Posted in Jamaica, Social Agenda, JAMAICA, Youth, Communities

Bring back the Social Agenda

Sunday, January 28, 2018

OPEN LETTER TO PRIME MINISTER, HON ANDREW HOLNESS

Dear Prime Minister

I would like to offer you a few suggestions as you contemplate a Cabinet reshuffle. No need to emphasize the crisis we currently face as it is there for all of us to see, hear and feel.

In the mid 90s, a programme called the Social Agenda was developed and was never implemented. The programme at the time had two basic goals

  1. To reduce poverty
  2. To empower two main groups; Youth at Risk; Communities

This was initially created as a public education programme; and I think, your team should consider reframing this programme to stem the issues we are facing.

The objectives are clear:

  • to communicate Government’s determination to address the social problems of the nation
  • to educate members of the public of the various services available for support for persons considered to be a part of the poverty group
  • to educate the public on practical approaches to promoting health, community development, a wholesome environment and the development of the nation’s children
  • to provide progress reports on the implementation of the programme to show trends, growth and the areas that may need to be readdressed

I would therefore like you to consider a Ministry of Education, Youth and Social Development to incorporate the Social Development Commission (SDC) and the National Youth Service (NYS) as the main agencies. Why Education? Because they can continue to focus on the formal process of which Compulsory Education MUST be considered. If we can create a five-year plan with a determined focus on this, we can achieve social growth that will ease the ills we currently face.

There are key roles for Government and Private Sector to offer employment to the skilled set from these groups with an attendant compulsory employment programme.

Based on what is needed, I believe Floyd Green from your team fits in this role to lead the change we need. I crave your indulgence Mr Prime Minister. I am also available to clarify or answer any questions you may have.

Concerned Jamaican

Carole Beckford.

 

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Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Management, Media, Sport, Track and Field

Star athletes and Social Media

Saturday, January 27 – Elite and star-athletes have way more opportunities in 2018 and beyond; but they also have way more responsibilities. In every corner of the globe there is an athlete that is or on their way to “stardom”.

The star effect has number of situations to consider

  • Performance on the field/court/ring should always be on top
  • Performance off the field/in the boardroom/bank should also always be on top
  • Performance on social media platforms better be on top

The salary disparity continues; and while some sporting bodies have made an effort to level the playing field there is still a wide gap. The sport that still attract the top salaries are football (soccer), basketball, golf, tennis and the NFL. Formula One, Boxing and track and field have quality representation over quantity.

Forbes in mid year, 2017, released the top paid athletes https://nypost.com/2017/06/07/the-top-25-highest-paid-athletes-in-the-world-for-2017-are/ – occupying the top five spots were soccer, basketball and golf.

The top ten however identifies the variety in endorsements which ranges from 3m – 58 million dollars; salaries ran from 6m to 58 million dollars. Tennis (Roger Federer has prize money); he won 6m for the period under review and topped the endorsement with 58 million.

The top ten athletes also dominate social media with Cristiano Ronaldo sharing with 188 million between Twitter and Instagram. While we are on the matter of social media, this is an important method of communicating today and what is posted can be considered news, views and for the sponsor partners, endorsements.

That brings me to the point the appropriateness of the use of social media which the stars can be judged harshly for sharing a view on anything from their latest shoes, shirt to politics. More and more social media is the place where it all happens. This means though that the philosophy, brand and values, beliefs of the super star must come through.

We have seen recently where a male tennis player in the Australian Open was offensive with him having to delete tweets. One headline read – Tennys Sandgren defends tweets again at Australian Open; while this happened Tennys Sandgren deletes tweets after denying far-right sympathies at Australian Open https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/jan/22/tennys-sandgren-alt-right-australian-open-twitter

Here are some tips that could be useful

  • Establish a presence on social media
  • Be professional
  • Develop a daily/weekly routine
  • You may even consider scheduling posts (Have a team to manage as your audience grows)
  • The ball is always in your court
  • Always maintain your brand philosophy
  • Keep your posts short and simple
  • Use what is called rich media (videos, audio, pictures and related links)
  • Develop a bank of stories
  • Never feel entitled

The demand for content has grown. Social media can play a massive role. Use it to help your brand.

#StayInTheGame

Sports Marketing

Posted in Leadership, Management

The Office Party

Lots of folks look forward to this time of year when they get to ‘let their hair down’ at the office party. It seems though in the age of misconduct, lots of folks are also stopping to take the time to reconsider how and what to do at the office party.

Let me declare early, a party is just a place to have a good time. Once I go, I intend to have a good time; which means – very little food (I never go anywhere hungry); drinks, chatter and dancing. That is what a party is supposed to be. So, for example, after my office party this year, I had to ice my knee regularly for two days after. I am ready for the next one.

That said, I thought I would share some tips that I have found useful over the years:

  • Wear what you feel comfortable in

o   If there is a dress theme, participate, it helps to put you in the mood

  • Go with enough time to meet and greet your colleagues
  • Take pictures with the team

o   Sidebar – take them before you get all sweaty from dancing

  • Don’t overeat, people do take notice
  • Don’t overdrink, people will notice too

Now here’s the part when it gets really interesting:

  • Dancing

o   Enjoy the music

o   Dance and have fun

o   Take a water/drink break ever so often

o   Shake a leg with your boss; shake a leg with your team that reports to you

Note: I am among the first set of dancers once the music is great (live or recorded)

If your office allows you to take your spouse, there is no rule which says you can’t dance with a team member; however, be modest. If you go the party alone, ENJOY. Dancing is an expressive way of thinking, so in dancing and expressing, make sure you are ok to look the person in the eye the next day at work. In other words, do not over express. Too many stories of why have come out of these situations.

Enjoy yourself at the office party, but try not to do anything you’ll regret.

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Sport Academy – is really a concept, not a physical space

November 26 – Sport Academies have become popular globally. Since the 1970s, some societies deemed it important to balance the lives of youngsters who were choosing sport as a career. Since then, some of those have morphed into what we call High Performance Centers.

We can define a sport academy as a talent development program designed to create the best athletes in any sport; using specific techniques and a system to create excellence. The academy concept has the capacity to zone in on preparation, execution and after care.

Here is an example of why an Academy worked back in the 1970s. The Americans thought the team’s performance at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games was below par and Dr Carl Blyth and Dr Frederick Muller of the University of North Carolina in a report established a link that showed that preparation was lacking. The need for a sport institute (Academy) was revealed.

Since then the Academy concept has gone through several revisions. The Global Sports Academy, based in Alberta, Canada, has as its 2nd approach – we develop physical, mental and social growth. What I also realized, they “move students out of their comfort zone and into their learning and panic zones” – in other words, they prepare athletes to compete.

The High Performance Center today, does that and more. But what has also happened, is the HPC has developed into a concept which focuses on excellence, in some cases, specialization and the mental and social. What has changed though is the developing nations, largely with great talent, have been beaten in intense competitions and there was need for teams/athletes to learn how to finish. The Academy in its concept helps athletes develop the ‘competitive edge’.

The Academy concept caught on in the Caribbean region in the late 90s. The formation and standardized operations of track and field clubs based in the region; the HPC for cricket and academic institutions with curricula focused on preparation – became a thing.

We have seen the results of home trained athletes across the sporting disciplines and the medal table at the Olympic Games for the Caribbean shows the kind of growth which has taken place.

Fast forward to 2017, with developing economies unable to find budgets to fund programs of national priority; it has created the call for sporting federations to be more creative and the role of technical experts now got a chance to show their worth.

The experiment with cricket worked and to its credit did include some of the current members of the Test team. The center, based in Barbados (at the time) was officially opened in 2010 and was a partnership with the University of the West Indies. The center targeted players between the ages of 19 to 27. The first group of players were Shamarh Brooks, Jason Holder, Shane Dowrich (Barbados), Kyle Corbin, Kevin McClean (Combined Campuses & Colleges), Brandon Bess, Ravindra Chandrika, Veerasammy Permaul (Guyana), Nkrumah Bonner, Andre Creary (Jamaica), Kieran Powell, Devon Thomas (Leeward Islands), Shannon Gabriel (Trinidad and Tobago) Keron Cottoy, Delorn Johnson (Windward Islands).

The HPC in its original form has been discontinued. Since then, the franchise system has been developed. New systems have been in place and the results/records have a lot to tell the discerning public.

After four years of the Professional Cricket League (PCL) system with 10 rounds of 4-day cricket; two zones of 50-overs cricket with ten played within 30 days and a 6-weeks’ T20, regional cricketers have more than a fair chance to excel. What exists now in each region is a list of professional and coaching staff with upgraded skills sets (in two years, there has been two Level 3 coaches courses). The A Team has assembled for tours in and out of the region and the player pathway seems clearer. Selection remains subjective to the biased onlooker, but there are merits to the system, now in place.

I wanted to make the point though, HPCs in 2017 are but a concept, one which is determined by its focus on excellence, specialization and results; one supported by its participants committed to doing the tasks and programs required to compete. That I think, can be done in a physical space, but with things the way they are, can be done from anywhere, once the mindset of those involved are all on the same page.

High Performance

The ideal Caribbean would want a physical space; but with limitations, we must consider the options. Also it is an opportunity for teams and clubs within the region, while adopting in principle, the HPC plan, upgrade its facilities while finding ways and means to attract more participants to its programs.

I would want to suggest that in five years if the plans are adopted to fit each program in each territory, with decent facilities and more technically prepared officials; the HPC model would continue to create cricketers that can adapt to global demands; while importantly, earn enough to take care of their families.

Sporting federations today facilitate growth in key areas for its athletes by ensuring its stakeholders are given the chance to be up skilled to meet the dynamic global demands. They do this by creating an environment where this is possible. The HPC forms just one part of the ever changing cricket culture and market.

The challenge is therefore for the regional bodies to make this change and in their daily operations, surround themselves with the HPC focus and mentality. Cricket will win!

#StayInTheGame

Posted in Athletes, Caribbean, Coaching, Football, Jamaica, Leadership, Management, Sport

Football in Jamaica – the preferred pathway

November 12 – Even before the 2017 version of the Manning, DaCosta, Ben Francis, Walker and Flow Super Cup competitions end, I would like to make some suggestions to the folks who manage football in Jamaica. This includes all the organizations with Prep, Primary, High, Club and Elite football under its purview.

The traditional competitions all together have brought us to the ultimate in 1998, when Jamaica participated in the World Cup of Football. That is what all countries dream of.

What has happened since? And what will happen now? I have suggested over and over that Jamaica needs the football program. It is the sport that will bring the best opportunity for investment and the sport that is likely to attract the greatest level of support in sponsorship, if shown to be well-organized and bearing fruit.

What does this mean?

  1. Prepare a plan that speaks to the pathway to achieve the ultimate (another appearance in World Cup)
  2. Invest in the technical development of all those involved – coaches, officials, strength and conditioning experts, academicians, analysts, other support teams
  3. Improve the facilities – for competition, for training and preparation
  4. ISSA and the JFF must sit together and figure out how the schools’ program feed into the professional/elite program, and what if any adjustments are required     Team-Building       This system then has to match what our competitors are doing globally in this particular age group. We will match the outputs to see what adjustment may be necessary to ensure that the Under 17, Under 23 and Senior levels of football are on par. In the meantime, the academic development  of the athletes must also be comparable. ISSA as a governing body for school sports require a research unit to assemble this information and put a strategic plan to share with its stakeholders for 1. Buy-in 2. Delivery and ultimately for results. Development takes time and we have to be prepared to do the work.

For Jamaica to get back to the World Cup, the timeframe for this cycle, 2017 – 2022, must be in planning stage now and I would hope that this planning in happening behind the scenes. Remember now, sport is judged (ultimately) by Olympic medals, appearances in World Cup/Championship and athletes being able to the among those with the biggest pay checks and endorsement packages.

Is our system ready to absorb this? If so, it is time. So whether the remedy is to reorganize school football, club football and senior program, then now is as good a time. We can acknowledge our traditions by maintaining names of competitions etc, but we must embrace a new way of thinking and approach the sport as a business to meet the goal as required.

The 17-year old in Germany, England, Australia and Brazil is on a path to World Cup…are our players at the same age at the same point? We can no longer depend on talent, as we have seen where that has placed us. We need strategy at all levels to compete.

You may refer to this column I wrote July this year, http://web.jamaica-gleaner.com/article/sports/20170724/carole-beckford-jamaica-and-football-leadership

Or you can go back to October 2012 http://carolebeckford.blogspot.com/2012/10/jamaica-needs-football-programme.html

#GetinTheGame

 

 

 

Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Jamaica, Leadership, Sport

Sport in Jamaica deserves better…

Sunday, November 5 – Next year, Jamaica’s name would have been in world sporting news consistently for 70 years. Since the 1948 Summer Olympic Games the country’s athletes have maintained steady and improved global ranking in several disciplines and at times even beating the world. The athletes and administrators deserve all the praise.

The country’s brand positioning has been significantly enhanced by the global appeal of its athletes and as we close in on 2017, there is so much more to look forward to.

Jamaica boasts a solid high school sport program. The governing body for school sport, Inter Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA) has managed over several sporting disciplines out of which a significant portion of the country’s stars used as a platform to grow. Over the years, institutions, clubs and other privately run teams have managed to heighten the county’s solid achievements by forming and maintaining programs for the post-high-school era enabling the athletes not to be over dependent on international preparation. That continues.

What has not happened as consistently is the role of the policy leaders in their ability to facilitate the continued development, by putting in policies to encourage steady/continued growth in the sport sector. The institutions still struggle to find solid footing in creating a more sustainable path towards wealth creation, better facilities, a wider range of service providers which will ultimately earn the island more medals at the global level.

The suggestion that the island is poor is an excuse in my opinion. So much research has been done to show the benefits of sport and how it can change a country’s economic activities if organized, managed and facilitated in a way to bring great return on investment.

This process must look at a path which looks at the link along the lines of education, training, development, research, marketing and how those key areas can earn the most bucks; while doing that should address social inclusion for balance.

Sport in Jamaica deserves better. Better is available. Again, it is time the folks who know better can make that change.

Posted in Leadership

Internships – My View

An internship is job training for a career – by choice or by requirement. The two major reasons for an internship, as I know it, are:

·         Job training

·         Fulfilling an academic mandate

An internship can help a student to figure out if they are or will be interested in a particular career and may eventually determine if the organization they got placed in, is somewhere they want to work in after graduation.

Internships have evolved and some organizations have collaborated with Corporate entities as part of

·         Corporate Social Responsibility

·         Community Development

·         Recruitment

Internship

Over the years, students have benefitted as more and more, there is a paid internship. History has shown that an internship is an exchange of services and the academic institution is obligated to offer the student the stipend package to afford the students the opportunity. This stipend ranges from costs to cover transportation, meals and “pocket” money. More recently, some companies have offered minimum pay to the student. That said the arrangement should include some level of payment.

The internship programme, an international practice, varies based on the region, but the common thing is, the intention is to offer students an opportunity to get a taste of the work world.

As an undergraduate and graduate student I was involved in a number of internships for three credits at a time. This was in the 1995 – 1998 period. The first one was for my broadcasting studies. I got no pay, none. It was at CBS Radio 88 in New York City. I had to be at work before 5am as I was placed on that shift with the well-sought after Ed Ingles. I woke up at 3:30 for 15 weeks, one day a week and I got an A for the course. I graduated. For the same BSc I did another at Consumers Union in Yonkers and I got paid US$12 an hour. It was also a three-credit course. I also got an A. For the MSc I opted to work in the HR Unit on campus and I got US$8 per hour. I did get another A.

All three experiences were great. One was to connect to the industry…and by the way, I got Knicks, Giants and Rangers tickets for free. The 2nd and 3rd were more fulfilling as I got paid, but I was just as committed to all three.

Educational institutions in designing courses of study must decide how they want to integrate students into the work world in a changing economic environment. Internships therefore have to be a lien item on both sets of institutions.

 

The integrity of the internship programmes is to be judged on a few things

·         Relevance to the course/s of study

·         Value added for the student

·         Impact of the organization of the potential workforce

·         How does the country benefit from the exchange between private/public sector and academic development

It is also important to note the differences between an internship, apprenticeship, practical study and vocational study. All have benefits to both students and institutions. The programmes should have an evaluation component which looks at the benefits and downfall to ensure, going forward; there is an adjustment which is market-ready and impacting for all.

 Internship 2