Jerome Smalling --- the man who works smart and plays harder

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Jerome Smalling --- the man who works smart and plays harder

Sunday, September 27, 2020

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A proud old boy of Munro College, this week's guest is a man of many passions but one who knows the difference between work and play. He defines success as being able to establish that balance in life, while contributing to family and society and just giving it your all.

Almost following in his father's footsteps, he would have maybe become a photographer but the allure of banking was what has driven him some 20 years later to become an accomplished fellow in his current field of work. Having recently developed an obsession with learning the skill of woodwork from watching hours of YouTube videos (something he thinks his mother would find very interesting, considering he wasn't very hands-on growing up), he now seriously contemplates getting the requisite certification from the HEART Trust to further his skills in the area. He is an avid football lover and Arsenal FC fan who thoroughly enjoys a meal of Murray's curry goat with rice and/or roti— Q10 this week checks in with Jerome Smalling, chief executive officer of JMMB Bank Jamaica Limited and Group banking lead and also current president of the Jamaica Banker's Association (JBA).

How would you describe yourself?

SMALLING: I would describe myself as someone who works smart and plays harder, because I always seek to balance the intensity of work life with the pursuit of my many passions and experiences.

What is that one outstanding characteristic that you believe you possess?

SMALLING: I believe that my most outstanding characteristic is my ability to discuss and communicate seemingly complex concepts in simple terms, without weakening the key principles.

What do you love about your job?

SMALLING: My job gives me the opportunity to assist clients to achieve their goals, by providing innovative banking solutions, and leading a team that is dedicated to delivering an exceptional client experience. I derive great pleasure from my small contribution, as JMMB Bank CEO, in helping people realise their dreams and, as such, I am happy to celebrate the successes of all clients — whether it is a major multimillion-dollar loan project or home ownership of a client who can now leave a legacy for his/her family.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

SMALLING: This is an interesting question, but I rarely think in terms of static scenarios; rather, I think in terms of the various experiences; therefore, I hope to enjoy the entire journey of life over the next five years. I want to continue to grow personally and professionally, and enjoy every second of the next five years and beyond. Most importantly, over that period, I hope to contribute to the continued growth of the JMMB Group and Jamaica — by helping more Jamaicans to have access to financial services, so that they can realise their dreams.

What do you feel proudest of?

SMALLING: I am proud of being on the board of my alma mater, Munro College, as this gives me the opportunity to contribute to the development of young Jamaicans, especially the men of tomorrow. It is my way of paying it forward to an institution that has helped to shape in me some solid values.

What does family life look like?

SMALLING: Family life is great! I now have adult children and that gives me the opportunity to relate with them on a different level. They keep me in tune with the current trends, although they are quick to point out that I should not shop in the same stores.

What was growing up like?

SMALLING: I had a great life growing up in St Ann, with the exception that I had many restrictions because I was asthmatic as a child, and my parents were very protective, especially after being hospitalised on two occasions. After leaving Ocho Rios Primary, I attended Munro College, a boarding school, which was an adventure on its own. I discovered the fascinating world of sports, though unfortunately, I can't say I excelled at any sport, partly because of my asthma. All in all, I was more or less a happy child.

If you could keep only five possessions, what would they be?

SMALLING: This is a difficult one, as I have come to realise that things that were important 10 years ago, are now obsolete or just not as important anymore. I tend to focus on the experiences rather than possessions.

List three things that you love most about Jamaica.

SMALLING: Having lived in Canada briefly and travelled to several countries, I must say that Jamaica is the greatest place on Earth, when you consider the Jamaican food, music and the general warmth of Jamaicans — these are my top three favourite things.

Q10. What do you do for fun?

SMALLING: What can I say, I live for fun! I believe that work should be fun but, outside of that, I focus on lowering my triple-digit golf handicap, working out or just enjoying the open seas. There is something about being on the open seas and seeing the city of Kingston from a breathtaking angle. I am a fan of all sports and, in particular, Arsenal FC. In addition, I also enjoy Formula 1 racing and have attended the Montreal race on several occasions, and had planned to attend the Paris event this year, but COVID-19 disrupted those plans; however, I do hope to attend these venues at least once in my lifetime.

— Compiled by Kellaray Miles


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