MIAMI — Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey P. Marks was warmly received by students and faculty of the Nova Southern University, when she toured the campus in Davie, on April 12, during her first official visit to South Florida.
Ambassador Marks was invited to her alma mater as guest lecturer of the 2011 Distinguished Guest Lecture Series, having attained her Masters Degree in Business Administration from the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship of that prestigious tertiary institution.
Dean of the Business School, Dr. Michael Fields, welcomed the Ambassador to the campus, noting that the entire campus population shared in the pride, as one of their own had used her education to build an incredible career as an entrepreneur, and now a world class diplomat.
Ambassador Marks was on a four-day official visit to the South Florida community since assuming her post last May as Jamaica’s first female Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the Organisation of American States (OAS).
A surprise moment came when the Ambassador recognised one of her then lecturers in the audience, Distinguished Professor of Management and Clinical Psychology, Dr. Timothy McCartney, who described her as “an ambitious and bright student while she pursued her studies."
In her address, Ambassador Marks challenged the students to use education as an object of the highest importance in their journey. “Be the role models that you would want for yourself,” she told them.
The Ambassador said that her return to Jamaica after completing her studies, was not an easy one, having tried several business ventures, before finding one that brought her success. She reminded them not to be daunted by the challenges they would encounter in their career pursuit.
Ambassador Marks indicated that part of her mandate is to enhance the relationship between both countries, increasing areas of trade and investment, while strengthening the Diasporic community.
At a reception that followed the lecture, Ambassador Marks received a plaque with a citation, in recognition of her success, from the University President, Dr. George Hanbury, who lauded her success and accomplishments.
In the evening, Ambassador Marks was guest at a Meet and Greet reception hosted by Nova University, in association with the Consulate General of Jamaica, in the Steele Auditorium, also housed on the campus.
A large number of Jamaicans and friends of the Diaspora joined the Ambassador for the informal interaction.
In her remarks, Consul General, Sandra Grant Griffiths, welcomed the Ambassador to the second largest community of Jamaican nationals across the United States.
There was also a brief question and answer session moderated by Marlon Hill, advisory representative of the Jamaica Diaspora, Southern USA.
Among her many accomplishments, the Ambassador founded Paymaster (Jamaica) Limited, a multi-transaction company, in 1997. The first of its kind in the Caribbean, Paymaster operates payment agencies from which all types of bill payments and remittances can be made, serving over one million customers and providing employment for nearly 400 persons, with annual transactions of more than $40 billion.
Ambassador Marks also holds the distinction of being the first female President of the American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica (AMCHAM). The 25-year-old chamber was established in 1986 to promote trade and investment between Jamaica and the USA, to maintain a cordial climate between the public and private sectors of both countries, and to promote a greater understanding between their people.