Cocktails With... Ro-Yen Chin Forbes

Cocktails With... Ro-Yen Chin Forbes

Senior Manager – Trading & Director of Alliance Financial Services Limited

Sunday, February 16, 2020

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You've long been in the world of finance. How has that world changed in the last decade and how have you remained relevant?

Technology has moved very quickly in the last decade and has significantly changed the way customers demand their products and services. Instant gratification, easy access, and convenience are key. In order to maintain our relevance, we at Alliance have had to always prioritise innovation and creativity as we evolve our offerings to keep pace with these changes and, in some cases, lead through disruption. Prepaid cards are not a new concept to the market in general, but they are new to the unbanked and underserved. Proudly, the Alliance prepaid card has disrupted the way payments are made by offering a new solution to make payments easier and more convenient.

What's the one business tip you got that you've never forgotten?

I have strong role models here at my office in both Peter Chin and Robert Chin. They've been at it much longer than I have, and one of the greatest lessons I have learnt from them is to ride the wave. The world of finance is cyclical and whenever the company would go through what appeared to be life-changing, we've been able to face the challenge head-on and ride the wave. Through all of the ups and downs, we put in the hard work and push through by making the right decision at the right time.

What's the one financial tip that you most often share. Why?

My tip comes from sports but you can apply it to basically anything. Practise and be patient. Get into the habit of saving. The amount is not important; the emphasis is developing the habit. I read in an article that when you make more money you will already have that “muscle memory” of saving and investing. Many financial rewards take time to happen, but when they do, you'll have the practice/habit of saving. Don't be hasty in making decisions; do the research.

How would you define success?

Success is setting a goal and achieving it. I just ran my second half-marathon last weekend in Miami and my goal was to beat my last half-marathon time. It took a great amount of discipline and practice to get there, especially during the Christmas holiday when training was in high gear. I kept an Oprah attitude of “I can and I will; watch me!” and had great support from my running family and coach to really carry me through. I was successful in beating my previous time by 17 minutes! Set a goal — big or small — put your mind to it, have a support system and get it done. Every day I find something I'm grateful for, which forces me to appreciate and value the small successes towards my bigger goals.

In your business is it more important to be liked or respected?

It is more important to be respected. Effective leadership is about guiding individuals through difficult decisions that may challenge them. You don't want to fall into the trap of the disease to please where you may compromise yourself for any reason whatsoever. Your integrity is an asset with exceeding value – protect it.

What has been your most humbling experience careerwise?

I tend to be one who leans towards structure, following a plan and having control over a situation. Having a kid changes everything. To make things work for me I had to strive to create balance. In order to achieve this, I had to break away from trying to control everything, letting go and having the ability to ask for help when I needed it. It's a humbling experience to ask for help, especially when you are accustomed to doing it all. I rely heavily on my community, support system and angels walking this earth aka grandmas! They are truly a blessing and empower me to create that balance of self, work and motherhood.

Where's your happy place?

What makes me happy is playing with my son, Ethan, and watching him grow and learn new things. Sometimes in this routine, fast-paced world, we take the simple things for granted and we are not present. Time is a precious gift that we should value. Just pausing from work or the phone to watch him grow before my eyes and see him discover new things daily slows down my pace a bit, gives me joy and brings me back to reality. I really get to appreciate the simple gifts in everyday life. Another happy place is spending time with my family; I cherish those experiences.

Nature or nurture?

Both are connected. I do believe that one can become a product of their environment and what it exposes; however, being in a less than a desirable space doesn't have to define who you are or what you do with your life. Against all odds, one can rise above and nurturing can positively influence the person one is destined to become. There are many great stories of people who grew up in what could be deemed undesirable circumstances and lived to further themselves. Regardless of the circumstance, the prospect of nurture carries hope for us all to become better. I try to surround my son with abundant love, kindness and integrity in hopes that he will be just the same.

What is your greatest fear?

I fear failure and not living up to my potential. That's probably why I'm so hard on myself and always try to ensure that I'm putting my best effort out there to achieve my goals with the least amount of failure. Over time I've grown to accept that failure can be a good thing and that there is nothing to be fearful of as 'failure' is where the greatest lessons are learnt. You cannot learn to walk without falling a few times first.

What lesson has been the hardest to learn?

Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. It's very important to ensure that you always have flexible options and solutions. You can always create an opportunity out of any challenge.

What talent do you yearn for?

To be a top chef and to express my thoughts creatively through art. In my prior life I was a muralist and enjoyed expressing myself through paint. I would love to immerse myself in that space again. I believe that Jamaica has so much talent and culture that we should be able to express it. I recently viewed a beautiful mural by a Mexican artist, Irving Cano Gomez, on Temple Lane in downtown Kingston. That mural and other Jamaican murals on Fleet Street and other Kingston Creative initiatives can transform and uplift an environment and those who live there. Art is full of vibrancy and a different kind of energy than what finance has to offer. “All things in balance.”

What food sums up happiness?

There are so many it's hard to pick just one because food is about the community, camaraderie, bringing people together and tasting the culture of the place you are in. Basically, anything homecooked and carbs!

On a heavy day – oxtail with rice & peas from Sister Benedict at the Law Street Trade Training Centre. A programme where she helps uplift the women and men of that community and build on their vocational skills. To watch them make this oxtail from early morning into the afternoon and the pride they have when they serve this delicacy warms my heart and belly. Every November, we (Alliance) sponsor a fund-raising event where proceeds go to her training centre and I look forward to a BIG plate of the oxtail, rice & peas and a big side of fried plantains!

On a light day – an ice-cold jelly after a long workout or run. Coconut water never so sweet!

What have you never understood?

I've never understood why some people believe curry goat must only be eaten with white rice. I love it with rice and peas!

Heels or flats?

Heels, always! Gives you that extra boost of confidence and pep in your step. Heels take any outfit to another level.

Jeans or an LBD?

LBD! Chic and sophisticated but comfortable.

Romantic movie or comedy?

ROM-COM! — Romantic comedies all the way. It gives me a break/eases my mind from the hectic life we live. The most recent one my husband and I watched was on Netflix: Always Be My Maybe.

Ballet recital or opera?

Ballet. It's such a beautiful art form. Art can be expressed through music, food, paint, sculpture and dance. Ballet and dance are an expression of movement of the body. A good ballet I enjoyed was the Alvin Ailey Group at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

Finally, what's your personal credo?

I believe in reminding myself to be more confident because we as women have more power than we think. Always ensure I'm putting out my best effort so there are no regrets. To live with intention, integrity, kindness and build on nurturing good connections. And never to forget to be grateful, as, without God, nothing is possible.

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