JM | Jun 24, 2021

This is a man’s world -Not so at GraceKennedy

Al Edwards

Al Edwards / Our Today

Andrea Coy (left), chief executive officer, Grace Foods International; Gail Moss-Solomon (centre), general counsel & chief corporate secretary, GraceKennedy Ltd; and Kerry-Ann Richards, Group Comptroller, GraceKennedy Ltd.

Caribbean conglomerate GraceKennedy (GK), headquartered in Jamaica with operations across continents, is a company brimming with women not only in leadership roles but across the vertical lines of all its businesses.

One would be hard pressed to find a major corporation in the region with over 2,000 employees that can boast that 56 per cent of its staff are women with 63 per cent of its executives being female.

During last month’s annual general meeting (AGM), Group CEO Don Wehby made mention of the creation of cross functional team operations throughout GK, regardless of an executive having expertise in one area, thus giving women opportunities across the Group.

Hence, Hi-Lo boss Catherine Kennedy is preparing to roll out a new e-commerce platform later this summer with some remarkable features and she is ably assisted by Grace’s General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Gail Moss-Solomon.

Looking at Grace’s executive team today, it is comprised of more women than men.

Danielle Longman (left), general manager, GraceKennedy (Belize) Limited and LACA), head of planning & strategy GK Foods International Business; Grace Burnett (second left), chief executive officer, GraceKennedy Financial Group; Margaret Campbell (second right), country manager-Jamaica, GraceKennedy Remittance Services Ltd; and Naomi Holness, Chief Human Resource Officer, GraceKennedy Ltd.

Speaking on the matter at the Group’s AGM last month, Moss-Solomon said: “This is one of the reasons I’m proud to be working at GK. The truth is we are predominantly a female company with 56 per cent of our employees being female and 63 per cent of our executives- those in leadership roles – are women.”

Since 2019, five out of the nine core members of the Executive Committee are women- namely Andrea Coy, Grace Burnett, Gail Moss-Solomon, Mariame McIntosh Robinson and Naomi Holness.

In February 2016, Grace Burnett was appointed CEO of GraceKennedy Financial Group (GKFG), a position once held by Wehby.

Mariame Robinson (left), president and chief executive officer, First Global Bank Limited; Suzanne Stanley (centre), head of corporate communication, GraceKennedy Ltd; and Tamara Thompson, general manager of Grace Foods Jamaica & Consumer Brands Ltd.

That same year, McIntosh Robinson was appointed president and CEO of First Global Bank.

Last year, Suzanne Stanley joined GraceKennedy as Head of Corporate Communications.

The women who head GraceKennedy Group executive roles are: Gail Moss-Solomon, Naomi Holness, Lee-Anne Bruce, Judith Chung Gordon, Suzanne Stanley, Terry-Ann Graver, Kerry-Ann Richards, Deidre Cousins and Glenise Durrant-Freckleton.

The headquarters of GraceKennedy Group in downtown Kingston, Jamaica.

All the companies in GKFG, except GK General Insurance and GK Capital Management, are headed by women, namely Amanda Beepat, Grace Burnett, Mariame McIntosh Robinson and Tamara Glaves-Hucey.

The business units in GK Foods are headed by a number of women including Catherine Kennedy, Danielle Daley Longman, Tamara Garel Thompson, Andrea Coy, Dianne Robinson, Debra Dodd and Renee Nathan.

“We have a great team and these ladies are here not just because they are ladies but because they are excellent at the job that they do.”

Don Wehby, GraceKennedy Group CEO

Margaret Campbell was appointed Country Manager for GraceKennedy Money Services’ (GKMS) Jamaica operations in January 2018 and the following year was promoted to Chief Operating Officer for GKMS Group.

GK Insurance Brokers (Turks& Caicos) is headed by Marie Beckford with Tammara Glaves-Hucey appointed General Manager of Key Insurance Company in 2020, further to the recent acquisition.

“We have a great team and these ladies are here not just because they are ladies but because they are excellent at the job that they do,” said Wehby.