Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 10th 2015 Contents By Roslyn Carrington
LISA GHANY is no doubt a familiar
face to many women. She runs her
own event management business,
Xceptional Events Limited, and for the
past four years served as advisor for
public engagement for former Prime
Minister, Mrs. Kamla Persad Bisses-
"Xceptional events was still running,"
she explained, "but very low key, as
when someone hires you, they want
YOU, and I wanted to avoid anything
that might seem to be a conflict of in-
She also teaches Event Management
at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate
School of Business. WOW was very
eager to find out what that experi-
ence was like, and what she's been
doing these days.
WOW: What services did you pro-
vide for Mrs. Persad Bissessar?
I dealt with the public; providing public
relations and communications duties.
I was a liaison for anyone seeking ap-
pointments with her. I diarised her ap-
pointments and kept a schedule and
followed up on events. I worked with
the team for all events, whether the
PM was hosting or attending.
WOW: How is that different from
her personal assistant at her
It's more in an advisory capacity;
you're more proactive, looking at op-
portunities for her to interact with
groups within society. I was another
set of eyes and ears that could add
value because of where I came from.
My background is in events manage-
ment, both in corporate and civil life,
and I'm also qualified in protocol and
etiquette. I brought another dimen-
sion to a team that might not have
been as qualified in these areas.
WOW: What was your
relationship like with her?
Very professional. Over the four years
we built a closer relationship working
together. I have a lot of respect for
the office of the Prime Minister, and
the fact that Mrs. Persad Bissessar
was our first woman Prime Minister.
As a small sovereign nation, we set a
very high standard as far as where
we position our women, because
there are many societies where
women don't even have the right to
vote, and I think we take that for
WOW: What was
your greatest challenge?
Learning how to operate in the public
sector, understanding the policies and
procedures... and the politics!
WOW: Can you give an example of
an event that was especially diffi-
cult, or something you had to over-
I can't pinpoint one event. I think I
have a lot of experience working in
teams: I've worked with senior man-
agers and CEOS, and I don't think it's
much different working with a PM,
who is ultimately the CEO of the
country. You try to use a solution-ori-
ented approach to the challenges;
your job is to do that to the benefit of
the person you're working for and use
your professional expertise to guide
the decisions that you make.
WOW: Why the growing interest in
Event Management in T&T?
It's something that comes naturally to
us here. We have a love for it; we're
very creative. Event management is
not a hobby; it's a serious business in
which a lot of money is spent. You
have to approach it with all the seri-
ousness that any other area would re-
WOW: If you had to send a
| PROFILES |
January 10, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
WOW MAGAZINE | 5
message to women establish-
ing themselves in any type of
business, what would it be?
I'm a firm believer in education.
Your education belongs to you.
No matter what you have, all
the material things in life,
whether you have a significant
other, things may come or
things may go, but your educa-
tion is for life. You're also a
more balanced person: your
self-esteem has a better foun-
dation, so you can meet the
challenges that come your
WOW: What does
feminism mean to you?
I think people have different
ideas of what feminism is. For
me, it's not about becoming a
man or taking on manly quali-
ties. It's about your self-es-
teem, who you are as a
woman, the ingrained qualities
you possess as a woman. You
have a brain in your head, and
you can be whatever you want
At the same time, we are the
mothers of the world. We are
the nurturers, and even when
we come into the corporate
world we bring those qualities
with us. Maybe we are more
emotive, but emotion is good.
We're dealing with human be-
ings, not bricks and mortar. We
have to know how to apply
that emotion to situations that
require that human touch.
If men are offended by the
term "feminism", they need to
go back and examine their rela-
tionships with the women in
Being feminine to me also
means enjoying being roman-
tic, girly, attractive, and glam-
ourous. I'm not going to say I
don't want to be that.
WOW: You're involved in the
Down syndrome cause?
My partner's son has Down
syndrome. He founded the
Down Syndrome Family Net-
work. I'm the chairperson of
the event programme, and
work with them to raise
awareness of their confer-
ences and workshops, and ac-
tivities like the Buddy Walk.
We partner with the Down
Syndrome Society in the US.
We host a conference on
World Down Syndrome Day,
on March 21st.
WOW: What do you see
for the upcoming year?
We're going into a year of
more austerity. People aren't
going to spend extravagantly,
and businesses will look at
how they are spending. Events
are part of their marketing mix,
so they will have to look closely
at how they manage their
events. They will have to em-
ploy experienced people who
bring competitiveness and cre-
ativity, who can align with
The Event team
Yo Pro team
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