Always seeking ways to advance herself, Akiva Henry has grown from being a telephone operator to a top administrative professional, working at the North East Regional Health Authority (NERHA), which manages public health facilities in the parishes of St Ann, St Mary and Portland.
Her growth has not gone unnoticed.
She has been declared Administrative Professional of the Year (2022-2023) for St Ann, according to the St Ann Chapter of the Jamaica Association of Administrative Professionals (JAAP).
“Being administrative professionals, we are the encyclopedia of the office. We are the ones who staff and clients turn to,” said Henry, an alumna of Chalky Hill Primary School, Ocho Rios Primary and Ocho Rios High.
She recalled growing up in a happy household with parents Ladine and Veron Henry who are both chefs, as well as three siblings. One of her brothers is a teacher and the other is an electrical technician. Her sister is a nurse.
Henry’s childhood dream was to become a teacher or a midwife.
But life took her on a different path partly because she could not afford college tuition, she said, adding that she grabbed “the second best choice”, which was to enroll in the state-owned skills training agency – HEART Trust.
As part of her training, Henry was placed at NERHA in 2016.
Eight months into the programme, NERHA hired her as a telephone operator, but she worked her way up to becoming Acting Secretary to the company’s Director of Finance. Another promotion came five months ago when Henry was appointed Administrative Assistant to the Director of Finance.
That, definitely, is not the end of greatness for the soft-spoken and unassuming St Ann native, who is now pursuing an associate degree in business administration through the University of Technology. She’s also mulling a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
“After all that, hopefully, I will gain another promotion to serve the company and Jamaica to the best of my ability,” Henry told The Beacon. “Education is the key. Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am.”
She encouraged aspiring administrative professionals to firmly grasp their dream. “Go for it with the best of your ability and always be consistent because consistency is the key,” Henry added.
She has been widely commended for being adjudged St Ann’s top administrative professional this year.
Among persons singing her praises is Paulett Henry-Lynch, president of the St Ann Chapter of JAAP.
“She is a quiet storm who is quite unassuming and will take you by surprise – which she did [us in topping the parish]. She is a hard worker who strives for excellence in whatever she pursues. She is eager to learn and is keen on making a positive contribution to society,” Lynch told The Beacon.
She added: “Miss Henry is a reliable and ambitious young lady who is not deterred by challenges, but she sees them as opportunities which will aid in the pursuit of her goals. I wish her a productive and fulfilled reign.”
EDITORIAL NOTE: This article is sponsored by JAAP (St Ann Chapter) in recognition of Administrative Professionals’ Day today, April 27.
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