Lavern Reid: Exceeding the Norms – Jamaica Observer

Laverne Reid

WITHOUT a doubt, Lavern Communications Specialist Jacqueline Reid considers achieving International Certification by the Global Communication Certification Council as a Strategic Communications Management Professional (SCMP) in May this year to be her greatest professional achievement. nowadays. SCMP is internationally accredited to ISO (17024) and Reid says the certification attests to its skills in consulting and leadership, management, innovation in strategic development, ethics and reputation management.

“It’s a significant achievement in my field, and I have extra confidence now that I’ve proven myself. I plan to constantly refresh my knowledge to stay current and at the top of my game,” she said. Any Woman.

“When I returned to the workforce in 2014 after an eight-year hiatus to care for my two young boys, I realized that in the meantime technological developments had taken my profession into uncharted waters. (at least for me), ” she wrote in Catalystthe official publication of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

“Social media platforms, which had previously been a space for cute family photos and informal news commentary, had become the go-to place for many interactions. There was a wide range of technologies I had to deal with. accustomed to if I wanted to be relevant and communicate effectively in a professional environment.

Karl McLarty

“So began my journey to certification. I was already a Certified Business Communicator (among the first group of three Jamaicans to receive this designation from IABC), but now I needed to update my corpus work and my skills to match the dynamism of an ever-changing marketing and communications landscape. I began cautiously, then with growing confidence, to unpack the potential of vlogs, short videos, wikis of group and podcasts.

She said she was lucky to continue working as a consultant, which allowed her to accumulate experience in various sectors.

“But with a busy schedule at work and home, I was unable to pass the certification exam as quickly as expected. COVID-19 has brought the blessing of working remotely. Without the morning commutes and evening, I had extra hours to read and network with The IABC Foundation Excellence Gift for my exam application was the last encouragement I needed I submitted my application and started to seriously prepare myself.

“I bent over The IABC guide to practical business communication, the IABC Code of Ethics, and a selection of online articles on test topics. I enrolled in online training courses to fill gaps in my skills and knowledge and continued to volunteer as an assessor for the postgraduate course in Integrated Marketing and Communications at a local university . I also received excellent advice and encouragement from other members of the outgoing IABC Ethics Committee who had already gone through the process.”

In May 2022, she took advantage of a short vacation in Toronto, Canada to take the exam. It was harder than expected, but she returned to Jamaica as the only SCMP on the island.

Reid, who has over 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors in the Caribbean and Europe, including the United Nations and academia, has held positions such as strategic communications advisor, editor/speechwriter , corporate protocol trainer and media relations manager. .

She enjoys employee engagement, crisis communication and event management, and is multilingual.

“I am the first Jamaican, the second in the Caribbean, to hold this certification,” she said. Any Woman.

Hailing from the cool hills of Coleyville, Manchester, Reid is part of a group of communicators reviving the Jamaican chapter of IABC so that private and public sector communicators can network, share ideas, develop and be mentored.

“We are really committed to this and plan to launch soon. Both seasoned and aspiring communicators are encouraged to participate,” she said, leading them to contact [email protected].

The former Knox College High School student’s first job was teaching modern languages ​​(English, Spanish, French), but she quit the class because she wanted to write.

“I joined the Jamaica Information Service as an account manager and first developed my communication and public relations skills there. Practicing public relations did not come easily to me as I was naturally calm and reserved, but I worked hard to improve my confidence,” she said.

She has held other positions including Information Officer at the High Commission of Jamaica in London, Communications Management Consultant with UNICEF in Geneva, Switzerland, the Delegation of the EU in Jamaica and Lecturer (Media Ethics) at Webster International University, Geneva.

She said her criterion for success is to consistently exceed the standards expected of practitioners in her field.

“In my personal interactions, I aim for authenticity, caring, and thoughtfulness. One of my favorite phrases is, ‘Why have cotton when you can have silk?’ than to my children) to never compromise and to give 100% in everything.”

A typical day for Reid starts with a cup of coffee or herbal tea, after which she hangs out with the family’s two dogs, Roxie and Charlie. Then she joins the other commuters meandering towards New Kingston.

“I work as a communications specialist, so I typically write or edit speeches and messages, contribute to strategic management meetings or liaise with internal and external teams on achievements, programs and policies that we can publicize,” she explained.

The mother of two young adult boys says when they were very young she made the decision to quit her nine-to-five job to care for them full-time and work on projects from home, and c It was then that she would have worked the hardest.

“It was physically and mentally exhausting to follow my career and be a full-time mother and wife, and I had to learn how to organize my time well. There was very little time for self-care. However, we had so much joy watching them blossom into incredible young men, and we now have a very strong bond as a family.”

She says, “turn your passion into a profession” is a cliché, but that sentiment rings true for her.

“I love writing, finding that perfectly nuanced word or phrase. I also love organizing events from concept to implementation. And I love getting an idea of ​​the perfect communication activity to highlight an achievement or an initiative,” she said.

“My job as a communications specialist allows me to do all of this, sometimes until I am exhausted, but when the plans are well executed and well received, it is the best feeling in the world.”

“From personal experience and observation, the important thing is to bring your A-game to the workplace,” she implored the professionals. “Present your best self at the table, no matter where you sit around. Above all, preserve your integrity and your reputation. These are irreplaceable.

For young women wishing to pursue a similar career, she had this to say:

“Go for it! A strategic communications professional is a key employee in any organization. You have a high market value and there are many opportunities for upward mobility in the profession. We are fortunate in Jamaica to have an education of high-quality graduate level in related disciplines so that opportunities for professional development are readily available.

When not working, Reid sings and writes contemporary hymns and takes lessons to improve her piano playing. She also volunteers at Swallowfield Chapel and supports the postgraduate program in Integrated Marketing Communications at the Caribbean School of Media and Communication.

At home, her husband Esmond, the current Jamaican Resident High Commissioner to Nigeria, is her rock.

“And although I miss him, he is fortunately perfectly placed to feed my passion for African fashion and art,” she laughed.

Karl McLarty