hunter, with a plaque for 26 years of service to the agency. The presentation was made at the company’s annual Christmas Soiree, held recently at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew.

 

“I felt excited and surprised to the point where my knees were so weak, I almost fell to the ground. It brought tears to my eyes,” Smith recalls.

“It means a lot to me that the company I dedicated so many years to recognised me for the many years of service,” she adds.

Hunter started out in 1992 as a Payroll Officer at the now defunct JAMPRESS, which was responsible for the print and photography functions of the JIS.

When the JIS became an executive agency in 2001, Hunter was appointed as an Administrative Assistant in the Public Relations and Marketing Department before her promotion to Public Relations Officer (PRO).

Hunter, who says she dreamt of being a teacher or a social worker as a child, has no regrets about her career path.

“I don’t think I would want to change my career now,” she says, noting that she is enjoying her alternative dream job.

“I am afforded the opportunity to be a member of an inter-ministerial team, which plans national events, for example, State and official visits; State and official funerals; and local, regional and international conferences,” she says.

She notes that working on the State visits of President Obama and Prince Harry were among the highlights of her career.

“There has never been a boring day for me at the JIS. I attend most national events and I have had the opportunity to rub shoulders with world leaders and be a part of some of the historic events in Jamaica. I feel at home here… . We are a family,” Hunter says.

Hunter, who has previously been voted as an Employee of the Quarter and has been recognised by her department for her stellar work, is an affable and delightful team player.

She has been drafted on the National Child Month Planning Committee and the Praedial Larceny Committee and is also the JIS Media Accreditation/Liaison Officer.

The doting mother of two, who has studied at the University of the West Indies Open Campus and at the University Commonwealth College, says being at the JIS has significantly advanced her personal growth and development.

“I have learnt so much both academically, culturally, socially and professionally, so for me the growth has been tremendous,” she says.

Hunter says she looks forward to continuing her remarkable work at the JIS in the years to come and hopes to be remembered as a model employee, who inspires others to strive for the highest level of professionalism.

“I would want to think that as the face of the JIS at scores of national events, I have represented the agency well and that those who are her, model my professionalism in how I go about doing my job,” she says.

Meanwhile, Smith started at the JIS Television Department on August 3, 1993, after moving from the Office of the Services Commission where she had worked as a clerical officer.

Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Donna-Marie Rowe (right) shares in the moment as Principal Director, Public Sector Modernisation Programme, Office of the Cabinet, Wayne Roberston (left), presents a plaque to Telephone Operator at the JIS Television Department, Georgene Smith, for 26 years of service to the agency. The presentation was made at the company’s annual Christmas Soirée, held recently, at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in St. Andrew.

 

The bubbly telephone operator describes her time at the JIS as a journey she will never forget or regret.

“Working at the JIS has changed my life in many different ways. It allows me to take advantage of opportunities that I wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise,” she says.

“I love everything about my job, but most of all I get to interact with so many different types of people from all walks of life both on the phone and in person and also in the office.

I also get to learn new things and demonstrate good customer service with the clients, which has blossomed into lifelong friendships,” says Smith, who once had ambitions of becoming a secretary.

The dedicated mother of one, who is trained in customer service and telephone techniques, prides herself on offering excellent customer service to those she interacts with on a daily basis.

She says it is the positive feedback from internal and external customers that played a role in her decision to make JIS her home for so long.

“My decision was influenced by the fact I have built a foundation working with staff members, who like the job that I have done and the customers, who give me thumbs-up for how I answer the telephone and assist them. It feels like home away from home,” Smith says.

Smith, who is described by her team members as caring, trustworthy, loyal and candid, believes that she has served the JIS well and wants to leave a mark that will be remembered long after she is retired.