SMART Women Reach Out to Dorian Survivors
By Felicity Darville
Nov 15, 2019 - 10:30:15 AM

From left to right: Dillette Miller - executive secretary S.M.A.R.T. Women Charlene Paul - S.M.A.R.T. Women Lead Champion Dr. Jacintha Higgs - Director Department of Gender Affairs Marisa Smith - S.M.A.R.T. Women Champion Simone Bowe - Seminar Moderator Linda Baker - S.M.A.R.T. Women Champion. Photo by: Azaleta Ishmael Newry

Sixty-five women who survived the ravages of Hurricane Dorian in Abaco and Grand Bahama were the focus of a special event designed to motivate them, give them practical tips for rebuilding their lives, and provide them with clothing and other essentials as they seek to re-enter the job market.

SMART Women, a campaign designed to “inspire and influence women to build strong communities”, made it a priority to reach out to women who are undoubtedly still recovering from the shock and trauma caused by the deadly Category 5 storm. Some of them plan to return to their home island; others are choosing to stay in the capital and seek employment or start their own businesses here. Whatever it may be, SMART Women wanted them to have the opportunity to network and communicate.

SMART champion Corrina Neely ready to serve at the smart boutique. Photo by: Azaleta Ishmael Newry

The women were given “moments of inspiration” by Dr. Cleopatra Williams of Life Changers Ministries Intl; “tips for presenting your best you” by Nicole Leary, president of the Bahamas Human Resources Association; and interviewing skills and resume writing by Patrice Taylor. Syche McDonald of Bank of the Bahamas spoke on “smart financial products and services” and gave out books and resources to assist the attendees. Zemi Stuart of Drewber Solutions helped the ladies with “budgeting on a shoestring, and SMART Women champion Corrina Neely provided them with mentoring opportunities. Department of Gender & Family Affairs director Dr Jacinta Higgs brought remarks, while Simone Bowe hosted the event.

SMART Women lead champion Charlene Paul gave the statement of purpose and explained that the campaign is fulfilling its mandate to create and develop a network of smart women who enhance, transform and empower a nation” through seminars like this, workshops, conferences, and mentorship. She was backed by SMART Women champions Marisa Smith, Linda Baker and Cheryl Bazard.

Volunteer Denise Woodside joyfully serving guests. Photo by: Azaleta Ishmael Newry

Lunch was served, after which the hosts gave out ‘smart dollars’ to the participants. Attendees used these smart dollars to have fun shopping in a boutique designed just for the. The boutique featured business suits, shoes, make up, bags and other essentials to help the ladies look and feel their best as they rebuild and recover after the storm. Sponsors included Bank of the Bahamas, Commonwealth Bank, Coca Cola, Deloitte and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. There were Haitian interpreters on-hand to ensure that all survivors who attended could benefit.

The Zonta Club of New Providence invited SMART Women to participate with them in a series of events during November and December, all surrounding the UN-sanctioned “16 days of activism” to end gender-based violence around the world. They are also receiving support from the Ministry of Social Services and the National Congress of Trade Union’s Women’s branch. Keep up-to-date with the events by following the groups’ social media pages.

attendees. Photo by: Azaleta Ishmael Newry

#3 Charlene Paul, Nicole Leary (President, Bahamas Human Resources Association), Marisa Smith (S.M.A.R.T. Women Champion) and Patrice Taylor (Bahamas Human Resources Association)Photo by: Azaleta Ishmael Newry

Charlene Paul (S.M.A.R.T. Women Lead Champion), Syche McDonald (Senior Manager Customer Experience - Bank of Bahamas), Renay Miller (Senior Manager Risk - Bank of Bahamas)Photo by: Azaleta Ishmael Newry

One of the winning participants flanked on the left by Mona Bain (Interpreter) and Debbie Paul (Volunteer)Photo by: Azaleta Ishmael Newry

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