Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 1st 2016 Contents DECEMBER 1 • 2016 guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG13
Hope amid change
Iwas in Washington, DC, and New
York recently for the premiere of
"Don't Look Down"---a new doc-
umentary about my ballooning
adventures---and it was obvious
that many Americans are angry
and fearful in the aftermath of this month's
Over the years, I've visited the US count-
less times, and I've learned a great deal from
running businesses in America. While
"hope" may not feel like a suitable word to
describe the country's divisions right now,
I know that Americans are diverse in expe-
rience and that they will always be united
Since the election, I've also been thinking
a lot about the impact that the long political
cycle has had on women---and young women
in particular---as misogynistic rhetoric was
flung during the campaign, and in the af-
termath of the vote. Politics aside, I know
how much of an impact words can have on
young people who are just starting out in
their lives and careers, and specifically in
the business world.
My daughter, Holly, is grown now. She's
a qualified physician and an accomplished
business leader. But if she were 16 years old
today, my advice to her would be: never mind
the bollocks. Do not let others define you.
Keep working for what you believe in, and
do not give up.
When I was first getting into business,
there were very few women in positions of
power whom young women could look up
to as role models.
Since then, the world has been turned
on its head (thank goodness!), and as we
all know, many of today's most dynamic,
creative and smart leaders in business, pol-
itics and nonprofits are women. I've been
inspired by many, from Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg
to the philanthropist and entrepreneur Melinda Gates
to Jayne-Anne Gadhia, the chief executive of Virgin
Whether people want to recognise it or not, the
world has changed, and this shift toward inclusion
and diversity has made our businesses inarguably
more successful and innovative and strengthened
Of course, there is much more work ahead on im-
proving gender balance, including at Virgin, but I
cannot imagine where our companies, or our soci-
ety, would be without all the brilliant, driven female
leaders we have today.
If we do not continue to encourage women and girls
to aim for the top, we will be leaving more than half
our talent on the table. It's with this in mind that
Virgin America partnered with both LinkedIn and
LeanIn.org, an organisation led by Sandberg, on a
campaign to encourage women to pursue their career
ambitions and share their career stories.
In addition to professional development sessions
available for free on Virgin America flights equipped
with high-speed WiFi, we also named a new Airbus
A320 aircraft "Lady Boss"---a reminder that the sky's
no limit for women in leadership roles.
As I mentioned, there is much more work to be done.
And while the ultimate glass ceiling wasn't shattered
in the US earlier this month, I know that it will be
someday and I hope that happens in the near future.
On the bright side
I believe in finding the good in any situation, so
I think it's worth highlighting some positives with
regard to drug policy that came out of the recent
On November 8, voters in California, Nevada and
Massachusetts voted to legalise and regulate the
production, sale and consumption of cannabis while
Montana, North Dakota and Florida approved medical
marijuana bills. Just a decade ago, very few people
would have believed that an end to the nation's pro-
hibition on marijuana could actually be within reach.
As I wrote in a recent column, the millions of peo-
ple who have been arrested for possessing or sell-
ing cannabis, then locked up because of mandatory
sentencing laws, are often barred from reaping any
benefits from legal cannabis markets.
From an entrepreneurial standpoint, that's not only
unfair, but it also prohibits people with real experience
in the cannabis trade from contributing value to this
I hope that the new president-elect will recog-
nize that the war on drugs has been a colossal and
costly failure, and that he will continue to support
the criminal justice and drug policy reforms initiat-
ed by President Obama and many courageous state
I'm confident that more positive small steps are
ahead. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to many
more years of trips to the US to visit with our brilliant
staff and wonderful customers.
(Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group
and companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America,
Virgin Mobile and Virgin Active. He maintains a blog at
www.virgin.com/richard-branson/blog. You can follow
him on Twitter at twitter.com/richardbranson. To learn
more about the Virgin Group: www.virgin.com.)
(Questions from readers will be answered in future
columns. Please send them to Richard.Branson@
Please include your name, country, e-mail address and
the name of the website or publication where you read
VACANCY -- SENIOR PROGRAM MANAGER
for Community Based HIV Response
Our client, LINKAGES, is working with stakeholders to reduce HIV transmission among key populations in
the region. They wish to hire Senior Program Manager (SPM) Eastern Caribbean (Trinidad, Suriname,
Barbados and Bahamas) on a 1 year contract.
Under the supervision of the LINKAGES Regional Director, the primary responsibility of the SPM is to en-
sure successful, timely implementation of the LINKAGES work plan and achievement of the project's targets
and goals, through overseeing day-to-day program management and operations, across 3 results areas:
1. Increased availability of comprehensive prevention, care and treatment services, including reliable
coverage across the continuum of care for key populations.
2. Demand for comprehensive prevention, care and treatment services among key populations enhanced
3. Strengthened systems for planning, monitoring, evaluating and assuring the quality of programs
for key populations
The position is based in Port of Spain with travel to the other 3 countries as necessary. The successful applicant
• Masters level degree in Public Health, International Development or Management (preferred) or related feld
• Demonstrated skills in program management and operations.
• Experience in design, implementation, and management of HIV public health/ international development
• Proven skills in the implementation of HIV prevention, care, and treatment projects for key populations in
one or more of the focus countries.
• Proven skills in mentoring, leadership and networking.
• Sensitivity to cultural differences and understanding of the political and ethical issues surrounding public
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• Experience working with civil society organizations to plan and implement HIV and/or health-related
Detailed job description is available on request.
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