Two decades contributing to any career is never a small feat, some may even say it becomes routine and uninteresting. But, for Jacqueline Clarke, executive administrative assistant at Sandals Negril, her 25 years with Sandals have been the ideal blend of personal and professional growth, constant changes, and making some amazing memories.
Clarke is seen as the consummate professional and also an overarching mother figure to almost everyone she interacts with. This image has blossomed and becomes more and more a part of her from the moment she joined the company as a personnel secretary in 1997 at Poinciana Beach Resort by Sandals (later known as Beaches Sandy Bay). With her admirable work ethic and the cross-training opportunities afforded to her, she was quickly promoted to administrative assistant to the general manager (GM) at the same resort.
“I remember going to have breakfast one morning and my GM at the time stated outright that I should use whatever opportunity I had to familiarize myself with the things I didn’t know as yet and that was it, my first nudge into the new role,” Clarke shared.
Affectionately called Miss J by her colleagues and even those she reports to, it does not take much to see the love and respect that the team at Sandals Negril has for Clarke. Many share that her poise, supportive streak even while keeping them in check and her strong belief in following the rules have molded them into strong leaders in their respective departments. “My team members always come to me for advice. They are comfortable sharing some of their deepest concerns with me and they look to me for solid, motherly guidance,” she shared.
As she grew with the Sandals brand, Clarke shared that her love for the industry grew just the same. “I really love my job, not only do I handle guest concerns and support key resort executives, but I’m also responsible for particular team member matters and it is always a pleasure ensuring that both requests or concerns are handled with care.”
Aside from the wealth of knowledge she has garnered in the administrative field over the years, Clarke shared that the Sandals brand has taught her the valuable lesson of embracing change. Noting that having spent quite some time with the company, she has witnessed many changes including leadership, expansions and even the company’s mission and purpose. With these changes she in return has learned to adapt.
Recently receiving a long service award from her Sandals Negril team, an ecstatic Clarke noted that she was grateful to be acknowledged for her hard work and diligence. She added that one of the many beauties about working with her Negril team is their support and cohesiveness, which makes any challenging work days, more than manageable.
“Having always supported others throughout my tenure, my team has also been a tower of strength for me in life-changing circumstances over the years, with the most recent being the loss of my dear mother in February of this year. As always the team rallied around me during my time of grief and they all comforted me in their own special ways,” she shared
When it comes to life away from work, Clarke noted she has been able to find the balance or what she has coined as the “sweet spot” between her job and family life. A lover of different cuisines, which has been greatly impacted by her working experience at Sandals Resorts, Clarke spends most of her time at home with her family cooking recipes from around the world, with one of her favourites being a well-done pot roast chicken. Following each culinary preparation, you can rest assured that a few team members will be getting samples of her delicious meals in carefully packaged containers as Clarke is also known to happily share with almost everyone at work.
“I’m both a breakfast and a dinner person and I enjoy trying new meals with my family. Good food is an experience that should be savoured and as I have learned here on resort, nothing shows appreciation more than a meal that is prepared and shared with love and care,” Clarke added.
As she proudly celebrates her silver anniversary with Sandals, Clarke uses the opportunity to always encourage those who are young in the business to remain open to learning and being agents of growth and forward planning. She adds that “time passes quickly, but there is an indescribable joy when people look back and see how much they have transformed and the life they have created for themselves with opportunities they were brave enough to seize. But for now, I still look forward to many more enjoyable years to come.”