In celebration of International Women’s Day ( March 8th), we’d like to take this chance to give you a deeper look at the woman who has steered Celebrations to where it is now.
Photography by David Wolfe
Born into a large Caribbean family with multicultural roots, Jo Anne was the only daughter to a Jamaican Father and Caymanian mother who from a very young age introduced her to the wonderful life of celebrating and entertaining! Her family regularly entertained royalty, well known movie stars and celebrities of the time, including HRH Prince Phillip, HRH Prince Charles and HRH Princess Margaret.
Entertaining, hosting and making people happy was just a way of life for Jo Anne, and she loved every minute of it!
Jo Anne: “I became part and parcel of this incredible world, growing up to bring the hospitality, decoration, gorgeous flowers, special touches and décor elements that made every event a unique celebration. With the tremendous support of my entrepreneur husband Mike, it didn’t take long to figure out that our next step from constant entertaining was to take it to the next level, and in 1994 my first store was launched.”
She further quips: “The business took off and grew rapidly from strength to strength, and eighteen years later, Celebrations is now the largest and most successful Wedding & Event Design, Planning and Production Company in the Caribbean. Our reputation is built on offering clients the peace of mind that comes from our long experience of creating amazing events, and from the sincere care and attention that goes into everything we do, exceeding our clients’ expectations every time.”
During a recent TV appearance as a member of a panel of successful women entrepreneurs to local talk show, Let’s Talk To The Experts, Jo Anne spoke of the challenges women face in getting ahead in business.
Jo Anne: “Women are inherently ambitious, however it is their lack of faith in their capabilities hinder them from realizing their full potential in the highly competitive field of business. You have to be really strong inside. You have to stand up for yourself. Not everybody has that within them but more and more women nowadays are making huge strides.”
When it comes to balancing personal, family, work and community commitments, women entrepreneurs are more flexible and more sympathetic as they themselves do their best to balance all these. Women are more willing to give and take. The bottom line is that work gets done.
When asked what is the legacy of women & business in Cayman, Jo Anne spoke of how Caymanian women had to look after their families as most of the Caymanian men were out on sea. These same women out of their need to provide better lives have also gotten involved in business. Subconsciously, current Caymanian business women are building on this legacy that was left to them by their ancestors. It may not be as simple as the business endeavours led by their ancestors, but it is a progression of that.
Jo Anne also applauds the fact that the Gender Equality Law has been passed in Cayman. She believes that women should be empowered and that they be given all the opportunities to succeed.
Jo Anne and the rest of the panel also spoke on so many other issues that beset women in the work place. To hear more of Jo Anne’s views on Women and Business, watch it here.