Janine Edwards, Business Executive/ Tourism Professional, Anguilla
I meet different people from all walks of life and love learning from them.
Tell me anything about yourself to help me understand more about you
I am passionate about collaborating, networking and adding value to others and causes close to my heart. I also love innovation in business and brainstorming creative ways to have an impact or to bring value.
How would you describe your immediate family
My dad is Lorenzo Cassell, retired Auditor General who gave dedicated decades of service to the public and to the arenas of music and calypso. He is now passionate and active in horticulture.
My mum Anne Cassell is a retired Science Teacher, who came as a volunteer from the UK over five decades ago and gave a life of service as a committed teacher in Montserrat.
My brother Dwayne is an Information Security Manager in a large organization in the United Kingdom, and over the past several years. He continues to give back to Montserrat in his areas of expertise including guidance on cyber security legislation and data privacy law. His heart resides in Montserrat.
I am married for over 20 years to Ian “Sugar George” Edwards Property Developer/Architectural Designer and we have three wonderful children Kyiv, Nandi and Kieron.
What does your name mean and do you feel you live up to it?
My name Janine means “gift from God”
Through my community activism, I aspire to live up to the name by helping others in need especially the vulnerable and mentoring the youth to empower them to seek excellence to build their future.
My community passions centre around Education, Tourism and the Youth.
Tell me something that made you smile or laugh recently
I laugh everyday but I am here laughing now that I cannot think of how to answer this question of what made me laugh recently. Brains getting older I guess 🙂
What is your favourite colour and what does it represent
I love turquoise. My life is pretty hectic and I juggle different hats, so I just love the coolness of the shade that brings a sense of calm, yet the vibrance of the colour brings energy.
My office colour has blue highlights as I draw great energy from my surroundings to work on my projects.
Tell me something that scares you ( we wont tell anyone ssssshhh)
Heights – Strangely enough I courageously went up to the top of the Burj Khalifa last year, but not without much drama.
When do you normally feel your happiest
Of course, I derive most of my happiness from spending quality time with my dear family and friends, whom I feel very blessed to have.
I feel happy after a great night’s sleep, an early rise and beach walk with friends.
I also feel happy when I experience the success of family and friends or a project close to my heart.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety
I try to reframe the challenge in terms of the bigger picture of the essence of life and what’s important in life. Will the thing I am stressing over matter next year or in five years, or is this a passing incident? I also try to achieve life balance, as challenging as this may be at times.
How do you celebrate your achievements
With a quiet celebration among family and friends or by treating myself to the spa or a nice dinner out.
What made you decide to start your profession
As a teenager, my career goals were to be a Tourism Professional or a Journalist.
One of my first summer work stints in my mid-teens was at the Front Desk of the Vue Pointe Hotel.
I was intrigued by the Hospitality sector – it was exciting and always moving. I was fortunate to cross paths with a mentor Jasmin Garraway who was a Tourism Development Consultant attached to the Montserrat Tourist Board at the time who gave me some valuable guidance about my career development.
I was fortunate to receive a scholarship to study Tourism Management at the University of the West Indies. The completion of this Bachelor’s Degree was followed by an intense work stint for a couple years as Tourism Product Development Officer at the Montserrat Tourist Board.
I worked on a wide range of projects from tourism awareness initiatives, festivals, trail development and training. I pursued a Masters of Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing at York University in Toronto, Canada.
These initial work experiences and tertiary studies laid the foundation for a fulfilling career in Tourism and Real Estate.
Tell us more about the impressive Sunset Homes and how it came about
Sunset Homes started off actually as Edwards Construction in Montserrat back around 30 years ago, during pre-volcano times.
It was founded by my husband Ian, a very young man at the time, and the company grew over the years to build some of the most acclaimed luxury villa and hotel properties in the region.
One of his most noteworthy achievements was his design and development of The Beach House which won global accolades in the field.
This villa attracts celebrities on vacation – the likes of Lebron James and Justin Bieber have stayed here.
Over 20 years ago, I also made a full-time career transition into Sunset Homes, heading up the company’s administrative and marketing areas.
It has been a fulfilling partnership and has pushed us both to challenge and grow our creative and business skillsets.
What do you love about your role
I love that my role is varied and encompasses a wide range of different activities and initiatives – no time to get bored. It is fast paced, interactive and allows for creativity and networking which allows me to meet different people from all walks of life and I love learning from them.
It is not unusual on an average day for my work to span marketing, admin, human resources, government relations, advocacy, negotiations, shipping logistics, reviewing contracts and writing.
My supplemental volunteer activities give me an opportunity to work on Boards, community projects and host a weekly Tourism Radio programme called “Tourism is Key” which I do on behalf of the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association.
What are the typical challenges you face in your role
Challenges faced include access to certain highly specialised human resource talents on island and shipping and logistics as we need to import many inputs for our operations.
During the current pandemic, we are challenged with the volatile economic environment which greatly affects tourism and operations in general.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years
In addition to taking care of and further building company assets, I hope to explore some of my other passions like journalism, public speaking and regional and international business networking.
I recently completed course online to become a certified Chartered Director and I hope to take full advantage of many more online learning opportunities in areas of interest.
Would you have done anything differently in your career path
I cannot think of any major changes except that I would probably have better leveraged online resources for professional development earlier.
The pandemic living has revealed that there are a wealth of easy to access online opportunities and we need not limit our reality or our growth to our day to day local lifestyle.
Do you have any pearls of wisdom you wish to share
It is a powerful idea to proactively and intentionally anticipate how we can add value to those around us – whether in our personal or professional circles.
Sometimes sharing something as simple as a piece of information or a recommendation can add so much value to a person’s life.
Finally this is the moment to shout out to a few people who have really encouraged, supported or even taking a gamble on you to allow your current success.
Now this is a question that is destined to get me in trouble! I have been blessed with a strong family foundation from childhood – the Cassell family on my Dad’s side and the Macaskill family on my mum’s side provided a strong start in life.
The concepts of love, family support, hard work and striving for excellence were always present in my life.
Our close childhood family friend network of adopted Aunties and Uncles also had a major impact on our life growing up – The Ryans, The Buffonges, The Wades, The Fentons, The Basses, The Brights and several others.
My husband Ian provides me with daily inspiration in striving for the stars and creatively making the impossible, possible.
My children and adopted children, god children and mentees provide me with purpose and youthful energy through their ongoing inspiration and love.
I have some close friendship connections made with a few families (originally met in Anguilla through business) who are literally family. I work alongside some outstanding professionals in Tourism and Community work circles who are very inspirational to my daily life.
I have some “simply the best” sister friends anyone could ask for (who all know who they are), who provide me with daily debates, laughs, unwavering support and who fuel my ambitions to be a better person.
What can we look forward to next from you.
I am using this pandemic down time to prepare for bigger and better things in 2021.
I am trying to grow in all areas of my life and open myself up to new possibilities to enhance personal and professional growth and my impact on those around.
You can check out more about sunset homes and its impressive portfolio of developments below.
Sunset Homes Anguilla e-magazine: https://sunsethomesanguilla.com/emagazine/
Sunset Homes Anguilla: http://sunsethomesanguilla.com
The Beach House: http://www.anguillabeachhouse.com
Spyglass Hill Villa: http://spyglasshillanguilla.com
Little Butterfly: http://littlebutterflyanguilla.com
Tranquility Beach Resort Dominica: http://tranquilitybeachdominica.com
Tranquility Beach Resort Anguilla: http://tranquilitybeachanguilla.com
Dont forget to complete our recent survey for Montserratians Living Away from home