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JM | Nov 3, 2020

Audrey Hinchcliffe’s ‘The Will to Overcome’ charts the struggles and successes of a Caribbean businesswoman

Al Edwards

Al Edwards / Our Today

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Reading Time: 4 minutes
In her new book, ‘The Will to Overcome. Reflections on Circumstance, Vision and Service’, businesswoman Audrey Hinchcliffe writes about how psychological counselling helped her to not give up when times got tough.

Founder and Managing Director of Manpower & Maintenance Services Limited Audrey Hinchcliffe has written a book entitled ‘The Will to Overcome. Reflections on Circumstance, Vision and Service’.

This tome chronicles her struggles, successes and the gaining of wisdom on her journey in becoming one of the Caribbean’s leading business personalities.

She began the business aged 50 and 30 years later, has established it as a market leader in its field.

The book is not an autobiography but rather a compilation of her most pertinent and inspiring speeches covering leadership, entrepreneurship, national development, personal growth and management. It really does give a unique insight into her life experiences.

Hinchcliffe has triumphed over adversity at every season of her life and it can all be found in her book. It is a fascinating read.

Hailing from the district of Lorrimers in Trelawny,  Jamaica as the last of nine children, she began her career in nursing and went on to earn a BA in Community Health Management from St Francis College in the United States. She then went on to a MSc in Health Administration from Long Island University. Her education helped to equip her to become a leading executive in health administration throughout the 70s while at the same time raising her children.

Audrey Hinchcliffe, founder and managing director of Manpower & Maintenance Services Limited.

She would later become a health development officer to CARICOM, based in Guyana. On returning to Jamaica, her experience and assertiveness proved too threatening to those in her field so she bravely took the plunge, opening her own business, Caribbean Health Management Consultants.

In the book, Hinchcliffe goes into how psychological counselling helped her to not give up when times got tough and she remained committed to basing her life and career in Jamaica.

You don’t just need the right skills set, you need the right mind set. Throughout her life, Hinchcliffe has always been formidable and stuck to her guns.

The year 1990 heralded a new decade and a new venture for Hinchcliffe – she launched Manpower and Maintenance Services (MMS Ltd), the leading health management consultancy and commercial cleaning company in Jamaica.

“The fact is that good customer service begins with good old-fashioned ‘manners’ – that quality that old-time Jamaicans used to say would take us everywhere.”

Audrey Hinchcliffe, founder and managing director of Manpower & Maintenance Services Limited



There are some bon mots here that one would do well to underline and keep.

Here’s one: “First, see your job as an opportunity to serve people. I guarantee you that if you can do that, you will develop a new perspective about who you are. The great Mahatma Gandhi is credited with saying, ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’. In serving others well you are serving yourself. It is also important to formulate a service strategy.”

All too often people bemoan the absence of adequate customer service in Jamaica and that has remained the case for decades. Hinchcliffe addresses that in her book.

“The fact is that good customer service begins with good old-fashioned ‘manners’ – that quality that old-time Jamaicans used to say would take us everywhere. It also resides in ‘people skills – those competences that are critical factors for organisations seeking to achieve their growth and development goals.

“Additionally, at the heart of good customer service lies the ability to think and conscientiously attempt to solve problems amicably and respectfully. In other words, good customer service begins with people – you and me. How do you think about and see yourself? Your answer will always be reflected in how you treat others,” writes Hinchcliffe.

Hinchcliffe

Of particular note in this book is how people misconceive what it is and what it takes to become an entrepreneur. Many interpret it as ‘I want to do my own thing’, or ‘I cannot work for anybody’.

Hinchcliffe points to the true meaning of entrepreneurship as interpreted by French economists, Jean-Baptiste and Richard Cantillon – accepting full responsibility for the outcome of the enterprise. It is all about undertaking the venture and all that goes with it. It is not about being your own boss and getting rich quickly.

In these tough times, Hinchcliffe offers reasoned solutions borne out of experience. She stresses the importance of finding that work/life balance and contributing in a meaningful way to your community.

She writes about growing older, handling competition, sustaining success, the importance of family.

‘The Will to Overcome’ is the story of a brave woman who has done her country and the business community proud. It is a must read for those who aspire to be successful entrepreneurs. Read it and read it again… and take notes!

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