Big up, boss ladies! by Debra Fraser

Big up, boss ladies! by Debra Fraser

On Friday, September 21 we celebrated Business Women’s Day… well, hopefully at least some of us did. It was an opportunity to celebrate the value female leaders bring to the world of work, especially considering the powerful legacy of lady leadership (the Triple L factor) woven into the fabric of Jamaica’s heritage.

But what’s the difference in lady leadership? And what makes it special? Though the impact is wide, let’s take a look at just a couple of ways boss ladies impact business from the HR and engagement perspective.

Women have a powerful influence on workplace cultures. A 2017 study indicates that companies with a higher number of women in leadership experience benefits in two key areas: employee engagement and employee wellness.

In the case of the former, it showed that employees in companies with a higher percentage of women gave higher satisfaction ratings on several items related to job satisfaction, organisational dedication, and employee engagement. In the case of the latter, the survey indicated that employees in companies with female bosses felt more supported and experienced less job-related burnout.

In recognition of Business Women’s Day, I’d like to practise self-awareness and reflect on a few of the special businesswomen who, over the years have figured out how to engage me. As it goes with women, it is likely that they may not be aware of the profound and practical impact they have had on someone else’s life, so let’s hope a little recognition will go a long way.

Big up, Lindsay Mohan, my college instructor whose individual attention, gentle prodding and hand-holding turned me around from being an underachieving student to a forever honour-roller. Now that’s engagement!

Big up, Emily Hodgkinson, my first manager who gave me a chance to practise HR in spite of the fact that I had only a few HR courses under my belt, and then created space for me to stretch my wings. I am your lady leadership legacy!

Big up, Betty Lawrence, whose consistent priority of service to God and community impact inspires her work and mine. Thanks for opening the YES youth centre and for the opportunity to volunteer with you!

Big up, Holly Lynch, HR executive in the US, who showed me what a combination of a high IQ plus business savvy compassion+ class looks like in a female executive.

And biggest-big-up to Gladys Fraser (my mom) who, as a working mother and first lady now turned ordained pastor and businesswoman, modelled the grace and rewards of “banding your belly” so that other bellies could be made full.

Is there a woman who has made an impact on your work life and career development? It’s not too late to call and big them up!

After all, that’s what Business Women’s Day is for.

Until next time, leaders, keep lookin’ up!


Debra Fraser MBA, is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, a board member of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica, and a member of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, as well as the Society of Human Resources Management. Please direct comments to or


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One comment

  1. You are an inspiration to us all Debra! Keep up the hard work.

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