Jahabrie’s star continues to rise

HARD-WORKING, decisive and level-headed are a few of the words that have been used to describe Sandals South Coast’s newly minted cost manager and 2019 Diamond Team Member, Jahabrie Clarke.

The 26-year-old Jahabrie never saw himself working in the hospitality industry but he knew he loved numbers, even as a student at Manning’s School in Westmoreland.

“In high school I excelled at math and I saw my math teacher, Mr Spence, as an early mentor,” said Jahabrie.

It was Spence who told Jahabrie that he could achieve anything he put his mind to – something the new Sandals star has never stopped believing.

But after high school he still wasn’t sure what he wanted to do and that indecision eventually cost him an entire year.

“I took a while to decide whether to pursue sixth form at Manning’s or at Frome [High School] and by the time I applied, all the spaces were gone.” Jahabrie said.

He was also hopeful of securing a football scholarship but when that fell through, he found himself with no prospects.

“This was one of the worst times in my life,” he said. “But that experience also taught me two important things: To always have a ‘plan B’ and that in order to get ahead in life, I would have to just take that step in faith.”

Adamant that he could no longer put his life on pause, Jahabrie stepped out in faith and enrolled at Montego Bay Community College.

“At the time, I wasn’t sure how my college education would be funded, but I applied anyway.”

Fortunately for Jahabrie his aunt, Marjorie Hylton, came to his aide and graciously assisted with his college tuition.

“My first two years of college were a blur,” said Jahabrie. “I struggled to settle down and I still battled with figuring out my purpose and path,” he admitted.

But Jahabrie eventually began to figure out his life’s jigsaw puzzle. “It was in my third year that I found myself – and I really started to excel.

Fast-forward two years and Jahabrie graduated from Montego Bay Community College with a bachelor’s degree in finance and management accredited by the Council of Community Colleges of Jamaica.

“Of course I assumed that a job in banking or accounts was next in line for me,” said Jahabrie. But then he learnt of an internship opportunity at Sandals and he wasn’t about to miss out this time by taking too long to decide.

“I just went for it. I sat right there in the library at Montego Bay Community College and filled out the Sandals application form.”

Jahabrie began his internship at Sandals South Coast in May 2018. He remembers his first task was filing documents in the Accounts Department. “It was boring and I knew I could do more, but still I worked to the best of my ability and I never once complained.”

Soon enough he was moved to the Cost Control Department for the remainder of his internship. The resort’s financial controller, Yoland Mighty, had observed Jahabrie as an intern. She admired his work ethic and even though there wasn’t a job opening at the time, she offered to keep him on as a “casual” in the resort’s Cost Control Department.

“Over the next several months I took a deep dive into the department and really grew to love what the job entailed.” Hence when the senior cost control clerk decided to move on, Jahabrie knew he was the man for the job.

The cost manager and team are responsible for the movement of all resort inventories. They do monthly inventory of every single item being processed through the resort’s main storerooms. They monitor bar pars, report on circulating damages and liaise with the corporate office regarding food and beverage costs. They are also responsible for an average of 50 deliveries per week from various suppliers and vendors.

In September 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic, Jahabrie had yet another opportunity to expand his knowledge of the

cost control and accounts operation by returning to the Accounts Department as a payables clerk, part-time.

“Here I got to see another side of the operation; I went from handling internal costs to external payments.”

Despite his busy work schedule, Jahabrie, who is dubbed the consummate yes-man by his colleagues, finds time to offer help wherever it is needed.

“I always find a way to help because I put myself in the other person’s position. I know everyone has a part to play. Part of my role is to facilitate them as best as possible so we can all move ahead.”

Along with being really good at his job, no matter which seat he occupies within the operation what makes Jahabrie stand out is the fact that he realises his role isn’t just about him, it’s bout the department, it’s about the resort – and he sees himself as part of a much bigger picture.

“Winning the Diamond Team Member award was one of the most humbling and gratifying experiences of my life,” said Jahabrie.

“I always considered myself to be a Sandals ambassador but winning that award meant that I had a responsibility to motivate others to excel. My latest promotion to cost manager is yet another milestone for me but more importantly, it is an extension of that responsibility, which I accept wholeheartedly.”

Jahabrie’s promotion to cost manager became effective recently.

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