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The Jamaican Women of Florida, Inc. (JWOF) will host the third annual Women’s Empowerment Conference & Scholarship Luncheon to celebrate its fourth anniversary on Saturday, April 8, 2017. Mentoring will close the day’s activities with a panel of next generation professionals including Dr. Fidel Goldson, Jr., CEO, Florida based Goldson Spine Rehabilitation Center; Devona Reynolds-Perez, South Florida attorney and President of Caribbean Bar Association; and Jamaican based medical practitioner, Dr. Sanneta Myrie and former Miss Jamaica World (2015).



Devona A. Reynolds Perez is the General Counsel of CP Franchising, LLC. She was born in Jamaica and is an alumna of Immaculate Conception High in Kingston, Jamaica. Mrs. Reynolds Perez received her B.B.A. from the University of Miami and her J.D. from Shepard Broad College of Law at Nova Southeastern University. She has extensive experience in the areas of franchising, commercial litigation, and labor and employment law. She has represented national and regional franchisors as well as start-up franchisors and developers and has successfully defended her clients against civil rights and employment discrimination claims. 

Mrs. Reynolds Perez is the current President of the Caribbean Bar Association and is a Class IV Fellow of the Florida Bar's Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy. She has been recognized as a Top 40 Under 40 Black Leader of Today and Tomorrow by Legacy Magazine in 2016 and has been recognized as a Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2015, 2016, and 2017.


Dr. Sanneta Myrie, Miss Jamaica World 2015, Miss World Caribbean and Miss World third runner up 2015 is a 26-year-old medical doctor with a keen interest in the Performing Arts and a sincere passion for the Jamaican culture.

Dr. Myrie started life with the odds stacked against her. Born to a very young mother, she spent her early days in one of Jamaica’s toughest inner-city communities, Greenwich Town. At the age of 9, Sanneta was adopted by the Jeffery Myrie. The humble Sanneta gives credit to Mr Myrie for giving her a “second chance in life” to make the most out of every opportunity. Mr Myrie died in 2016 after a brief illness.

A graduate of the St. Andrew High School for Girls (2008) and the DeCarteret College (2010), Dr. Myrie developed a penchant for the sciences so by Grade 9, she was set on being a scientist. By the time she got to Grade 12 at DeCarteret College,Dr. Myrie was president of the Arts and Culture club as well as executive member of the Young Innovators Club. Her high school science project, "Agricultural Trash to Treasure" which proposed the use of sugar cane bagasse to make paper as well as microwavable food container, won her national awards at the JPS National Science & Technology Expo in 2010.

In 2010, Dr. Myrie went on to pursue medicine at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. Dr. Myrie participated in several extra-curricular activities including the performing arts and mentorship. She is a senior member of the Quilt Performing Arts Company and was a mentor to teens in the Craig Town community. Her mission is to develop dynamic social intervention programmes and use the Arts as a means of therapy and to further empower the otherwise marginalized population to improve their lives. At the University, Dr Myrie also served as Miss Aston Preston Hall 2010 and Miss UWI Mona 2012. In 2013 and again in 2014 she was awarded the prestigious Charles Denbow Memorial scholarship as well as other academic awards and for her involvement in mentorship.

Dr. Myrie in her capacity as Miss Jamaica World and Miss World Caribbean used the platform to advocate for causes including; gender equality, access to education and health care. She was invited in 2016 to speak at the headquarters of the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C., where she shared her perspective on non-traditional gender and occupational roles in the Caribbean. Dr. Myrie notes that gender equality in the workplace, which ensures that women can participate fully, contributes to economic development and growth.

Dr. Myrie also participated in a one-week groundbreaking volunteer service tour of East Africa in March 2016. She participated in a series of youth development

workshops and mentorship programmes organized by the Shashamane Sunrise, an international volunteer organization that supports children’s education in developing countries. The tour covered Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

Fully embracing the Miss World beauty with a purpose mantra, Dr. Myrie has collaborated with various non-governmental organizations in Jamaica, including the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, the School for Therapy, Education and Parenting of Children with Multiple Disabilities Center as well as the United States-based United Missions of Good Will.

On where she sees herself in near future, Dr. Myrie states: "I want to go on to specialize in psychiatry as I have come to understand and appreciate the value of mental health; and I recognize the importance of human resources to our nation's development. I want to serve my country in the best way I know how."

Dr. Sanneta Myrie considers herself a deeply spiritual person with the philosophy “that love conquers all things and on the journey of life it matters not what lies before or behind you but what lies within.”


Dr. Fidel Goldson, Jr.  is a licensed physical therapist and chiropractic physician in South Florida. He has been in practice as a licensed physical therapist since 1999 and as a chiropractor since 2006. In addition to his doctorate in chiropractic, and B.S. in physical therapy, Dr. Goldson also holds a B.S. in anatomy and a master's in liberal arts studies.  He is also a licensed general contractor and currently heads up Goldson Spine Rehabilitation Center which consists of four locations throughout Broward and Dade counties. The practice specializes in rehabbing patients suffering from auto accident related ailments, sports injuries, headaches, neck and back pain. Armed with years of patient care experience and a concern that products on the market were not offering patients the relief they needed, Dr. Goldson and his wife Dr. Thiema Goldson developed a spine, joint and muscle cream specifically designed with his patients in mind and is currently available at all Goldson Spine locations. 

Dr. Goldson also takes pride in finding ways to serve the community through the Dr. Fidel S. Goldson, Sr. foundation, an organization created in honor of his late father who was also a chiropractor.  Through the foundation, Dr. Goldson and the Goldson Spine family are able to provide scholarships to college bound students in south Florida and in Jamaica, school supplies to children in need and mentorship to young adults interested in the applied sciences. Dr. Goldson's philosophy is rooted in his strong faith in God, his compassion for others, and his belief in teaching young people the importance of an education and the continual pursuit of their dreams.

Dr. Goldson is married with three children and resides in Miramar, Florida. 

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


The sessions at the Jamaican Women of Florida Women's Empowerment Conference on April 8 in Miami will feature  professionals who are renowned first and second generation women of Jamaican descent who will share their experiences and insights into their professional and personal development.  The morning session Smashing the Glass Ceiling will include Commander Janice Smith - US Navy Commander; Dr. Janice Cover – Former Assistant School Superintendent of Palm Beach County; and Captain Maria Ziadie Haddad who was the first female pilot at former Jamaican national airline, Air Jamaica.

 Meet Our Panelists

Commander Janice G. Smith

Commander Janice G. Smith is a native of Jamaica West Indies and enlisted in the Navy in 1988. She served aboard the USS Yosemite AD-19 from 1989-1993 and at NAS Keywest from 1993-1997. She graduated from Troy State University with a Masters in Business Management and was commissioned through the Officer Candidate School (OCS) Program in 1997.

From 1998-2002 she completed Division Officer tours in USS OLENDORF (DD 972) as Damage Control Officer and USS NORMANDY (CG 60) as Fire Control Officer.

From 2002-2005 she served as the Cruise Missile Tactics Officer at Surface Warfare Development Group (SWDG).

She completed two Department Head tours in USS NORMANDY (CG-60) from March 2005 to October 2007 where she served as Weapons Officer and Combat Systems Officer.

In November 2008 she completed a one year assignment at the Naval War College where she completed requirements for JPME-PHASE I and earned a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies. From December 2008 to December 2011 she served as Chief, Office of Defense Cooperation at the US Embassy in Nassau Bahamas, as a member of the U.S. Southern & Northern Command J5 Strategy and Policy Directorates.

From February 2012 to July 2013 she served as the AEGIS/ BMD Officer at Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Atlantic. She reported as Executive Officer in USS OSCAR AUSTIN DDG-79 in June 2014 and fleeted up to Commanding Officer on 2 May 2016.

Commander Smith completed five Fifth Fleet deployments and one Mediterranean deployment in support of Operation Desert Storm, Operation Desert Fox, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Enduring freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Task Force East Africa Anti-terrorism tasking. While assigned to USS NORMANDY in 2005, she deployed to Europe and Africa in support of Standing Maritime Group One NATO operations.

Her Awards includes the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (5), Navy Achievement Medal (2) and various campaign, service, and unit awards.

Dr.  Janice Scott Cover

Veteran educator, Dr. Janice Scott Cover is the President & CEO of Improving Schools Consulting Services, an adjunct instructor at Nova Southeastern University and Palm Beach State College, an author, a philanthropist and mentor.

She began her career at the age of five on the island of Jamaica. At that time, her students were her dolls, trees, shrubs and flowers; this childish practice morphed into a lifelong vocation.  Almost four decades later she has been a teacher, school level and district administrator, and college professor in educational settings that serve diverse populations.

As a school level administrator, she was instrumental in turning around a low performing elementary school.  The processes and procedures used in the school transformation are the focus of her book, 7 Insider Secrets: Transform your Low-Performing Elementary School and Score an A in Record Time.  This experience resulted in her getting several recognitions including an article in the Principal Magazine.  She regularly shares her vast experiences with audiences that have included the National Elementary Principals’ Association Conference (Tennessee); the National Career Pathways Network Conference (Texas); the International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (Barcelona, Spain); the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) Conference on Best Practices in Education (Jamaica); Centeres of Excellence/Mutual Building Societies Foundation: School Leadership and Management seminar (Jamaica); and frequently speaking to high school students. She has been a constant mentor to early career and veteran educators. She has been a participant at Harvard Institute for School Leadership and twice at Darden/Curry School Executive Leadership.

Dr. Cover is the founder and current president of the Caribbean Educators’ Association (CAR.E), a (501) (c) 3 organization, that annually awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors of Caribbean descent.  In this role she leads fundraising activities and networks with her community in order to make a difference in the lives of the students and families who benefit from the scholarships.

She has been the recipient of numerous awards: Lifetime Achievement (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity); One of 25 Most Influential and Prominent Black Women in South Florida (Success Magazine); Woman of Excellence (Delta Sigma Theta Sorority); Most Accomplished Leader and Change Maker (ICABA); Blue Dove (Trust Bridge, Hispanic and Black Chambers of Commerce of Palm Beach); Luminary (Consulate of Jamaica, Miami); Phenomenal Woman – (Nova Southeastern University/Celebrating Black History.

By working with children, wherever they are, as well as with the adults who encircle them, Dr. Janice Scott Cover is doing her part to create a more educated community. She truly believes that an “educated population is essential to a nation’s prosperity …” Neil Buchanan 2012. 

Captain Maria Ziadie-Haddad

Maria Ziadie-Haddad is a pioneering airline pilot from Jamaica. She was the first woman commercial pilot hired by Air Jamaica and upon obtaining her qualifications became Air Jamaica's first woman captain.

Maria Theresa Ziadie was born in Jamaica and attended Servite Convent in Brown's Town. From the age of four, she was interested in flight, but after completing her secondary education, Maria pursued a college education in psychology at a Canadian University. Taking a year off, she joined Air Jamaica as a stewardess and while attending an employment seminar on flying decided to change the direction of her career choice. She enrolled in a pilot training course with Wings Jamaica and obtained her private pilot's license in February 1978, after passing the examination of Civil Aviation Authority of London. 

In 1979, after completing her training, Captain Zaidie-Haddad was hired as the first woman commercial pilot of Air Jamaica. Initially, she was hired as a second officer,  co-piloting a Boeing 727 making her one of the first commercial female jet pilots in the Western hemisphere. She was promoted in 1982 as second officer of the Airbus A300 fleet and four years later became the A300 fleet’s first officer.

According to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots, Jamaica was the fourth country in the Western hemisphere and the 13th in the world to hire women as airline pilots.  Captain Zaidie-Hadded was among the crew of Air Jamaica's first all-female flight (on an A320) which took place in December 1997 (JM 039 KIN-FLL). For the A320, this was said to be the second such flight in the world and the first in the Western hemisphere.

When Air Jamaica closed in 2010, Maria began flying for Atlas Air in Purchase, New York and was targeted to begin flying the Boeing 747-8 freighters.  In 2013, Ziadie-Haddad was included on the roster of the FAA Airmen Certification Database, for having met or exceeded the educational and health certification requirements of the United States Federal Aviation Administration.

Captain Zaidie-Haddad was honored as one of the pioneering women of Jamaica in a 2010 ceremony in conjunction with the Organization of American States' Year of Women celebration.

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

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