Today is recognized as International Women’s Day around the world and there’s a renewed call to so celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.
At Embrace Dominica, we decided to feature a few local women of note. However, instead of the usual suspects such as Ophelia, Dame Eugenia Charles, Dr. Carissa Etienne and other women of that ilk, we will feature a group of younger women in non-traditional fields of work or male-dominated industries.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. So if you know someone who qualifies for this grouping, please send us an email or leave a comment below!
UPDATE: I have received new submissions and added them here. Many thanks to Kerdisha, Taisha, Rianna, Delroy and Terri-Anne!
Niquelle LaTouche is a British-born and Dominican-raised artist who has been performing on stages across the UK and internationally. She has danced and worked in: South Africa, Dominica, France, Portugal, Belgium, Germany, Scotland, Reading, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol… to name a few.
As well as performing, Niquelle also works commercially and choreographs for companies/artists as well as running her multidisciplinary company Niquelle LaTouche Arts which is invested in speaking from a place of authenticity through the arts and encourages creative collaborations in hopes to bring people together.
Chanté Joseph is a third-year student at the University of Bristol studying Social Policy with Quantitative Research Methods. Most recently she was named one of the top 10 black students in the UK, one of Bristol’s 24 most influential people under 24 and the 11th most influential female student in the UK. At her university she is the Chair of Bristol Labour students, the Black and Minority Ethnic Students officer and runs a black students media hub called Bristol is the New Black that seeks to give black students the space and skills to tell their own stories. In addition to this she is the editor and curator of Bristol’s first ever BME Powerlist. She also writes for Gal-dem, Crack Magazine and other publications, is regularly interviewed on BBC Radio and BBC News about her work and activism and spent her summer break interning for Google.
Tsehai Grell graduated from Morgan State University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with highest honors. She obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in Biochemistry in 2018 from the Department of Chemistry at Massachusetts Institute Technology (MIT). In addition to performing research, Tsehai is an active member of the MIT community and has served in leadership positions in a number of student organizations, including the Black Graduate Student Associations and Academy for Courageous Minorities in Engineering. Tsehai has also served as a guest lecturer for high school students during the Koch Summer Science program and as a mentor to undergraduate students as a Program Assistant in the MIT Summer Research Program. Uniting the themes of diversity and mentorship, Tsehai volunteers with a non-profit organization, i-Trek, to provide non-traditional research experiences to underserved and underrepresented populations.
Leandra Lander is the head of the Geography Department at Convent High School by day, and an Arts and Cultural ambassador by night and day! It is genuinely difficult to keep up with her activities, but I’ll try… Leandra is a successful pageant title holder in the Miss Dominica Pageant, Miss Jaycees, Miss Carival, Miss Caribbean Culture pageants in the year 2007; she is director and composer for cultural group Vwa Dou; Leandra leads the Convent High School Speech Chorale, Choir and Sign Language Club and has co-written and directed productions done by these groups; she is one of the longest serving members of the Sixth Form Sisserou Singers and has held various leadership positions within the organization. In her spare time, Leandra takes on Masters of Ceremony roles at various national events, and most recently, she has began to produce and host a weekly educational radio program called ‘Chalk & Chatter’.
With over 25 years’ experience in the Field of Broadcast media, Ferdina Frampton was able to land a major role at Dominica’s leading telecommunications provider Cable & Wireless (Flow) where she leads the Marketing and Corporate Communications department of the company. As a former reporter at the Chronicle Newspaper, radio announcer and news presenter at the Voice of the Islands radio; senior producer, news reporter and presenter, and announcer at the Dominica Broadcasting Station, it’s safe to say that she is a stalwart of women in Media. A former Miss Dominica 2nd runner-up, Miss Amity & Miss Intelligence, Ferdina went on to create the Miss Pleasantly Plump and Beautiful pageant highlighting fuller figured women. She’s a former coordinator of judges for the Dominica Calypso Associations’ calypso competitions; a job she performed for close to 15 years. She also volunteers in judging pageants across the length and breadth of Dominica including the selection of contestants for the Miss Dominica Pageant. Ferdina has been blessed with a natural innate talent for media and she enjoys using this talent to unearth the inspiring stories of Dominicans through the hosting of the IN the SPOTLIGHT Radio show, a program held every Monday night on WICE Q95FM Radio featuring the achievements of Dominicans at home and abroad and focusing on subjects of important to the Dominican people.
Shamah Lloyd is a native of Castle-Bruce residing in Houston, Texas. She enjoys a career as a Chemist and is also pursuing a degree in Chemical Engineering. As Founder and CEO of Exquisite Bundles (a luxurious human hair extensions company), Shamah facilitates self-love by empowering women to define their own looks. Shamah is also one of the co-founders of the Houston Caribbean Queen (HCQ) Pageant. The program is the first of its kind and provides a network for young women with a shared cultural background.
Juanita Louis migrated to New York after she graduated from high school in Dominica to pursue a college education. Her glowing beauty attracted the eyes of several modeling agencies including one of New York City’s top modeling agencies, Wilhemina. Juanita’s passion for helping others steered her to a degree in medicine, which she achieved with honors! Upon completion of that degree, she refocused her love for fashion and reinvented herself as a model in the fashion industry in New York City! Give Juanita some love on her official Facebook page.
Afia Kufuor hails from Roseau and is a History student at the University of Kent. She is the Head of Online at Canterbury’s Student Radio and has presented both the breakfast and lunchtime shows since joining the station. Afia is a Team Assistant at BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra and the Asian Network and in her spare time she hosts live events and is a DJ. In her gap year, Afia was a news reporter for the UK’s first under 25 youth-led news team, London360. During this time she produced three 30-minute documentaries that broadcast on London Live and the Community Channel on Sky, Virgin and Freeview.
10Kerdisha St. Louis
Kerdisha St. Louis is founder of the KSChronicles, an online Caribbean Magazine highlighting Caribbean people and culture. She is passionate about journalism, media and youth development and has active roles on Dominica’s National Youth Council (Assistant Secretary/Treasurer and Media Team Coordinator), and hosts ‘Youth Camera Action’ on Marpin Channel 5. In 2016, Kerdisha won the National Youth award for Media and more recently, started a new company – KS Consultancy – a Social/Digital Media marketing consultancy company.
Kellyn George is a sickle cell survivor and is the founder of the Sickle Cell Cares Foundation, an organization that raises awareness of Sickle Cell disease in Dominica and supports those who live with the disease. Kellyn is also the proud recipient of the 2015 Queens Young Leaders award and has been selected to attend the One Young World Summit.
Tina Alfred is a steadfast Victim Supporter for sexually abused women and a member of Lifeline Ministries (providing a voice for the unrepresented and victimized in Dominica), the Dominica National Youth Council and the Bureau Of Gender Affairs. In 2016, Tina was the recipient of the Queens Young Leader award and she’s passionate about women rights.
Crystel Hilton is fashion designer from Bioche who specializes in handmade jewelry and accessory designs. Her work has been showcased at various shows, include in Quebec, Canada during Montreal Caribbean Fashion Week. Look out for her work in New York at Le Coiffeur Styles The Runway 2018 in April! Check our her Facebook page and read about her here and here.
Valarie Honoré is a Social Entrepreneur and the founder of I Have a Right Foundation. She has represented Dominica at various prestigious events, such as the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (2016), the One Young World Summit in Columbia (2017) and more recently, at a US Government Alumni Thematic International Exchange Seminar on Emergency Response and Disaster Preparedness. Valarie is also one of 80 Peace Ambassadors from around the world.
Sherma Alfred is a trained Trichologist (a hair and scalp specialist – the only one in the region!) and Cosmetologist, and has run a beauty salon for more than 15 years. Now known as Caribbean Beauty Salon and Clinic, the business offers a full range of services including trichology consultations, hair, makeup, facials and waxing.
Melinda ‘Mel’ Ulysses is a talented singer/songwriter who hails from Stock Farm. A former primary school teacher, Mel is now traveling the world as a performer (with band Island Notes) aboard a cruise ship in the Norwegian fleet. She recently celebrated an astounding achievement – 3 million views on her music video for Touch Me Remix! Say ‘hi’ to Mel via her Facebook page.
Alexandra Dupigny is the first female, Kalinago, LIAT-certified, pilot from Dominica and is now a proud pilot with regional airline, LIAT. After years in the banking industry, she left to follow her childhood dream of becoming a pilot and has never turned back!
Nicole Laville is the current Terminal Manager of ARGOS Dominica Ltd. (local supplier of cement) and co-founder of CORISAV, a full service engineering company here in Dominica. She is also a proud wife, mother and passionate about everything Dominican.
Kimone Joseph is the Officer-in-Charge at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Open Campus Dominica. She is a University of Leeds (UK) graduate and holds a Masters of Arts degree in Communications Studies. Kimone is also a student, and she’s currently a UWI doctoral candidate in the Educational Leadership in Higher Education programme.
20Nikima Royer-Jno Baptiste
Nikima Royer-Jno Baptiste is the first female and Dominican-national to ever be appointed in the role of Chief Executive Officer for DIGICEL’s Dominican operations. Before a career in the Telecommunications industry, she worked in Tourism for over 10 years. Nikima is a passionate leader and proud family-woman.
Rianna Patterson‘s grandfather passed away after battling dementia, and this young lady turned a family tragedy into a positive movement. In 2016, Rianna started the Dominica Dementia Foundation and a year later, had two awards under her belt – the 2017 Esteemed Volunteer Award from Dominica’s National Youth Council and the coveted 2017 Queen’s Young Leader title. In March 2018, as a student at the University of Kent, Rianna graced the TEDx stage and is the youngest Dominican on record to do so!
Do you know any other women who should be added to this list? (Think young in a non-traditional field and male-dominated industries.) If you do, leave a comment below!