“For us to inspire change we have to start with ourselves,” said, evangelist and motivational speaker Jenelle Brathwaite-Israel during the National Schools Dietary Services Ltd (NSDSL) of Trinidad and Tobago International Women’s Day luncheon at Kampo Vibes Restaurant, Ramsaran Street, Chaguanas, on March 14.
Recognising the many talents and achievements of women, the NSDSL, in honour of International Women’s Day, held a luncheon to pay tribute to past and present female members of staff who have made significant contributions to the organisation.
“A few decades ago, it would have been inconceivable for a woman to easily climb the corporate and social ladder of any company or organisation through their hard work and diligence. But today as we look around our own company, our own communities, our own society and our own nation we can be proud to know that many glass ceilings have been broken and, some would even dare to say, destroyed,” said NSDSL chairman Andy Ali.
In keeping with the 2014 International Women’s Day theme - “Inspiring Change”, Brathwaite-Israel shared her personal story and what made her become the women that she is today.
Brathwaite-Israel was the feature speaker at the event.
Surviving a ten-year marriage riddled with pain, abuse and humiliation, Brathwaite-Israel revealed that even through that tumultuous period of her life she still had to make decisions. She admitted that some of those decisions were not just life-changing, but also for survival.
She said, “Choices are not the easiest to make and when we think about inspiring change, we are looking at various things but we should also look at the choices that we make.”
She noted that is it natural for some people to allow negativity and doubt to step in, which, in turn, can stop progress and prevent change.
Brathwaite-Israel said, “I have made a few bad choices in my life where I had to face the consequences with making these bad decisions. I looked back and said to myself ‘that was a bad decision, Jenelle’. Can I change the past, no —but I can change my present and look towards my future.”
Brathwaite-Israel has had an extensive career in radio and television broadcasting, both locally and internationally.
She started her career with the birth of 96.1 fm and has worked with major networks such as 105.1fm, 97.1fm, i95.5fm and the Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG). She has hosted events and concerts throughout the Caribbean - and has introduced many artistes such as Alicia Keys, CC Winans, Fred Hammond, Machel Montano and Soul Train Award winner Bunji Garlin.
Since launching her autobiography, titled “Broken, Battered and Restored” in 2007, Brathwaite-Israel and her husband, Keith Israel, have focused their attention on empowering and providing encouragement for women and children when they were scared and confusion existed.
Brathwaite-Israel is also an ordained pastor and, together with her husband they have produced several radio and television programmes designed to produce social awareness, community development and family building.
She noted that most people at some point in their lives may ask themselves any one of these questions:
How can I change my environment?
How can I change my marriage?
How can I change my present relationship?
How can I change things on the job?
“You can do that by first dealing with yourself. You can’t change anybody until you start looking hard in the mirror and begin with you,” she said.
Members of NSDSL handed out tokens of appreciation to several members of staff, including the past chairman, Ingrid Herrera.