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Jamaica – A Model for the Global Community

Remarkable! If I were to sum up my experience in Jamaica to-date, remarkable would be the closest word to describe this incredible community. Simplicity of lifestyle; passion in the ideas shared and debated; and above all else a genuine respect for others make this country a model for the rest of the global community.

Zed Jamaica has brought myself and business partner from Digital Word, Kristina Mausser, down to present to local businesses on IA/UX, writing for the web, and social media. Having the pleasure of visiting with many in this beautiful community in my short visit thus far, I’m very excited about sharing experiences with local businesses…for reasons that have nothing to do with monetary gain.

There is a genuine desire to learn in this culture. Unlike many in North America who believe their title, position, or authoring of a book somehow implies that their knowledge is superior to others; ego is not a factor here. The ability to look at problems from different perspectives, to try new experiences, to learn from past mistakes, all are foundational elements for growth in any corporation, culture, or community; something Jamaicans have in spades!

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing both “old” and “new” Kingston. Jamaicans are both proud of their past and at the same time acknowledge a troubled history without reliving it. (Much in the same way Canadians honor our Veterans on Remembrance Day, “Lest We Forget”).

A beautiful and sobering example of this can be seen in “old” Kingston with this memorial to children killed during past violence in the city. When the water flows, it falls through the eyes of the child symbolic of the sorrow the community feels for the loss of their children.

Unfortunately this is the image that many in the world have of this country and nothing could be further from the truth. Yes there is violence in their inner cities but no more so than what one would see on CNN about such crimes in the United States or Canada. To focus on such issues misses an amazing opportunity to witness the strengths of the people in this kind and compassionate community; something we as North Americans don’t value enough.

Imagine a call center at AT&T or Rogers who had people with this character and genuine desire to help other people when they call in about a problem. Try and fathom a corporate culture in your own work where leaders passionately and respectfully debated ideas to ensure the very best products and services for their customers. This is the opportunity that exists in this beautiful country and one that I’m truly honoured to have the opportunity to experience.

In short, family and community matter most. I’ve seen this first-hand while spending time with Zed Jamaica’s Managing Director, Carlton Grant, seen below with his seven month old son, Jason. With a work ethic second to none, Carlton’s passion for his work never comes before the needs of his family. Character and class are the two words that come to mind in my short time speaking with and sharing ideas with this gentleman.

Thank you to Zed Jamaica and I look forward to the workshops and future opportunities to share ideas and experiences in a reciprocal way with all Jamaicans!

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