Marsha Lee: A woman of strength

Jamaica Gleaner - - MATIONAL RAOD SAFETY COUNCIL'S - Ru­ral@glean­

AN­NOTTO BAY, St Mary: HAV­ING SPENT the past 20 years nav­i­gat­ing from the bot­tom of St Mary’s health-care sys­tem to the top, the act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (CEO) at An­notto Bay Hos­pi­tal, Marsha Lee, be­lieves that with mo­ti­va­tion, de­ter­mi­na­tion, and the sup­port of in­dus­tri­ous co­work­ers, any­thing is pos­si­ble.

Lee con­fessed that as an un­worldly teenager from Flint River, near Rich­mond, St Mary, when she be­gan work­ing as a short­hand typ­ist at her lo­cal hos­pi­tal in Port Maria, the thought of ma­noeu­vring into a se­nior man­age­ment po­si­tion never once crossed her mind.

“When I started in health care in 1996, I had no am­bi­tion to be­come CEO of a hos­pi­tal,” Lee told Ru­ral Xpress last week. “I was young and just wanted a job, and to be ex­posed to a more di­verse group of peo­ple. I went from stenog­ra­pher to sec­re­tary, to a hu­man re­source of­fi­cer, acted as ad­min­is­tra­tor for a short time, and now I’m act­ing as CEO.

“Ini­tially, when I started here, we had fewer Ja­maicans in cer­tain po­si­tions. There were Burmese and Africans, which gave me an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of peo­ple from dif­fer­ent cul­tures and how to work with them. Be­ing the car­ing per­son that I am, I think health care was the best place for me. I’m re­ally a hu­man re­sources-driven, peo­ple per­son who is pas­sion­ate about the wel­fare of my em­ploy­ees.

“Be­ing the CEO is a ful­fill­ing role that forces you to think out­side of the box. Chal­lenges will al­ways present them­selves and cer­tain judge­ments you make will not al­ways be right. You just have to find al­ter­na­tive ways to deal with [any prob­lems], and in do­ing so you get to ap­pre­ci­ate how teamwork gets things done.”

Lee, who will com­plete a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in hu­man re­source man­age­ment in 2017, de­scribes her­self as “a sin­gle mother with kids aged 19 and 15 years old”, and sug­gests Marsha Lee, act­ing CEO, An­notto Bay Hos­pi­tal.

that a job­less young mom who finds her­self rais­ing chil­dren alone should al­ways stay fo­cused and fol­low her dreams.


She ex­plained: “What­ever your dream is, just get out there and go for it be­cause you never know. Make your­self avail­able and mar­ketable, and never let your cir­cum­stances or fi­nances get the bet­ter of you be­cause noth­ing is un­achiev­able or un­ob­tain­able, the sky’s the limit.”

Lee told Ru­ral Xpress that tak­ing care of the chil­dren, go­ing to work, and leav­ing to study in Kingston is dif­fi­cult, but doable.

“I re­mem­ber com­ing from school late one night and my ve­hi­cle was giv­ing me prob­lems around the Junc­tion. I broke down in Broadgate with no lights, to­tal dark­ness out­side, and a foun­tain of wa­ter com­ing out of the ve­hi­cle. I didn’t want to get out and let any­body to see that I was a lone fe­male on the road.

“I got home about three o’clock in the morn­ing and re­mem­ber think­ing: ‘That was an ex­pe­ri­ence for me to take away and em­brace, noth­ing comes easy’. These are some of the things you en­counter in life, if you want to achieve. But just re­mem­ber, ir­re­spec­tive of what hap­pens, there is al­ways light at the end of the tun­nel.”


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