A year ago on June 7, 2019, I wrote an article entitled “Shame on you Cable & Wireless!” The reason I wrote that article was due to the fact that Cable & Wireless had no intention of hiring a Turks and Caicos Islander (TCI) as the Country Manager for its Turks and Caicos Business Unit when there were qualified locals who applied for the role. One of the applicants at that time was acting in the position for more than a year. The company submitted an application to the Labour Department for approval for an expatriate to assume that role, someone in my opinion who was less qualified than the four local applicants and the current country manager. Thankfully, the Labour Department did not approve the labour clearance. Well Done Labour Department.
Ironically, a year later on June 4, 2020, Cable & Wireless announced the appointment of Ms. Joanne Misick as the country manager for TCI. This is a great milestone not just for Cable & Wireless but for the entire country as very few locals are head of positions in the private sector.
A little History of Cable & Wireless managerial positions
Cable & Wireless, formerly a UK based Telecommunications Company established a branch in TCI in 1898 and was one of the main private sector employers in TCI. Despite the years of experiences by locals, the managerial positions including the position of General Manager were always occupied by expatriates. It was not until the early 1980s (82 years later) that Mr. Earl Malcolm became the Human Resources Manager. Following the footsteps of Mr. Malcolm, was the late Mr. Herbie Ingham who became Manager of the Engineering Department. Then in the 1990s, Mr. Herman (Bernie) Handfield became Manager of the Switching Department. Soon thereafter, all managerial positons were localized except for the top position. Some of the individuals that assumed managerial positons were E Jay Saunders, Clayton Been, Audley Gibbs, Delleriece Hall, Drexwell Seymour, Althea Been, Sonia Gibbs, Wilbert Harvey, Sharlene Gardiner and Lacal Palmer.
It was not until 2006, 108 years later that a local assumed the top positon as the Chief Executive Officer which was yours truly Drexwell Seymour who remained in that position until 2013. In 2015, Mrs. Delleriece Hall became the second local to head Cable & Wireless. In 2020, Ms Joanne Missick became the third local to head Cable & Wireless. (Of course there were others who acted in the role such as Audley Gibbs and Lacal Palmer)
Who is Joanne Missick?
Joanne Missick is a proud Turks and Caicos Islander and is the daughter of the late Mr. Perry Missick and Mrs Nina Missick. She is the mother of three daughters and two sons. She is also a grandmother of two grandsons and two granddaughters.
Joanne graduated from the H. J. Robinson High School in 1983 and shortly thereafter relocated to the USA. She returned home in 1997 and in May 1999, she started her employment at Cable & Wireless as a telephone operator in May 1999. Later, Cable & Wireless outsourced the operator positons and so many employees were either made redundant or were transferred to other departments in the company.
Joanne became the personal assistant to the General Manager and moved to Providenciales where she played a more integral part of the organization. She was one of the best employees that I worked with and became like family. In fact the entire staff of Cable & Wireless was like family. When one hurts, we all felt the pain. An example of this was when Joanne’s sister die.
In 2007 or 2008, we were in desperate need of an account manager in the Sales Department. The telecommunications industry in TCI was different because we were in a competitive environment. I think it was during one of our HOD meetings, Joanne was recommended and was given an opportunity to become an account manager. She was a successful account manager, meeting her targets and putting her clients first by working extremely late hours. She didn’t get pay for working overtime, she did it because she was passionate about her job. Joanne has won a number of awards including top performing sales manager in the region for 2019. She is also a member of the 100 Percent Elite Club in C&W Business and you can only become a member if you exceed your targets by 100%
In 2015, Mrs. Delleriece Hall became the Country Manager and Joanne was the acting Head of Sales. I believed at that time there was a plan to bring in someone to be the Head of Sales but that did not materialized. Later. Joanne was confirmed in the position of Head of Sales. Today, Joanne is the newly appointed Country Manager. The saying is true that “attitude determines your altitude.”
You see Joanne started at the bottom of the scale at Cable & Wireless as an operator and now she is the top person in the firm.
You can do it too
I do hope that Joanne’s story is an inspiration for others to follow. No matter where you are in the firm, you can reach to the top. If you believe you can do the job, apply for it. Don’t ever believe you cannot make it to the top.
Joanne never dreamt that she would one day be at the top but her dream however as child was to work at Cable & Wireless
Too many times we don’t apply for positions because we fear rejection or we feel that the job is secured for someone else. Increase your confidence level and believe in yourself that you can do it.
Now when you get on the job, do the best and be the best so you too can be promoted and be role model for others. I asked Joanne what advice she would give others. Here is her advice. “Never give up and put your trust in God, not men. Even when you think people are not watching, do the right thing. Integrity is vital and it protects your inner peace.”
There are many locals who are qualified for some of the top positions but they are not given an opportunity or they are overlooked. I am not one of those persons that believe that locals should be given a position whether they qualified or not. I believe if you are a local and you are qualified for the position, you should be given preference at all times. With that said, I want to recognize other locals in top positions in the private sector such as Beverly Howell (Point Grace), Adelphine Pitters (West Bay Club), Ira Taylor (Scotia Bank), Becky Glinton and Rudell Williams (First Caribbean Bank), Ruth Forbes and Devon Cox (Fortis), Robert Hall (Provo Water Company) and Stacy Cox (TCHTA)
I want to conclude this article by encouraging the employees and the customers to support Joanne Missick in her role as country manager. It can be very lonely at the top but if you have the support of genuine people it will make the job much better.
Joanne, I declare today that you will do well and make the Turks and Caicos proud.