#TeamMemberTuesday - Marchelle Williams Refusing to Self-Reject
An unassuming smile and wide brown eyes hide the story and power of one determined young lady, Marchelle Williams. Accomplished in her own right, we first met up with her in 2019 at the staging of a Pro Millennial Society’s event set to inspire the youth of Sagicor Group to dream big and conquer the world. This dynamo was getting ready for her next big adventure in the U.K.
At the then meeting, we noticed a glow, powerful, yet certain as she allowed her team to lead the proceedings; on stage were gospel act Rondell Positive and broadcaster Kerie-Ann “KiKi” Thombs sharing stories about their fields. As the audience was being inspired, Williams was fresh off the heels of the annual Chevening announcement which would see her leave Sagicor for a year to pursue an MSc., Finance and Investment Management at the University of Liverpool.
But who is this coffee-loving, Warren Buffet 'stan' who after her studies came back to Sagicor Bank? This is the story of Marchelle Williams.
A product of a lecturer mother and CEO father, Marchelle, elder of two girls, dreamed of becoming a lawyer; at age 15, this shifted to her wanting to become a chartered Accountant. However it was fate at her Immaculate High School Alma Mater in the exploration of the CAPE Economics subject that changed the game.
“I really enjoyed [it] and decided to pursue a double major in economics and banking and finance (even though I knew nothing about finance). It turned out that I loved it. I would say I figured out that I liked this field in college”, says Marchelle.
Life At Sagicor
While at the University of the West Indies, in 2015 she became a summer intern, starting her journey in the Fixed Income Department at Sagicor Investments Limited (SIJ). That year, based on her exceptional performance, the 4-week internship was extended, twice. With steely confidence, once her degree was complete in 2016, she re-joined Sagicor Bank in June 2016 as a Trade and securities Officer and won the employee of the month, not once, but two times.
With a burning desire to pursue her passion for treasury management, she completed cross-training during her lunchtimes with the Bank’s Treasury team and later completed cross-training with the Treasury and Capital Markets Department at Sagicor Investments Jamaica Limited for one month.
Understanding the value of certification, she completed the Jamaican Securities Course to hone the skills necessary to qualify for a role within any of the treasury departments across the group.
Woman of Faith
Certification complete, within a year, the self-proclaimed travel blogger was promoted to Business Development Officer, Sagicor Bank with a focus on increasing the institution’s foreign exchange market share and foreign exchange profits. As per usual, Marchelle rose to the challenge.
Driven and strategic she never skipped a beat and took on the role of President of the innovative 'Sagicor Pro Millennial Mentorship Society'. Aforementioned, the group focuses on the development and training of Sagicor’s millennial team members with opportunities, advanced positioning and career advice. This, she ran from March 2018 - August 2019. As president, she contributed to the high performance of the society members and with her executive body secured the silver Workforce Optima Award in the category of vision for 2019 as well as the Human Resource Management Association Of Jamaica Silver Award for Innovation in 2018.
A woman of faith, her work commitments did not dampen or waver her service to Kingdom. A pianist and cellist, Marchelle has played for her church from the age of 14 and continues to do so today.
This faith was needed when the time came for the announcement of the 2019 recipients of the prestigious Chevening Scholarship. “I was most definitely nervous”, she says, but this was short-lived once she got the news of her success. This same attitude of faith has served her well in handling her obstacles. “I've dealt with many obstacles but particularly I would say self-rejection in the latter stages and the earlier stages I would say balancing all the things I tried to do at once.”
Now, if you're slightly clueless as we were when she mentioned the term 'self-rejection', from our research , this means "a pre-judging of self or work done by self as lacking in some critical way, and so you take action to sabotage it or cease it entirely." Self-rejection can also take more subtle forms. Some of these include:
- Resignation, or not pursuing our highest aspirations
- Remaining in relationships or jobs that are stagnant. (They may offer the comfort of familiarity, but no growth.)
- Turning down or missing various life opportunities
- Self-punitive mental habits like perfectionism.
- Opting for instant gratification to avoid short-term discomfort while missing out on long-term fulfilment.
Clear? Great! Back to the story.
Her Chevening journey in the UK now complete, she reflected on the lessons. “The Chevening experience taught me several life lessons. But if I had to choose two it would be to never self-reject. Never believe you are not good enough for something, at least try. Secondly, it taught me that even though people may be from different cultures and countries we are all the same at heart and can bond around that commonality.
This and a passion for finance drives her, she says. Marchelle desires to be an inspiration to women and young people that they can be all they want to be. Her goals, mind you, are very big. This is part of her end game.
“The end game is to own my own investment house one day. I desire to position the company as a profitable, regional and leading firm in its industry, and aim to establish a sustainable organization, creating employment for hundreds of youths and transforming an underdeveloped regional financial sector into a globally competitive industry. After fulfilling this career goal, I intend to follow the growing trend of successful executives who moved to the public service sector. I plan to become a lead consultant to Caribbean governments in the Ministries of Finance or Economic Growth & Job Creation.”
But where does she get this drive?
Says Williams, “My parents are definitely my drivers and have always told me I can be anything I want to be”. Her mother, she notes, taught her the value of education and attention to detail. A role model for as long as she can remember, Marchelle’s mother at 26 was the head of her math department. “She always taught me to do my best and excel at anything I do”.
Her father, a chief executive officer has been in senior management for most of her life; “Watching him be a high performer and having him encourage me to do the same has driven me to be the best I can be.”
Now armed with a global MSc. and several years of experience, Marchelle returned to Jamaica and Sagicor Bank to one of her biggest challenges to date, lead e-Commerce and Commercial Products as one of our youngest managers.
“The learning curve has been steep, especially in a new area. My mentors at the company have been very supportive and have offered advice to navigate the new waters. I also have a very encouraging and understanding boss, so this has made the difficult transition easier”.
Her advice to those who wish to follow in her footsteps? “Decide where you want to go and what you want to achieve; make a plan on how to get there. Surround yourself with mentors who can guide you on the journey you have decided to take. Never self-reject! Never be afraid to change direction. Sometimes you may need to pivot. Read widely and often!"