A rapt audience of some 200 business students of the University of the West Indies (UWI) listened as Carlos Matallana, General Manager of Global Exchange for Jamaica and T&T, used practical examples from his own experiences to steer them on a path of discovery – a discovery of opportunities and possibilities as they chart their own career goals.
“I want the students to understand that having a clear final destination is the foundation of imminent success,” stated Matallana. “Having that obsession about where you want to be opens your mind to how to create that pathway because following wherever the winds blow leaves you at the mercy of the wind.”
Mr. Matallana led the invited participants in an interactive career development forum, Pathways to Success: One Man’s Journey in Business on Wednesday, February 22. The first of a three-part series, entitled “Conversations with Spain”, an initiative of the Embassy of Spain and The Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI).
Carmen Rives Ruiz-Tapiador, Chargée d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Spain was pleased with the outcome of this first event.
“We are delighted to be able to facilitate this type of dialogue among the university students, “noted Rives. “In fact, Carlos has talked about the importance of education and access as being a part of success and that’s what we aimed for when we decided to initiate Conversations with Spain. We want the future leaders and business professionals to recognize that small dreams are possible and there is more than one pathway to it and several entities ready to help you get there.”
As the series title suggests, the intention is to encourage dialogue between Spanish and Jamaican stakeholders on various topics of mutual interest, for exposure and education. The “Conversations with Spain” series will be completed with a panel discussion on tourism investments and a renewable energies workshop, later this year.
During his presentation dotted with anecdotes and humour, Matallana likened the pathway to success to popular network series Game of Thrones versus popular film, Alice in Wonderland; in that every decision made by each character is done with a clear goal in mind despite the sacrifices required or cruelty necessary which often sadly makes them achieve their target versus travelling aimlessly like Alice in Wonderland and never knowing if you’re truly getting closer to home or not.
For some students, having access to this talk was beyond inspirational.
“I have always been curious about successful people,” stated Ajoeanna Brown, Student of Statistics and Economics. “So just having someone who is able to give us that platform of knowledge is the most inspiring thing and the fact that he advised us to embrace failure. Traditionally, our parents advise us to do what you know you’re going to most likely succeed in; avoid failure at all costs. And Carlos didn’t encourage failure, but advised that when you fall down, simply brush yourself and get back up.”
For other students, it truly affirmed their hopes of going beyond traditional pathways.
“When you study International relations and Spanish most people expect you’re going into diplomacy,” stated Shantelle Malcom, Student of International Relations and Spanish. “And I’ve always thought there are opportunities in business with Spanish especially with Latin America and Jamaica.”
“What I took away from today’s talk was a real life living example of opportunities like that existing,” continued Malcolm. “You don’t have to become a teacher or a diplomat. You don’t have to do any of that. You can actually go into business with Spanish and International relations because you learn so much about the two from both studies.”
Pathways to Success: One Man’s Journey in Business was also held in partnership with The Spanish-Jamaican Foundation and The University of the West Indies’ Department of Economics.