LEADING LADY: “There are lessons in opportunities and mistakes,” Coke-Lloyd says on reflection.
“IN my high school yearbook I was singled out as the person most likely to start their own company,” says a glowing Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd, speaking with TALLAWAH inside the Grand Ballroom of the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. To say the least, she’s more than lived up to that promise. Not only has she been the driving force behind Make Your Mark Consultants (her own company), she’s been transforming the lives of countless Jamaicans through personal and professional development. In fact, Coke-Lloyd and the diligent staff at Make Your Mark Consultants take this work so seriously that they started the Middle Managers’ Conference, which has bloomed into a calendar event now in its 10th year. “Every year I marvel at how much space I take up in this ballroom. It’s a good feeling,” she told the conference during Opening Ceremony on Tuesday morning, referring to the massive turnout. “Most organizations don’t get to celebrate 10 years of achievement.” To start your own enterprise, Coke-Lloyd will be the first to tell you, it only takes a spark. She uses her own experiences and the genesis of the conference as an example. “It started with a dream to make you the best asset to your organization and the people you serve – [while] contributing to the growth of the public and private sector and our beloved country, Jamaica,” she told the gathering. Today, at 50-plus, Coke-Lloyd radiates charm. She’s poised, she’s eloquent. A plump woman in full, and a big fan of pearls and pants suits, she wears her success well. “I’m most proud of the fact that we continue to improve lives and contribute to the growth of managers. The responses and feedback we’ve received from persons we’ve trained has been amazing,” she tells me during coffee break. She’s had quite a journey to this point on her career arc. In addition to her mom, Coke-Lloyd hails Claudette Parsons on her list of Jamaicans who inspired and motivated her when she was coming of age. “She gave me my first summer job, and she is still an entrepreneur to this day,” she recalls. “My mom taught us that life is going to be filled with tough challenges, but you should always give of your best, irrespective of the situation.” And, as with any success story, Coke-Lloyd has had her hurdles and disappointments. What has she learned? “There are lessons in opportunities and mistakes,” she emphasizes. “It’s just for you to learn from them and make the most of your next opportunities.”