Meet the Team
At WE-Change's helm, in the position of Executive Director, is Nicolette Bryan. Nicolette is not only passionate about the welfare of women but also believes with complete certainty in the necessity of good leadership for the achievement of any objective.
The role is comprised of duties varying from an almost omniscient oversight of projects and programmes in all domains of the organisation to staying up to date with global development trends in order to analyse how human rights advancements may affect the very vulnerable population served by WE-Change.
Nicolette regards the very specific position of this title and these expectations as a space requiring a commitment to duty and as work deserving of being done with honour. The leadership of a team Nicolette refers to as "hardworking and well-intentioned women" is a responsibility she admits is both challenging and rewarding. The Executive Director role requires high levels of accountability, planning and attention to detail to ensure the organisation's success. Nicolette credits the competence she feels here to a combination of her natural inclination towards leadership as well as the work she has put into team building and the utilisation of a democratic approach among WE-Change's executive body.
Administrative management, objective governance and sustenance of good community relations further comprises Nicolette's duties. She consistently fulfills these with a degree of such skill that she is able to make these onerous operations look effortless. Nicolette attributes to her tenure in the role a more comprehensive understanding of individual motivation. Additionally, this unique position has convinced her of the importance of a commitment to learning and the widely applicable lesson that while no one person can change the world, there is a lot to be done to ameliorate the often dismal material realities of the communities served by WE-Change.
This spectacular marriage of natural inclination and a deserving purpose arguably underscores necessary, unstated requirements for the position; Nicolette has certainly proven that they're inextricable from WE-Change's success.
Tajna Lee Shields
Occupying the post of Advocacy & Communications Officer is Tajna Lee Shields. In this office, Tajna shoulders responsibility for the invention and establishment of WE-Change's advocacy focuses and efforts. Alongside this is also the purview of Communications; here, Tajna is in charge of composition and dissemination of not only internal correspondences but also official statements on the organisation's behalf for external association. This, in tandem with management of digital platforms and the meticulous assurance that every advocacy effort aligns with WE-Change's mission and values, comprises Tajna's position.
For Tajna, holding this office means being able to relate her own stories as well as other stories from her community from a position of power, where both the servants and those served contribute to and benefit from a safe space as well as all material production. Central to this amplification of other women's voices is Tajna's understanding that acknowledging intersecting marginalizations is how everyone in the community is able to be cared for.
By her own assertions, it is Tajna's empathy and passion for the community centred in WE's vision that equips her to perform in ways that are beneficial to the most vulnerable in said community. She describes a holistic approach in which she is "...concerned with our wins, our struggles and our advancement." and asserts that this delicate regard is ever-present in both her personal and professional spheres. Tajna credits her assignment as handler for advocacy and communications with teaching her the ubiquitous value in everyone's stories and the importance of listening to communal advancement.
Stephanie Brown is the Administration and Procurement Officer. This means she is tasked with establishment and maintenance of an efficient administrative system, creation and interception of incoming and outgoing correspondences respectively on the organisation's behalf as well as acquisition of necessary materials for the organisation's projects and events. Stephanie regards this position as one which allows her to serve the nation's community of women through prioritising efficiency and intricate organisation, both of which are skills that have long come naturally to her. Often working closely with the Programmes Director as well as the Finance Manager, Stephanie is able to ensure and report proper expenditure and the accurate recording of such. Additionally, she oversees the design and dissemination of terms of reference regarding incoming consultants or contractors as well as the development and implementation of tools for amassing and archiving procurement data. Stephanie credits her continued excellence in this role to her insatiable curiosity and her consistent willingness to learn and better herself in order to apply these lessons for the good of WE-Change. From the upkeep of emails to the support of project implementation, Stephanie proves adaptability is at the heart of both her role in the organisation as well as her personal sense of motivation.
It is to her tenure in this role that Stephanie credits the cultivation of such a unique skill; she is adamant that the role has taught her the extent to which efficiency and a meticulous approach are necessary, not only to her professional performance but also to her everyday life. It is this detail-centered approach and goal-oriented focus that has become emblematic of Stephanie's presence at WE-Change.
As WE-Change's Grants & Partnerships Manager, Shawna Stewart works tirelessly to ensure the financial relationships of the organisation are properly recorded and also in line with WE-Change's mission of promoting the agency and safety of Jamaican LBQ women. Responsible for the identification, establishment and maintenance of lucrative and transparent donor relationships, Shawna does this through the sustenance of good communication with the relevant parties as well as monitoring the expenditure covered by any and all incoming grants. Shawna cites her skills of effective relaying of information and trustworthy record keeping as things that power her evident excellence in this role. She prides herself on the efficient identification of necessary boundaries and is emphatic about the extent to which being a clear understanding of the organisation's relationships is inextricable from her consistently impeccable performance.
From identification of funding opportunities to assisting the Executive Director with ongoing analysis on the path of donor grants through WE-Change to the communities being served, Shawna is committed to the vision of the organisation and relays her implacable belief in the work through the thorough understanding with which she approaches her role as well as her rigorous production of necessary content. This production covers close collaboration with the Finance & Compliance Manager as well as hands-on support and guidance of consultants working with WE-Change at any time. Shawna ultimately credits the role of Grants & Partnerships Manager with imparting onto her the salience of maintenance and restorative care of boundaries, both personal and professional and continues to shine in her stead.
Fulfilling the responsibilities of Policy & Research Officer, Kristina Neil is WE's research project anchor, current affairs analyst through the lens of human rights and the go to personnel in all situations relating to development of policy positions and research design. In this role, Kristina engineers the policy standpoints of the organisation for dissemination; additionally, she undertakes endeavours that centre the expansion of scholarship around issues facing LBQ women at both the sociopolitical and legislative levels. The prioritisation of accessible information being available to the communities served by WE-Change with data being collected and analysed by that community is, according to Kristina, central to her understanding of the role she plays. This focus on having the vulnerable at the centre is born of a discontent in the general distribution of oratorical power relating to the lived experiences of the Jamaican queer community, in which people from the global north then profit from the sensationalisation of the survival of queer Jamaicans in the shadow of the violence they face.
Kristina identifies the empowering of vulnerable people to tell and learn from their own stories as essential to any sort of care she is able to provide. It is to her owned lived experience as a queer woman in Jamaica and a feminist theory background that Kristina attributes feeling equipped to perform these functions; being faced with both the threat of violence and the sacred light of community personally, Kristina understands and is more than able to competently relay to the relevant stakeholders what needs to be done to make LBQ women in Jamaica safer. From synthesising women's experiences into policy through earnest data collection and working closely with the relevant stakeholders, Kristina says her biggest takeaway has been the resolution that this work, if done correctly, should not be a lifelong venture. It is this empathetic understanding and genuine desire to see material change that makes Kristina excellent in her role.
As the Finance and Compliance Manager at WE-Change, Christina Grant is the first point of reference and exercises significant authority on all things relating to the organisation’s budget, receipt and invoice archives as well as the overseeing of both internal and external audits. In managing compliance, Christina is also responsible for ensuring WE-Change remains in line with national and regional regulations for organisations performing advocacy as well as fulfilling the expectations of donors. In her domain of financial evaluation and regulation compliance, Christina understands that the work she does is integral to the longevity of WE-Change as well as very necessary for the efficient realisation of WE-Change’s mission. Christina attributes her evident competence in this role to the qualifications and abilities she possesses as a trained banker and her genuine enjoyment of problem solving, both things she is empowered to do in the name of a cause she is passionate about in an executive role at WE-Change. Believing in the message of the empowerment and safety of women through the acknowledgment of their agency, Christina approaches obligations such as the keeping of accurate financial records and the training of others to handle basic financial management with an endless curiosity and a genuine enjoyment that has guided her in her task throughout her time at WE-Change. Christina credits the role of Finance & Compliance Manager with teaching her effective and thorough accounting (a skill she admits to not previously being confident about); she also attributes an understanding of financial transparency as necessary to good advocacy to the position.
Steadfast in her role as WE-Change's Director of Planning, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning, Paige Andrew sees her duties of managing programs and projects and conducting their subsequent evaluation as ideal for her due to her experience. Alongside her tenure at WE-Change dating back its inception in 2015, she has also occupied similar positions in other advocacy organisations. Paige credits her excellence at her post to the passionate enjoyment she finds at WE-Change, asserting that being in a space that makes her happy is what accounts for how efficiently she is able to understand and contribute to WE-Change’s mission and vision. Having the organisation's spheres of development as well as maintenance of planning and evaluation protocols firmly in hand, Paige understands position requirements like efficient strategy and comprehensive analysis as endeavours she is equipped to give of herself towards accomplishing. In the role of PMEL Director, this may look like a propensity to consistently offer support to other members of the team through a critical eye and close collaboration with other relevant posts. From ensuring the seamless integration of monitoring into the organisation’s project management to consistent quality control of evaluations and the subsequent keeping of efficiently archived records, the PMEL Director is required to have a result oriented approach facilitated by a keen eye for detail and a commitment to the sharing of knowledge within the organisation and outside to relevant stakeholders like government parties and other development organisations. Paige faces these professional obligations daily with a fervour she attributes to a centering of community care which she finds necessary to project management.
Acting in the capacity of Health & Wellness Officer, Shantae Porteous governs the vast purview of health in the holistic approach, encompassing the “...physical, mental and spiritual.” Years in advocacy peppered with the negative effects of prioritising professional accomplishment over comprehensive experiences of wellness are both factors to which Shantae credits her apt appointment to the role. Owing to these episodes, Shantae understands and consistently tries to impart the importance of an advocacy approach that centres the health and wellness of not only the community being served but also, that of the practitioners serving the community. Responsible for the invention and implementation of measures relating to the good health and holistic wellness of the women and girls centred in WE-Change's mission, Shantae handles analysis of women’s health developments and assesses legislative and/or sociopolitical changes may materially affect the population of vulnerable women that WE-Change centres in their service.
A self-professed "pleasure-loving" Taurus who is acutely abreast of current women's health policies, Shantae contributes to the office a personal commitment to self care which she says empowers her to teach others how to care for themselves and their communities through an understanding that first, she must lead by example. Additionally, Shantae has proven to be profoundly adept at the establishment and maintenance of fruitful working relationships with the relevant stakeholders in the health sector. In her own words, Shantae is challenging the traditional messaging surrounding health that prioritises the sustenance of axes of oppression over individual and community wellness at all levels. This and the idea that health is a spectrum where “...not being at 100% doesn’t mean I’m in bad health” are the perspectives to which she credits her ability to earnestly and efficiently develop, implement and regularly re-evaluate projects and programmes that necessitate good health and true wellness for advocacy successes.
Kristeena Monteith is the most recent addition to the dynamic and talented executive team at WE-Change. Joining the body in the role of Youth and Outreach Officer, Kristeena leads the invention and execution of projects centering the welfare of young women and girls as well as their advocacy education.
From initiating outreach activities to preparing the youth demographic of LBQ women to take part in programmes and functions that serve their wider community, the office requires an approach based in realistic adaptation and an officer willing to exist in the community as much as the community would ask for.
In Kristeena's words, what she brings to this crucial role is an invaluable combination of her commitment to a socially just worldview and an unyielding belief in the power of participatory community action wrapped in a package of "boundless creative energy".
With 8 years of experience spanning the gamut of research, project design and youth advocacy both locally and in international organisations, Kristeena understands the material implications of centering vulnerable communities with praxis fueled by empathy.
The Youth and Outreach Officer is responsible for the sustenance of both national and regional volunteer networks, from the maintenance of efficient databases to the recruitment and orientation of incoming and existing volunteers. Kristeena affects the longevity of WE-Change in a very tangible way, one that her enthusiasm and compassion are suited very well towards.
Kristeena is certain that she will aid in the expansion of WE-Change's reach as well as the fortitude and healing of the community the organisation is both a part of and seeks to serve. Kristeena asserts that her influence on advocacy will be "creating more avenues for the involvement of young people within the community as well as beyond it."
Dave-Ann Moses and Gabrielle
Dave-Ann Moses and Gabrielle Patmore share the role of social media coordinator at WE-Change. They handle dissemination of information relevant to the community as well as intercept all correspondences coming into each WE-Change platform. In the digital age, social media is invaluable to advocacy efforts and any kind of organising around access to resources. Gabrielle and Dave-Ann are therefore indispensable to the achievement of WE-Change's mission of empowering women through safety and agency. The two bring much to the team in their roles as Social Media Coordinators and the organisation in general - For Dave-Ann, it’s an eagerness and willingness to assist, as well as experience from working in marketing; [that can look like] creating eye-catching and engaging designs to help the organisation get its message across. Gabby says “I’m always on social media. The thing is being on social media platforms is that you can hear the concerns/problems/issues of multiple people from the community. This makes it easy for me to stay updated with issues [as a social media coordinator]. I’m also constantly learning and developing my skills and knowledge to see how best they can aid the organisation. I’m always focused on the wants and needs of the larger community and how best WE can achieve those needs.
When asked “What's one goal you hope to fulfill while in this role?”
Gabrielle: [I would like to] act as an alternative to traditional media that does not adequately voice the concerns and issues of queer women and other marginalised people.
Dave-Ann: I hope to encourage others to join in the efforts to address issues affecting LBQ people in Jamaica.
In their own words, the social media team at WE-Change is motivated by their natural inclinations to the functions of the role and empowered by the goal of communicating with the community and all the expansive possibilities the post holds.