From unemployment to resort MVP
"Put him in a pulpit and he becomes a preacher." This popular adage is used when giving credit to that a person who can do just about anything. In this case, we are referring to Nicola Brown-McKenzie, a woman who has been called upon to assume many roles in both her personal and professional life.
On Brown-McKenzie's rÈsumÈ, you would see student, cashier, maintenance worker, administrative assistant, teacher, sales support, motivational speaker, tour guide, environmentalist, volunteer, project manager, acting operations manager, emergency first responder, fire warden, chief steward and counsellor.
However, her current and official title is environment, health and safety manager at Beaches Negril Resort and Spa. But, if any department needs her help for a day, she is more than capable, and equally willing, to lend a helping hand.
Brown-McKenzie has been such a respected hard worker that the resort saw it fit and fair to award her 2015's Most Valuable Player (Manager of the Year).
Her story did not begin here though, as she has triumphed over many misfortunes to get to where she is today. She struggled through high school financially; and immediately after her graduation, she got pregnant and was thrust into single parenthood, unemployment and further poverty.
She recalls walking the length and breadth of Negril dropping off application letters and begging for the chance to be interviewed in any organisation.
If that were not enough, she struggled to care for her child, relying on second-hand clothing for the first two years of her daughter's life.
"I have never been one to give up, and what I wanted most of all was for a chance to give my daughter the best education and the best life possible," she said.
The ardent worked said that she owes a great deal of thanks to Beaches Negril for giving an unemployed and inexperienced young mother a chance at independence in February 2006. And since then, they have groomed, trained and rewarded her.
"Not only did I get a job and my independence, I got the opportunity to do additional subjects at the Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate level, job promotions, a scholarship through the Sandals Corporate University to pursue a degree in primary education, and exposure to many aspects of the hotel's operation," Brown-McKenzie said.