Recent Events


Kingston, Feb. 23, 2022 - How, where, should professional women invest their money for best benefit ? These are some of the issues that will be discussed when the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI)  in partnership with the AC Marriott Hotel hosts a Forum and Exhibition in celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD), at the New Kingston Hotel on Sunday March 6, 2022, 9:30 am - 4:00 pm.
Renee Menzies McCallum, Chair of WLI said that the pre IWD day event is designed to give women the tools they need for financial independence and decision making especially as they increasingly assume new roles as CEOs, Board Directors, entrepreneurs/ business owners, heads of households and professionals.
Noting that representatives of various companies will give expert advice on best ways to manage money, how best to invest and best security options for home and business she  said that  “ the WLI is honoured to have as guest presenter, Rear Admiral Antonette Wemyss Gorman,  Jamaica’s first female Chief of Defence staff of the Jamaica Defence Force who will share her “Journey from Clarendon to Up Park Camp”. Wemyss Gorman is Deputy Chair of the WLI’s Membership Committee.
Menzies MCallum  said “the WLI owes a debt of gratitude to our sponsors including  Citibank, Sagicor Bank, FHC Credit Union, The JMMB Group, Jamaica National Group, NCB, iProtect, Jamaica Observer and the AC Marriott. With their support, we are able to host this event and continue our philanthropic work in Jamaica”.
The WLI is a progression of the United Way Women’s Leadership Initiative and “Building Bridges” Exchange launched by former Ambassador of the United States to Jamaica, Sue Cobb in 2004.A special committee of the United Way of Jamaica, the WLI is one of several organizations established by women to promote sisterhood and the advancement of women, while contributing to nation building.
The WLI’s main charity  is the Voluntary Organization for the Upliftment of Children (VOUCH) which serves several marginalized innercity communities downtown, Kingston, with a nursery, health centre and Basic School.  The WLI has helped to fund infrastructure development, teaching aids and equipment and special needs teachers and is working with the Board and staff towards achieving Early Childhood Education status.
Their mentorship programme has assisted several young women in pursuing tertiary education and boasts several graduates among its mentee community.  The WLI has also funded training in child sexual abuse prevention for hundreds of educators and employees of state agencies who have been sharing their knowledge with their peers at the workplace, and in the community at large.
Through its the Darkness to Light, Stewards of Children programme it has trained facilitators from several stakeholder organizations and assisted youth serving organizations in creating and implementing organizational policies that protect children.  It should be noted that the Early Childhood Commission and the Ministry of Education have vetted this training programme and given full support. 
Beneficiaries have included a wide cross section of Government agencies, NGOs, Principals and Teachers from Basic and Infant Schools surrounding the VOUCH Basic School.
Another WLI programme,  “Conversations with Boys” was launched by the WLI in 2018, in a bid to help with “socializing” young boys and giving them a forum to discuss matters of concern to them including respect for women and girls, cyber bullying, empathy for other student, peer pressure and the pitfalls of drug and alcohol abuse. 
The WLI  has over the past 18 years earned a reputation for its work in philanthropy, advocacy and mentorship. Their work, financed by several signature fund-raising events, which has spanned at risk youth, abused women and financially challenged students, won the WLI the AMCHAM Jamaica Civic Leadership Award In 2017.  

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On November 14th, the WLI invited Ambassador Sue Cobb, founder of the WLI in Jamaica to be the guest speaker at the  of WLI 10th Anniversary Awards Banquet:   The banquet program was designed to include the following agenda items :

1.       To celebrate a decade of achievement which has attended the WLI since its formation in Jamaica, that has established us as a well-respected, recognized organization, championing women and children, especially girls.

2.       To honour Past Chairs of WLI

3.       To recognize and honour “WLI Pioneer Sponsors” who have been with us along the journey

4.       To raise a critical sum to help fund a 10th Anniversary Scholarship to a young woman in need to a tertiary institution in Jamaica

5.       To heighten the awareness of the projects of WLI and in particular emphasize the Child Sexual Abuse project

6.       To inspire and encourage corporate Jamaica and individuals, particularly women, to participate in Nation Building through Social Responsibility.


 Other recent WLI Events aimed at women’s development/issues include:


(1) International Women’s Day (IWD) – For the past two years we have hosted very successful IWD events:

       Luncheon around the 2013 UN theme: “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”.

       2014 Breakfast in “Salute of Women On Boards”, where we acknowledged public and private sector companies with women on their boards


(2) Partnership in 2013 with Mona School of Business and Management (University of the West Indies) and Institute for Gender and Development Studies, Mona Unit; to stage a public lecture by U.S. Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater under the theme “Women’s Leadership: Transforming Self, Community and Country


(3) WLI has honoured Jamaican women and non-governmental organizations in the areas of Health, Education, Philanthropy, Volunteerism and the Arts. They include:


·         Mrs Michelle Rollins-Co Founder of SOS Children’s Village

·         Mrs Ruby Martin-For her work with the Maxfield Park Children’s Home and the restoration of the Ward Theatre in Downton Kingston

·         Dr.Valerie Facey – For her work with Jamaica Association for the Deaf

·         Prof. Maureen Samms-Vaughn-Chair Early Childhood Foundation

·         Dr. Deanne Ashley – Paediatrician and her work at the Children’s Hospital

·         Mrs Patricia Ramsay – For contribution to the Jamaica Arts and Culture

·         Dr Elizabeth Ward – Chair Violence Prevention Alliance

·         Children First

·         RISE Life Management Services