JIS News

Distinguished, pioneering, passionate, and committed, are a few of the outstanding traits exhibited by recipient of the Management Institute of National Development’s (MIND) inaugural Public Life Award for Leadership Excellence, Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) Managing Director, Scarlette Gillings.

The award, which was presented to her during the recent staging of MIND’s annual Leadership Development Conference, recognizes innovations in governance and leadership excellence in the public sector.

Mrs. Gillingswas selected for the award, based on her extensive professional and philanthropic background. This has seen her being involved in developing policies and implementing programmes and projects, targetting persons deemed among the society’s most vulnerable. These include women, children, and the elderly.

She also contributes extensively to local and international efforts aimed at addressing issues specific to professional women, through her work with the International Women’s Forum (IWF), Women Business Owners (WBO); and Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI).

Speaking with JIS News after receiving the award, Mrs. Gillings expressed sincere gratitude for the recognition bestowed on her by MIND, while intimating her wish to “continue working as long as I can and to make a contribution”

A former Director of the Women’s Bureau, Mrs. Gillings describes herself as a “strong advocate” for gender issues, while underscoring the need for greater focus on efforts to effectively address issues that precipitate violence against women. In this regard, she challenges institutions, such as the universities, to make this a priority undertaking.

Mrs. Gillings, who holds a Master’s Degree in Development Studies, specializing in rural development and gender, from the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, Netherlands and an undergraduate degree in Social Work from the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, St. Andrew, has been at the helmof JSIF, since 1996.

In her capacity as Managing Director, she has been instrumental in coordinating the agency’s national social development programmes, as well as donor-assisted technical assistance projects, targetting community development islandwide.

Having seen the transformational changes resulting for these undertakings,

Mrs. Gillings expressed the hope that JSIF “will perform to the point where communities and persons deemed marginalized are assisted and given equal opportunities in the society.”

Speaking at the conference, MIND’sChief Executive Officer, Ruby Brown, noted that this year’s theme: “Leadership in Action: Supporting the Vision, EnGENDERing Transformation”, assisted greatly in determining the awardee.

“Each year, the theme of the conference will impact the selection criteria for the award. And so, this year, in keeping with the theme…special focus was placed on gender, with the criteria including the recipient… also having demonstrated leadership in advancing gender equity, equality and balance,” Mrs. Brown outlined, while describing Mrs. Gillings as a role model to be emulated by the others in the society.

By Judith A. Hunter, JIS Reporter

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