Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Patsy Lee, Hermine Metcalfe - Alpha Women of Excellence

Patsy Yee Lee and Hermine Lee Hing Metcalfe are the 2014 Alpha Academy Alumnae Women of Excellence.  They will be honoured at a Banquet next Friday 30 May at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. They have lived the Alpha Academy motto- 'Ad Verum et Bonum' - 'To The Good and True'.
Congratulations my inspiring friends!

True blue girl - Patricia Lee

Published: Monday | May 19, 2014 | Flair Magazine – The Gleaner
Patricia Lee
Patricia Lee
 Cathy Risden, Lifestyle Intern
Patricia Marlene Lee is a true blue Alpha girl. She attended Alpha Infant and Junior School before Alpha Academy and Alpha Commercial College. The co-founder of the Florida Chapter of Alpha Alumnae Association, on May 30, she will be awarded for her years of service as a recipient of the association's 2014 Woman of Excellence award.
An astute businesswoman, after making her mark in the banking industry in the 1980s, Lee migrated to Florida with her family where she now pursues another passion and runs a very successful horticulture business, growing and distributing foliage and plants throughout the United States, Canada and the Caribbean since 1987.
Lee is always eager to help others, getting involved in her church and community services, including feeding the homeless in the vicinity of her business operation in Florida. She has never forgotten the land of her birth, doing all she can to assist her alma mater, basic schools, HIV health centres and other charitable projects in Jamaica, all through the alumni chapter in Florida.
Lee told Flair that to get an award for something that she loves and enjoys doing is a very humbling experience, and she is who she is today because Alpha transformed her life. She told Flair the school was her refuge when her parents were having financial constraints and hardships. She revealed that even the wife of the school's caretaker stepped in to help, making her uniform at no cost. She even got her textbooks for free.
Alpha has taught her that there is hope in the midst of adversity, and for that she is really blessed. "I do as much as I can because I want to see Alpha at the top and for that 'mi buss mi shut' to get the job done."
But despite her situation back then, she treasures the fond memories of the time spent with her girlfriends and the little pranks they played. Today, her best and closest friends are from Alpha. Lee vividly remembers learning about Jesus Christ, through which her hope and faith was born. She received so much love and compassion from teachers and auxiliary staff, and the most important life lessons - compassion and self-worth. "I am my brother's keeper," she said humbly, adding "I was taught to give."
Home Sweet Home
While she has lived abroad for many decades, she is constantly thinking of her homeland and coming back home. "I would really love to come back to Jamaica to live; it's my home, and there are some lovely people and places. But for many of us Jamaicans living abroad, our only deterrent is crime and violence." Nonetheless, being in Florida has opened many doors and paved the way for her to be able to contribute on a larger scale.
But she believes in our future and notes that our children should be the priority of every individual, organisations and government." Let us look after our children first, they are our prime investment and our future. When we are long gone, don't you want them to share a better world? Why not take care of our children as well as others?"

Woman of Excellence Award: Hermine Metcalfe

Published: Monday | May 19, 2014 | Flair Magazine – The Gleaner
Hermine Metcalfe
Hermine Metcalfe
Krysta Anderson, Lifestyle Reporter
The alma mater of Convent of Mercy Academy (Alpha) celebrates more than a century of dedicated service to Jamaica, making this year's annual Alpha Academy Alumnae Association Woman of Excellence Award even more exceptional.
This year, the Flair features the two 2014 Woman of Excellence Award recipients, Hermine Metcalfe, and Patricia Lee.
Metcalfe is being honoured by her alma mater for her outstanding contribution to the pharmaceutical industry.
Prior to pursuing pharmaceutical studies, Metcalfe weighed her options between medicine, nursing, medical technology and computer programming. At one time, she even considered joining the Sisters of Mercy.
She took a walk down memory lane with Flair: "I joined with religious affiliated groups like Sodality and McCauley Circle. I also joined the Glee Club, I was vice-captain of my house and deputy head girl. I was a quiet, well-behaved student and did not get into trouble with staff or students. I made and developed some good and lasting friendships as well."
It got even better at university, which was where she gained a world of experience. "University overseas was a good experience. I went on a government scholarship to Brighton Polytechnic, in Sussex, England. I got very good grades in spite of my involvement in the Sussex African Students' Association. This was during the apartheid era, and the group was very militant. I was the publicity secretary. However, I did not allow this to interfere with my studies. It took planning."
Metcalfe learnt from an early age how to deal with challenges, so when she encountered the obstacles within various areas of the pharmaceutical industry, she tackled them head-on. "For example, while we are aware of the need for strong regulations to curb illegal importation of medication, systems need to be improved and implemented by Government to facilitate smoother and more efficient processes for acquisition of critical and emergency items to save lives. I recall that during the last polio epidemic in Jamaica, I procured a ventilator machine for use at the Mona Rehabilitation Centre. However, through lack of experience and in the rush, I omitted certain processes, and the equipment was delayed for a few days at the airport."
unscrupulous persons
She said, too, that there are unscrupulous persons who have attempted to obtain drugs illegally using forged prescriptions. "Pharmacists have to be particularly vigilant so as not to fill these." There has also been the challenge of illegible handwriting of some doctors, which causes delays for patients as time has to be spent in trying to locate the doctor. She notes that the stakeholders are currently in diaglogue to remedy the latter.
When she found out she was awarded the Alpha Academy Women of Excellence award, she was, to say the least, elated. "I was surprised, delighted and felt humbled at the same time. I had never at any time thought that what I was doing was anything other than what I ought to be doing. The award means a lot to me. To be honoured for doing what I consider my duty is a great privilege and I am truly grateful for the guidance I had from parents and teachers," she told Flair.
In her journey to success, she shows sincere appreciation to her parents, who instilled the importance of expressing gratitude, good manners, honesty, integrity, caring for others and humility. There were also the priests and nuns with whom she interacted and who influenced her positively, namely Sister Mary Bernadette, who inspired her to broaden her horizon and achieve her maximum potential.
motivating family
Behind her excellent pharmaceutical career, too, is an encouraging and motivating family. Balancing work with family life, she declared, takes planning and at times certain leisure activities have to be sacrificed. But she told Flair she has managed, through the grace of God and the support and understanding of her husband and children.
And through it all she is always trying to give back by volunteering and learning new skills which can be passed on to others, "I was recently certified in HIV counseling and testing." She is also learning to effectively use social media, with plans to enrol in a course in website design in the near future.
The nature of her job requires a lot of travelling and it is during these times that she gets to relax. Her sweet escapes from the demands of her job are travelling with her family, going to the cinema, watching horse racing and getting in some quality time with her husband outside of Kingston.
She ensures she wakes up early each morning to engage in quiet meditation to relax and prepare her for the busy day ahead.
But despite all the demands and challenges of her profession it's one that she finds very fulfilling and would encourage others to enter. "Apart from academic qualifications, a pharmacist must have good people skills and lots of patience. One should want to be a pharmacist must be prepared to dedicate much time to learn. You have to take the time to understand what the profession entails in order to decide which area may prove to be more satisfying. To remain proficient requires lifelong learning as the profession is continually advancing with new discoveries and therapies, but being a pharmacist is a very satisfying and rewarding profession."

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