There are always stories of individuals rising to the top, but the most inspiring stories are those of individuals who came from humble beginnings to greatness. Many times, we think people who came from humble beginnings will always remain in that state. However, God has plans for you to prosper. It is just a matter of time before these plans are manifested.
The birth of our great savior Jesus Christ was announced from the Old Testament. It was thousands of years later his birth took place. Interestingly his birth took place in a manger and while on earth he lived a humble life.
David was a humble shepherd and eventually became King. No one perhaps foresaw this progression of a shepherd boy becoming King
Joseph also came from humble beginnings, being sold into slavery, being imprisoned for an act he did not commit but eventually, he was promoted to one of the highest positions in Egypt.
Daniel was in a foreign land and was also promoted to a top position in Babylon.
God is still in business of promotion. After all, promotion comes from God. “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.7 But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.” (Psalms 75:6-7)
This week in the Turks and Caicos, a mighty woman of God in the person of Ruth Gardiner – Forbes has been promoted as the President and CEO of Fortis TCI. This is the first time a Turks and Caicos Islander and a woman will be in this post.
Fortis and the Private Sector
Fortis is a utility company providing electricity to over 15,000 customers in the country. While there are many companies in the private sector, and Beaches is the largest employer in the private sector, we still depend on electricity and while I do not know the financials of either companies, I believe Fortis is the company in the private sector with the highest revenues . Therefore, in my opinion, Fortis is the most important company in the private sector and hence the person that heads Fortis has the highest position in the private sector in TCI.
Ruth is the daughter of the late Bishop Arthur Gardiner and Reverend Violet Handfield-Gardiner. Ruth is the seventh (7th) child of ten children. Ruth is married to Keno Forbes and they have one child by the name of Isaiah Forbes.
Ruth was born on the island of North Caicos and received both her elementary and secondary education right there on North Caicos. After graduating from High School, Ruth attended University of Technology where she received an honours diploma in Business Administration. Thereafter, she worked in the banking industry. Later she received her Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Barry University and received training in accounting at PriceWaterhouse Coopers before moving to Fortis in 2006. You see her early education right here in TCI prepared her for what she is doing today. Her training in TCI prepared her to assume the top role in TCI. Many times, we think education and experience abroad are a must in order to be elevated to the top. However, Ruth is an example that, this is not the case
I remember when Ruth got her first job at Fortis, I was so excited for her because it was a great opportunity and it was difficult for locals to get into the top position in accounting at Fortis at that time. Today almost half of the country locally qualified accountants are working at Fortis.
I also remember when Ruth got her CPA results. Her scores were almost perfect. Ruth is a dedicated and committed person. It is through her dedication and commitment that she succeeded academically from primary to tertiary education.
Like her academics, she is also successful in the workforce and I believe her relationship with God is the primary factor. Ruth grew up in Kermount, Bottle Creek in a Christian environment. She is one of those persons who lived and breathed the word of God daily from a child and because of this, she is blessed. Ruth continues in the trend of her parents serving as a Minister of the gospel at the Rock of Jesus.
Ruth is also active in the community with the establishment of an organization called Jewels Ablaze which is geared to empowering women and young ladies.
Humble beginnings in North Caicos
Most of the Turks and Caicos Islanders adults came from humble beginnings. This was also the case for the Gardiner family especially a family so large. Bishop Arthur Gardiner was a pastor, however, he had to take care of his family, so he was also a contractor working in Pine Cay and Providenciales. In those days, Bishop Gardiner would ensure his family had a box of groceries on a weekly basis and the box had to last for a week until he brought or sent the box for the next week.
Eating chicken was a privilege and was eaten once a week. The other days were sardine and rice and corn beef and rice. Thanks to brothers Andrew and Bobby they were also able to eat fish some days.
Because the family was so big, they could not afford to get two sets of uniforms to wear to school like some other families. The family was only able to purchase one uniform for each of the children. Many families including the Gardiner’s family and my family use to wear hand me downs.
Even having readily access to water was a challenge and so many of the siblings had to tote water in buckets on their heads. Things improved though when the elder siblings Ronald and Deanna started working and were able to assist the family
Growing up in a family where your father was the pastor was a strict environment. They were not allowed to go to any events (not even school events) only church. I believe this paid off well for Ruth and her siblings.
The Gardiners did not have much growing up but the little they had, they shared and helped others. Mr. & Mrs Gardiner would remind their children of the powerful scripture taken from Psalms 37:25 which stated that “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”
Life is very strange. People of humble beginnings were made fun of and laugh at and this is one of the reasons we had division among the Turks and Caicos Islands. Ironically though, the people from humble beginnings have been elevated and are very successful today.
Ruth is my sister in law (my wife’s sister) and so I know Ruth very well. I wish her the best in this role, and I know she will do extremely well with the support of her team at Fortis and of course her family. Finally let me say this I do not think the Turks and Caicos has a gender discrimination issue and so this achievement is celebrated by both males and females.