Monday, April 15, 2024

Sam at your service


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“I am an A-type personality, so I am driven,” says Katrina Sam. That drive is expected to propel the Rotary Club of Barbados South to new heights, as madam president takes over the chair of the once male-dominated service club.Sam created history when she was officially installed as president of Rotary South during a dinner and installation ceremony at Sea Breeze Beach Hotel last night. It is a challenge which the 36-year-old mother and company director has taken on with the resolve that “you volunteer until you volunteer. After you volunteer, you are no longer a volunteer”.Service has always been an important factor of Katrina Sam’s life. As a student at The St Michael School, she joined the Interact Club, the junior arm of Rotary. Her dedication even at that early stage earned her the prize for being the most public-spirited student at graduation.  of the requirements for graduation from Cabrini College, the Catholic university in Pennsylvania where she earned a BSc (Honours) in human resource management and business administration, was completion of two semesters of community service. She completed them with sterling work in a programme feeding homeless veterans.        About the university’s community service programme she observed: “It forced all the senior students to broaden their perspective – not just looking at academics, but also to recognise that we had a part to play in the world to help people who needed our help.“I think that really spurred me on the path to service.” She joined the Rotaract Club of Barbados South on her return to Barbados, serving three years as president. Sam progressed to become one of the first female Rotarians in Barbados, along with two others, at age 30. Asked to define Katrina Sam, this dynamo responded: “I have three major spheres in my life. I am a 36-year-old mother of a two-year-old; from a professional perspective I am a director with Caribbean Catalyst; and, from a Rotary perspective, as of today [July 1] I am president of the Rotary Club of Barbados South.The rise to the top may be viewed as a natural evolution for this dynamic young woman, the youngest Rotary president ever in Barbado.And she acknowledges: “Barbados unbelievably was one of the last two countries in our Rotary district to allow women into Rotary.“I think it is going to be a big challenge. I think the challenge that I have will not necessarily be unlike any other president’s challenge in terms of managing a group of professionals.“My challenge will probably be a little bit more interesting. I don’t think my gender will be an issue. My age, maybe; I will probably be among the youngest presidents ever.” But she is up to the task of directing the “ambitious programme” laid out for the club this year.“That is to really focus on people with disabilities. Our plan is to create a recreational facility for kids with disabilities . . . an all-inclusive type of facility.” Negotiations are in progress for acquisition of Government-owned land at Wildey for the facility estimated to cost over $1/2 million. How has she managed to excel and progress in a male-dominated organisation? “I have never felt disadvantaged in any way because of my gender . . . . I have never felt that I necessarily got special treatment.” Instead she believes her long association with Rotary and her evolution through the ranks earned her the respect she enjoys from male Rotarians.Ironically, her husband Ezra Prescod is a member of the only club in Barbados – Rotary West – that has not yet inducted a female member.“Rotary is a wonderful organisation . . . . I find it to be very effective. Rotary is full of very busy people, captains of industry as they like to say, business leaders who are all very busy . . . . People of like mind who are extremely effective in executing projects, pulling resources together to execute projects . . . . It is not a lot of talk,” says Sam.She is herself one of those business leaders with a hectic schedule. She has the distinction of being the first person outside the United States and Hong Kong to gain the highly-acclaimed designation of Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) through the WorldatWork (formerly American Compensation Association). She also holds an MBA with a concentration in global management from the University of Phoenix.As a founding director of her own company Catalyst Caribbean Inc., together with another partner, she is primarily responsible for leading the delivery of the firm’s compensation and benefits services to clients throughout the Caribbean region, as well as acting in an advisory and lead capacity on the firm’s internal compensation benefits practices and programmes.By her own admission, balancing the many roles will be challenging, and she insists her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Tyler is her priority.“What I will continue to do is make sure that I address the important things in my life first. I must compartmentalise and prioritise.“I do recognise my responsibility. Being Rotary president is for one year and I want to do a great job.”


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