Regional

Pursue emotional and mental health with professional goals — Lisa Hanna

Thursday, May 24, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Miss World 1993 and Member of Parliament for St Ann South Eastern, Lisa Hanna, has urged women to put their emotional and mental health first as they pursue their professional goals.

Hanna made the call during her presentation at the recent women's empowerment forum hosted by the Sandals Resorts in the Montego Bay region, under the theme: 'Go for it,'

Hanna shared stories from her personal and professional journey as she addressed the over 140 females drawn from the Sandals properties in Montego Bay, high schools, women's groups, including the Mount Salem–based Women of Destiny, St James Festival Queen contestants, and women from the Flanker and Mount Salem communities.

The forum also featured an inspiring fashion show, where ladies from Sandals resorts sported casual linen wear from Montego Bay-based design house Kokobeenz.

The models carried inspiring cards that encouraged the women to fervently pursue their goals.

The forum was a cathartic one for many who cried openly as they listened to the personal stories of fellow attendees and also cheered on other women who were overcoming life challenges.

Among them was Jaida Messam, a contestant in the 2018 Miss St James Festival Queen Competition, who is an aspiring auto mechanic.

“I am in training as an auto mechanic engineer and what is facing me at the moment is that the emotional part of me is breaking down. I have spoken to the other [parish festival queen contestants] about the problem, and I am so glad that I am here ... to just let it out. I really need a solution to my problem,” she explained.

She noted that she has been coming upon strong opposition from men who are against her becoming an auto mechanic.

“Ever since I turned age 16, I have always been fascinated by cars and wanting to fix things. I have been around men that discriminate by saying, 'oh, stop, you don't need to do this, you can't manage this.' And, I would take that and I would be like oh no, not again,” she said, bursting into tears.

Messam was consoled by other participants, as Hanna interjected.

“ So, you are in your high heels, and you are beautiful. And, you know the beauty about you, you can throw on the overalls, go underneath the car, fix the car and come right back out,” said the Member of Parliament, to a round of applause.

“Where in your life did someone tell you that you should not be an auto mechanic engineer?” Hanna asked.

“I guarantee you, unlike some other persons who are going to study law, you are going to get a job faster than them.”

Regional public relations manager for Sandals Resorts in the Montego Bay region, Khadine Daley, said she was encouraged by the outcome of the forum, which is in its second year.

“Our women empowerment forum is a summit for women in Montego Bay. This year we drew women from different stages of life as we encouraged each other to passionately pursue that which we set out to. We also placed a lot of focus on women encouraging women, which is something many females struggle with. We hope to continue growing so we can accommodate even more women next year,” said Daley.

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