The panel on Transformation at the Jamaican Women of Florida Women's Empowerment Conference on April 8 in Miami will include powerful women such as Imani Duncan-Price, Transformation business and political leader from Kingston, Jamaica; Julie Mansfield, author and South Florida businesswoman who overcame abuse; and Nailah Wagner, career leadership and executive coach from Washington, D.C.
Meet Our Panelists
A former Senator, board member of the Development Bank of Jamaica, Managing Director of a luxury adventure destination management start-up, Group Strategy Officer for the JMMB Group – a leading Caribbean financial services group, Imani Duncan-Price, exhibits an impressive record of successful leadership in a range of areas.
Now Co-Executive Director of the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI), Imani was part of the initial leadership team in the 2004 "Taking Responsibility" research project which gave birth to the think tank in 2006.
She has, in her career, served as an international management consultant focused on the areas of business strategy, cluster competitiveness, gender strategy and social intervention, as well as co-authored extensive research on the origins of Kingston's inner-city violence, a theme she had previously explored for her Master's thesis.
Indeed, Duncan-Price is a committed advocate for social and economic development. After completing her year focused on sustainability and violence reduction issues as Miss Jamaica World 1995, she earned an interdisciplinary BA in Economics, History, Government and Philosophy from Wesleyan University in the USA. Imani then attended Harvard University for her Masters where, as an International Development student, she co-founded AIDS-targeting NGO "Global Justice", whilst also working with the Work Bank on the issue of gender and economic development. She is still today a dedicated committee member of the Kingston YMCA Endowment Fund, Director of the Youth Upliftment Through Employment (Y.U.T.E.) Programme and an active member of the People’s National Party (PNP).
In recognition of her leadership, Imani was named amongst “50UnderFifty Business Leaders Shaping Jamaica’s Future” by the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ) in 2013 and a Young Global Leader (YGL) by the World Economic Forum in 2015.
Imani Duncan-Price is married and a happy mother of three.
“How my story ends is entirely up to me”
If you glance into my eyes, it might be unfathomable to imagine that this vivacious, passionate, humorous, strong and incredibly independent mother, philanthropist and entrepreneur ever endured an ounce of affliction or distress. But do not mistake my positive, uplifting and empowering energy as a disguise to my hurt. I have overcome an extremely painful past and have managed to heal with grace and dignity while continuing to extend a compassionate hand to others along the way.
For many years, I basked in the warm, fun and loving atmosphere of the Jamaican countryside. I was surrounded by a large family, had a desire for books and a thirst for educational excellence. But my idyllic childhood was struck violently by several experiences that punctured my innocence.
A string of molestation, rape, violence and abuse at the hands of men I trusted the most, ripped my dignity, pride, confidence, my life. I instantly transformed from a diligent, bright and energetic young girl to a reclusive, scared and frightened child cloaked in shame and guilt.
At the age of 15, I moved to New York and six years later, I gave birth to my first child. That move, fueled by my educational achievements allowed me to bury the tragic experiences of my formative years. I became so engrossed with my educational pursuits that nothing dared to stand in the way of my success. I was charged with so much determination and tenacity that I have and continue to enjoy several careers as an event planner and activist.
By age 27, and with two children, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from Temple University with a degree in Journalism, Public Relations & Advertising. My extensive resume boasts positions as the Director of FACE/Special Events and Cultural Grants for the City of Miami; Public Information Officer for the City of North Miami; and producer of major events including the 2007 Carifta Games in Turks and Caicos.
But it was the difficult decision to return to the scene of the crimes that would become my most profound and personal accomplishment. When I return to Jamaica and walked the beaten path to my countryside home, I made a startling revelation: The footprints that so plagued my life had been washed away. That discovery was the first step towards my journey to recovery. Through a therapeutic and emotional conversation with other members of my family who also endured the same abuse at the hands of my uncles, I was able to slowly peel away the shame, guilt and embarrassment associated with my tumultuous experiences.
I chronicled my journey in a memoir entitled, ‘Maybe God Was Busy’. This book has allowed me to prevail as a survivor, leader, and inspiration to others who have endured a similar passage. Despite my painful history, I have become a vocal soldier in the war against childhood abuse and have triumphed to become a driven, resilient, and ambitious mother of two beautiful daughters.
I have successfully removed the weighty cloak of shame and returned it to its rightful owners – my abusers. I have proudly replaced it with a badge of advocacy for others battling demons of their own. With the establishment of my foundation, ‘Give Me Dignity’, I am dedicated to be the voice of the voiceless. I seek to support, uplift and encourage others using the lessons from my own journey.
Nailah Wagner is a Career Strategist supporting mid-to-senior level professionals in achieving professional fulfilment and growth. She specializes in empowering clients to navigate difficult career transformations including transitions to new industries, taking on increased responsibility, and turning setbacks into successes.
Nailah brings 10+ years of work experience in Career Management and Executive Coaching, Marketing and Sales strategy. She currently serves as Associate Director and Faculty at The Institute for Personal Leadership (IPL), where she also provides Executive Coaching and teaches Personal Leadership with Professor Hitendra Wadhwa at Columbia University. Prior to joining IPL, she worked at Emory University, Goizueta Business School as a Career Coach and Associate Director of MBA Career Management. There she led program development and strategy for the experienced professionals in the Evening MBA program. Using her branding expertise, she redesigned the Personal Branding curriculum and conducted workshops for students and corporate clients. Nailah also possesses a wealth of corporate experience including Fortune 500 product branding, sales and marketing. At Campbell Soup Company, she managed the fastest growing soup brand in the Campbell’s portfolio, Healthy Request Soups, earning the distinction of an Extraordinary Performance Award. Nailah began her career at Whirlpool Corporation where she advanced quickly and managed key sales territories including New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles.
Today, Nailah leverages her diversity of work experience, as a coach, educator, consultant, marketer, and sales leader, to bring unique value to her clients. She is also currently in the process of expanding her independent coaching business that will formally launch mid-2017.
Nailah received her BA in Public Policy from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her MBA from Columbia Business School. She currently resides in Columbia, MD, with her husband of six years, David, and two vibrant daughters, who are one and three years old.
The Jamaican Women of Florida, Inc. (JWOF) will again host the third annual Women’s Empowerment Conference & Scholarship Luncheon to celebrate its fourth anniversary on Saturday, April 8, 2017. The event will take place at the Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, in downtown Miami.
Sponsorship and vendor opportunities are still available to interested persons. Information on details of the Conference is available at www.jamaicanwomenofflorida.com and www.facebook.com/jwoflorida or by calling 561-320-1391. Tickets for the event are available at Eventbrite. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/jamaican-women-of-florida-womens-empowerment-conference-scholarship-luncheon-tickets-30811619383