Amazing Jamaicans: February

Amazing Alsion – I have not known Alsion for very long, but it doesn’t take you much time to notice that this is a woman with a big heart, a clear vision and great shoes! She is a true lady boss, which enables her to get things done, stand out in the financial world, and give back to her homeland with great style and panache. With New York Fashion Week, St. Valentine Day, and Jamaica Day all falling in February, Lady Alsion is the person who came to mind for this month’s Amazing Jamaicans post.

I met Alsion in September 2016 when Prime Minister Andrew Holness gave his first address at the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New  York. I was able to join the Jamaican delegation in the General Assembly Hall and meet the prime minister afterwards, thanks to the travel team at Finn Partners and Alsion, president and CEO of the Alsion Roach Group.

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There is no doubt Alsion is a force to be reckoned with, but she does it with grace. She runs her own firm in New York, has a stellar career in the financial services industry, and still finds time to be an official ‘unofficial’ ambassador for Jamaica. While we were at the Jamaican American Chamber of Commerce, I remember seeing her working behind the scenes to organize the Jamaican contingency going over to the U.N. – a smooth operator with some ‘wicked’ stilettos. I later learned that Alsion is also a long-time sponsor of Books 4 Kids Jamaica, a program to help increase literacy and promote a positive educational experience by providing books and early educational materials to children in pre-schools across Jamaica.

However, I think the most impressive part about meeting Alsion was also meeting the two young women on her team and seeing how she interacted with them. She was a boss lady, but also a mentor. I’ve been working in women’s issues for a long time. We talk a lot about women’s leadership and empowerment, but there are a lot of women, who lead like men. However, there is something to be said about the feminine qualities in leadership that encourage creativity, inclusiveness, generosity, empathy and balance. And then, there are women leaders who lead like women. Alsion is one of those women.

img_9479You’ve probably heard this before, ‘Act like a lady, think like a boss’. This phrase summarizes it all. I know that being a leader is not the same as being a boss, but being either one doesn’t mean you need to stop acting like a lady.

It’s funny that her Instagram is actually @LadyAlsion. She is a wonderful example of how a lady boss empower others and creates opportunities for others around her to be included and grow. She also exemplifies perseverance, a strong work ethic, sheer determination and multi-tasking skills. We need more women in positions of power who can be mentors and can cultivate a workplace environment that embraces the feminine.

Cheers to you Lady Alsion! Can you hear the clinking of crystal champaign glasses? To an amazing year ahead filled with much love, happiness, health and success.

BACKSTORY:

The Alsion Roach Business Group, Inc. was formed to pursue high quality entertainment opportunities with a special emphasis on projects and activities that positively promote Caribbean culture with particular emphasis on promoting Jamaica. It is an extension of the Alsion Roach Group of New York, LLC (ARG). The firm offers consulting and advisory services to private and public sector entities and entrepreneurs in emerging markets seeking to access global cross-border capital markets. With extensive international capital markets experience and relationships, ARG matches businesses seeking to raise capital to available sources of capital or financing. I was introduced to Alsion through Gail Moaney, a managing partner and the director of the Travel/Lifestyle practice at Finn Partners. Gail’s team represents the Jamaica Tourist Board. When Gail could not attend the meeting with the prime minister, I was nominated to represent the firm.

CRAZY COINCIDENCE #1:

After meeting Alsion and posting photos on Instagram, a Jamaican friend of mine, Gayle, asked me how I knew Astami, one of Alsion’s employees from Indonesia. They used to do tai kwon do together and she saw a picture of us together on social media. Small world.

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Astami, Alsion, and I on our way to the United Nations.

 

CRAZY COINCIDENCE #2:

A few weeks later, I went to the opening of ‘Negotiated Realities’, a group exhibit at Columbia University. My friend, Simon (also an Amazing Jamaican), was showing his work. Who do I run into when I arrive? Astami. She knew one of the artists in the show. Then Allison, a Jamaican friend from high school, who I had not seen in years, showed up. She knew the curator and was not expecting to see Simon or myself. Then I was explaining how I knew Astami through Alsion and the whole story came out. It was just one of those crazy nights. Small, small world!

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