With Abaco having one of the fastest growing economies in The Bahamas, Horizons Development Group’s Founder Simmone L. Bowe thought it fitting to organize a Leaders Luncheon at Angler’s Restaurant on August 14 under the theme “Creating and Maintaining a Quality Service Culture Through Training.”
According to Bowe, her intent was to attract business owners, business leaders, managers and supervisors from the Abaco business community to “share best practices and concerns about training and development along with workforce needs for businesses on the island.”
Following a round of introductions from various industry representatives, Dushinka Roberts of the Abaco Tourism Office, was introduced as the first speaker. Although she credited the tourism industry for The Bahamas’ high standard of living, Roberts also explored how Abaco is preparing its workforce to meet growing business demands. Roberts focused on how businesses embrace change, how resources are managed, and how businesses are working to ensure that they meet global standards. She concluded her presentation by outlining the benefits and misconceptions of training with a view of making businesses in our country more recession-proof.
Presentations were also given by Simmone L. Bowe, Horizons’ transformation strategist and consultant, and Lavan McKenzie, human resource manager at Treasure Cay Hotel, Resort and Marina. Bowe briefly talked about service culture elements that set companies apart, while McKenzie described how they had created an environment to “wow” their guests.
The first step in their approach was to improve, empower and motivate the employees. McKenzie said that the employees must be viewed as the most valuable assets, and as a result, they are referred to as employed guests. Secondly, McKenzie said that everyone must be committed to and share in the company’s goals. She encouraged the participants to look to outsiders for help or to do an outside assessment of the company with the implementation of training guidelines and operational procedures.
“Developing a high standard is very important,” she assured. “If you want to make a difference, you must be serious.”
The keynote speaker was Agatha Marcelle, executive director of the newly formed National Training Agency (NTA), which she said will not only be successful, but it will give many Bahamians a second chance in life. With the support of network partners, specialist trainers and coaches and approved industry providers, participants will be assessed and receive a Level 1 certification from City & Guilds. Areas targeted for training include: automative service and care; allied health care services; building maintenance; domestic services; hospitality/tourism; retail operation and sales; landscape maintenance; and office procedures.
The program will initially focus on recent high school graduates and young adults under the age of 26 years, and Abaco is among the pilot islands to benefit from the NTA.
“I asked God to help me to lift up my people,” Marcelle reminisced. “Let’s make this work.”
MP for North Abaco and Parliamentary Secretary Mr. Renardo Curry applauded the efforts of the participants for their desire to bring about change because a high standard is being demanded of businesses. In light of what Marcelle shared about the National Training Agency, Curry once again emphasized that education is the key to equip our workforce.
This month, Simmone Bowe will host another Leaders Lunch entitled – “The Power of Innovation in 21st Century Wealth Creation” – on Sept. 26with Dr. Ron Archer as the keynote speaker. Dr. Archer is a world-renowned author, television host, leadership advisor, life coach, bishop and pastor. Contact Simmone Bowe at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 458-8938 for more details.