Committed to the task: HEART trainee turned senior manager at ICWI
Findlay joined ICWI in 1983 in the company’s finance department as a trainee of the Human Employment and Resource Training Trust National Training Agency.
Over three decades ago, a humble young woman with passion, drive and confidence set out on a journey to discover her career goals. Fast forward 35 years later to where Nichola Findlay has transformed into a woman with purpose and an outstanding career as a Senior Accounting Manager at one of the region’s leading insurance companies, The Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI).
Findlay joined ICWI in 1983 in the company’s finance department as a trainee of the Human Employment and Resource Training Trust National Training Agency, known to most Jamaicans simply as ‘HEART’ - a national programme created in 1982 to develop a highly-skilled, productive and competitive workforce.
The St Elizabeth native believes her humble beginnings shaped her as an individual and prepared her for her professional life as a woman with purpose and passion. “It is what motivated me over the years and helped me to become the person I am today.”
“I came to Kingston right after I left STETHS [St Elizabeth Technical High School] to seek a job because, in those days when you leave school, you go out to find a job. While in Kingston, I started attending HEART classes and I remember that day when two ladies came by and selected three of us to join ICWI as HEART trainees,” she said with eyes glistening.
She is grateful to those individuals who helped in steering her in the right direction professionally. “I have learned from so many individuals who guided me over the years from when I started as a payables clerk in the finance department,” she shared.
Starting in any company at the entry-level, she admits, is typically daunting for most persons as it is easy to feel like a gofer and unimportant. However, with the right attitude and determination, growth is inevitable. In fact, it was only a couple of years into her budding career that Findlay decided to attain additional accreditation and training that she began to move up the finance ladder and was soon awarded the post of accounting operations manager.
“When you gain knowledge, no one can take it away from you. In my 35 years, I have never ceased to learn, and I try my best to encourage my staff every day,” says the mother of one.
Senior Accounting Manager at ICWI, Nichola Findlay shares lens time with the company’s Founder and Chairman The Honourable Dennis Lalor.
Findlay also attributes her years of commitment to the company’s strong footing in the local financial sector whilst speaking to ICWI’s survival of the country’s economic nightmare in the 1990s, when FINSAC (Financial Sector Adjustment Company) intervened and hundreds of other companies were forced to close their doors.
“We survived FINSAC – which says a lot about our leadership and management. As long as individuals have confidence in the company they work for, that not only encourages them to remain loyal but boosts their work ethic and hence they will always continue to work well,” Findlay pointed out.
Now one of the many long-serving members of the 50-year-old entity, Findlay can proudly say that she has contributed to the diversification of ICWI – as it has since blossomed into a Group of Companies and is the region’s largest motor vehicle insurance provider.
As a financial stalwart and true ambassador for ICWI, the Senior Accounting Operations Manager strongly believes in sharing knowledge because it not only helps to build companies but helps to develop competent teams and meaningful relationships. She advises younger professionals to always be dedicated and focused because listening to the crowd can lead to distractions and result in lost opportunities.