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Minding Their Own Business

Five Female Leaders from Trinidad and Tobago

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Joanne Kilgour Dowdy

Minding Their Own Business: Five Female Leaders from Trinidad and Tobago is a narrative project that illuminates the historical legacy of entrepreneurship, self-employment, and collective economics within the African diaspora, particularly in the lives of five women leaders of African descent from Trinidad and Tobago, in the Caribbean. By using the financial literacy lens as an analytical tool to interpret these biographies, this book documents the journeys of these independent business women, uncovers the literacy skills they employed, and describes the networking skills that they relied upon personally and professionally. The qualitative data collection methods utilized in this project help to identify lessons that will inform professionals, educators, and business and lay persons about the innovative ways in which teaching and learning take place outside of “formal” business schooling. Information gleaned from this study also serves to broaden traditional understandings of entrepreneurship and economic strategies inherited from majority African descended communities. Additionally, this book illuminates the creative and intellectual modes of learning within the Afrocentric communities that foster successful business practices. Finally, these five successful women pass on to interested learners their methods of modeling, encouraging, and celebrating the means by which independent business people make a positive impact on society.
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Chapter 3: Gee and Her Floral Arranging Life

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Chapter 3

 

Gee and Her Floral Arranging Life

Over fifty years ago, Gee moved to Jamaica with her husband and two children. He was on assignment from Trinidad, as a manager of the national airline’s office. The first of eight children, and an active member in keeping her family together in spite of the fact that her siblings lived in different countries, Gee found it difficult to leave her home island. However, the thrill of being at the side of her spouse as he created a legacy in the airline industry helped her to overcome her reluctance to uproot her children and raise them in what at the time was considered “foreign territory.” Being a people person, Gee made friends in those first years who have lasted the entire time that she has lived in Jamaica. She is now eighty-nine years old, and keeps up with buddies who are in their seventies and eighties, as part of a flower club, church groups, and neighborhood coteries that still remember “the good old days.”

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