Leadership has always been a strength for St. George’s University graduate Afia Joseph, from her time as a Grenada Junior Achiever to her current role—chief executive officer of the Grenada Marketing & National Importing Board (MNIB).
As the organization’s first-ever woman CEO, Ms. Joseph, BSc ’08, MBA ’14, heads up the leading purchaser, retailer, and exporter of traditional and local agro-products on the island. She is responsible for the marketing and national export of agricultural produce, and management of the importation and supply of specified commodities to Grenada. She also plays a supporting role in the development and expansion of the country’s agricultural sector.
Nine months into her new role, Ms. Joseph opens up about what she hopes to accomplish at MNIB, the characteristics of a good leader, and offers advice to those seeking higher education.
St. George’s University: How does it feel to be the MNIB’s first-ever female CEO?
Afia Joseph: I feel very privileged to secure this role yet humbled by this responsibility. With great power comes great responsibility. I hope that my appointment sends a signal to the youth in Grenada to get involved in the development of our country. My appointment also confirms to women that there is a clear path to their goals once there is determination and commitment.
SGU: What excites you most about your new job?
AJ: My role has the ability to influence change and improve the agriculture sector. My aim is to facilitate further development of the agro-processing industry in Grenada and play a key role in the expansion of national exports, which will benefit many Grenadians.
SGU: What makes you a good leader?
AJ: My capacity to manage challenging and otherwise difficult environments with a sense of calm resolve while producing results. Also, critical for leadership is the ability to manage ego, maintain humility, see the value in others, and understand that in order to lead others one must first learn to lead oneself.
SGU: How well do you feel that SGU prepared you for the next step in your journey?
AJ: I felt thoroughly prepared by SGU to enter the workforce—equipped with the soft skills, confidence, tenacity, and emotional intelligence necessary to succeed. The business management program promoted success through teamwork, which is critical to becoming a leader worth following.
Overall, my experience at SGU has had a profoundly positive impact on my career development. Along with the experience attained, both my Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts in accounting have positioned me for many opportunities and will continue to do so. The principles and knowledge I acquired have supported all my leadership roles and allowed me to excel.
SGU: Was a career in business something you always wanted to pursue?
AJ: Fortunately, I did not choose my field; my field chose me. I was nurtured and nudged into the direction where I can truly give of myself by making a meaningful contribution to the world through my work.
SGU: What advice would you give someone on a similar journey?
AJ: For anyone contemplating whether it is the right time to pursue higher education, I would say that it’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared. It is with this in mind that I continue to grow and learn while expecting greater things for myself and others.
– Ray-Donna Peters