Women, Teach People How You want to be Treated: Leesa Kow

Leesa Kow
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Emphasizing the importance of providing women with opportunities to demonstrate their professional abilities and ensuring their representation in decision-making processes, Leesa Kow, Chairperson of the Caribbean Association of Banks and Managing Director at JN Bank, advocates for women to assertively communicate their worth and demand inclusion.

Kow, among six panelists at the fifth annual Jamaica Institute of Financial Services (JIFS) Women in Finance Breakfast Forum, held in collaboration with the Jamaica Bankers Association, spoke on the theme ‘Inspiring Inclusion: Create Equitable Work Environments’ at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in St Andrew on February 29.

Acknowledging the imperfect nature of the world, Kow stressed the importance of navigating uncomfortable situations by effectively communicating and establishing boundaries. “Preparing oneself for inclusion at the table involves not only advocating for oneself but also educating others on how to treat you,” she remarked.

She encouraged her fellow female panelists and women in the audience to proactively define their expectations and standards, urging them to “teach people how you want to be treated.”

“I believe that as we strive for equality and inclusion, we must resist the temptation to adopt extreme positions. It’s crucial to approach each situation with discernment and consider the nuances involved,” remarked Kow, who was once among the few female executives at The Jamaica National Group.

She stressed the importance of women understanding their identity and not allowing negative circumstances to define them. “Maintaining integrity and presenting our best selves in every situation is key,” she emphasized. Kow acknowledged that while it’s acceptable to assist colleagues, women should assert themselves if they feel unfairly pigeonholed into certain roles.

Asserting the significance of relationships in both personal and professional spheres, Kow highlighted the need for intentional and value-driven interactions. “Regardless of gender, we are all human beings, and cultivating meaningful relationships requires effort and mindfulness,” she noted.

Kow advised women to invest time in understanding their coworkers, customers, leaders, stakeholders, and regulators, emphasizing that building strong relationships is essential for success in the workplace.

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