Happy staff, happy clients, happy shareholders: the mantra new CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Country Head

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By Machel Osagboro

Bolans villager, Ladessa James-Williams, is CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Director of Retail Sales in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the first female Country Head of the branch in Antigua and Barbuda.

With a career that spans over 20 years, James-Williams got her start in the banking field in a serendipitous way that has allowed her to gain immeasurable international experience.

“There was an ad in the paper; it said that if you want to, travel the world, apply! And when I applied it was a management training programme for Barclay’s. I got the job and I have been traveling ever since,” she told OBSERVER media.

Her long and impressive list of accomplishments include worked right across the Caribbean in countries like The Bahamas, St Kitts-Nevis, Barbados, Saint Lucia, Grenada and St Vincent and The Grenadines. 

To top off her impressive roster, she is also a Director of the Eastern Caribbean Automated Clearing House Services Incorporated, and serves on the Salvation Army Advisory Board in Saint Lucia.

Her plate seems to be full, but James-Williams said that she intends to put her flair on managing of the local branch by being more present.

 “I am big on relationships and it is relationships with staff, with clients and with the community, so you will see a big emphasis as it relates to community involvement,” she said.

 “It’s really easy to hand over a cheque, but where I see we can make a big impact is by personally getting involved.”

The new country head pointed out that in order for an organisation to be successful, engagement with the community on any level requires a “very happy and satisfied staff. Another personal belief of mine is, happy staff leads to happy clients, leads to happy shareholders. So a lot of emphasis on people development, training”.

While it was obvious that the new Director of Retail Sales was determined to maintain a satisfied staff through proper engagement and training, she identified the need to keep clients as she is managing a financial institution. According to James-Williams there will be a lot more, “engagement when it comes to our clients, a lot of listening, understanding their needs and providing solutions”.

The Country Head said the secret to her being chosen for the position was her effervescent personality, and added that she accepted the position because it was time to have a local lead.

“I had been on the road for 10 years; it was time to come home, get my fungee, get my dukanoo, and have my kids grow up in Antigua. I am happy that the decision was made.”

She further asserted that one of the main reasons she was selected for the job was because she knew the Antiguan market very well.

James-Williams was appointed to the position at the beginning of 2020 and is the first Antiguan-born woman to gain this very prestigious position.

A past student of Bolans Primary, she completed her secondary education at the Antigua Girls’ High School, gained a double degree in Chemistry and Management from the University of the West Indies – St Augustine campus.

Her career started in 2001 at the Barclays Bank PLC, as a management trainee, she then worked in retail and personal banking in Antigua and Barbuda, moved on to Corporate Banking in St Kitts and Nevis, Human Resources in Barbados, and then on to the International Wealth Department in The Bahamas.

The vivacious new manager handed over a sum of $60,000 to Breast Friends Antigua and The Oncology Department of the Mount St John’s Medical Centre on Friday, February 21. This is in line with her portfolio as she is a Trustee on CIBC First Caribbean’s ComTrust Foundation. This foundation manages the Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility activities, focusing on Youth and Education, Health and Wellness and the Community and Environment.

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