On March 8, the world recognised the rights of women for another year with the celebration of International Women’s Day. This year, there is a call for better balance in the workplace and a collective effort to create a gender balanced world. While this special occasion allows us to recognise and celebrate the generations of women across the globe for their exceptional work, we cannot forget the tremendous women of our little island that are making a huge impact and changing the game in the corporate world. Lisa Ghany is one of the women of our country that continues to wear many hats and take charge in multiple roles. She might be known as a communications specialist but we believe she is more than that. Lisa is a powerhouse.
Managing Director and founder of Xceptional Events, Lisa (Namsoo) Ghany, has over 30 years experience in Corporate Communications, Marketing, and Corporate Event Management. Lisa is a former senior executive manager with significant experience in developing and implementing successful strategic integrated Marketing and Communications plans. Her specialisation is in Cross Cultural Communication, Protocol, Etiquette and Event Management. She holds a Masters in Protocol and Diplomacy a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Event Management from Leeds Metropolitan University and is a Certified and Licensed Protocol and Etiquette trainer, and the first Internationally Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) in the Caribbean.
She is the mother of two amazing daughters, Saara and Sofiyah Ghany. Lisa is a former advisor to the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago (2011-2015) and is an adjunct lecturer for the George Washington University Events Management Program at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business.
Lisa not only thrives in her career in the areas aforementioned but has many more affiliations:
- Event and Sponsorship Committee Chair and Honorary Board member of the Down Syndrome Family Network
- Operations Consultant for the John E Sabga Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer
- Member of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce
- Member of Meeting Planners International (MPI)
- Member of International Live Events Association
- Executive member of PLOTT, Powerful Women of Trinidad and Tobago
The XX Team got a chance to speak to Lisa as we continue to celebrate International Women’s Day. She has shared with us her views on the theme for International Women’s Day for 2019-“Balance For Better.” Here’s what she shared with us.
XX: On International Women’s Day, what is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
LG: I would like to encourage young women to spend some time first getting to know themselves and understanding their own strengths weaknesses and talents. These are the things that make you unique and will help you to succeed and differentiate yourself in a very competitive market place. Try to identify what you are passionate about, this will guide you to decide on the job that is right for you. Develop your emotional intelligence and critical thinking capabilities in order to make yourself more adaptable. Become innovative and don’t be afraid to take risks. When you make the decision on what you want to be, educate and train yourself.
In today’s world, change is a given when we prepare ourselves mentally we can become more resourceful when it comes to career choices and changes.
XX: With the IWD theme for 2019 being Balance for Better, can you tell us what balance in the workplace means to you?
LG: Balance in the workplace for me would start with organisational change that would help to build diverse and inclusive organisations that challenge stereotypes and bias.
•Women having an equal opportunity to be considered for any role in the organisation that they are qualified for at the same salary as their male colleagues.
•Communication channels to allow women the opportunity to speak out and be represented on issues affecting them.
•Organisational Policy to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace and education and training programs geared to creating more awareness about sexual harassment.
•To be provided with a support structure that caters to family life and wellness.
XX: What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting a career in Corporate Communications and other related fields?
LG: I would advise them to make their career choice based on what they are passionate about and what brings them joy and fulfillment. Work is meant to bring us a sense of pride and passion and provide us with the financial rewards that can provide a lifestyle of security and comfort. Choose wisely and invest in your self-development and training. Never stop improving yourself and adding to your skill set. Learn from others and always be willing to give back to your community and your industry. Broaden your horizons through travel and international exposure.
XX: Can you tell us about a female role model who has inspired you over your career?
LG: It is hard to identify one role model as I feel that I have had many female role models in my life, starting in my family where my I was raised by my father’s sisters who were selfless women who looked after me and loved me unconditionally. My mother who I grew closer to as I got older and who had many personal challenges was a woman of great strength and beauty whose resilience I know I have inherited. My teachers at St Joseph Convent, led by the late Sr Paul D’ornelas, led by example and instilled in me respect and discipline. My inner circle of friends who are all beautiful intelligent and strong ladies have stood by me all my life and have helped me to survive the not so good times, from them I have learnt and experienced loyalty, compassion and great happiness.
When I entered the working world, I started in the financial sector where I met many strong women managers with a great work ethic. In the area of Corporate Communications, many of my colleagues have laid the foundation for the industry as we know it today. Mrs Denise Demming, Ms Lisa Burkett, Mrs Anna Maria Garcia Brooks, Mrs Sandra Welch Farrell among others. I believe that we are shaped by the influences of many persons along our journey and these people inspire you to become better and to keep on challenging yourself.
XX: How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?
LG: Women have always had a network and friendships and they will continue to bond with each other for support and to share their stories and in doing so they will continue to lift each other up.
As a society we need to focus more on building a strong community of people who are responsible, honest and respectful of each other. We need to lift each other up in a positive way regardless of gender. Men and women, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters we all have a role to play.
International Women’s Day is not only about advocating for better rights for women in the workplace and society but for celebrating all that women are and what they do to contribute to our country and our world.