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Kerene Bent (right) receives her award for Employee of the Year from Mrs. Gillian Hyde, general manager, JNSBL, at the JNSBL Staff and Long Service Awards 2019 .

From the first day she entered JN Small Business Loans as a HEART Trainee in 2002, Kerene Bent has always been motivated to exceed her targets. Now, almost 18 years later, her passion has not diminished.

Miss Bent, who has been Region 1 Client Relations Manager since April last year, first joined the JNSBL team as a HEART Trainee in 2002. During that time, she worked as an administrative assistant in Region 4, which comprises Manchester, St Elizabeth and May Pen. Three years later, she was promoted to reserve field officer before moving up to Client Relations Officer, later in 2005. She points to seeing her clients improving their lives as being her motivation to succeed.

It feels good when I can assist clients in whatever way I can as it relates to their business needs. And, I am happy when I am in the field, and they introduce you to someone saying “that’s my field officer, she treats me well”. She helped me with my business,” stated Miss Bent.  “It just feels awesome when we can transform the lives of our clients who really want to do business but just need advice and assistance to help them grow and improve their business.”

This motivation to see clients succeed has seen her cop several awards.  In 2017, she received the Chairman’s Award for High Performance and was Employee of the Year for Region 4 for seven consecutive years.

“I was always motivated to do well. I would set individual targets for myself every year and try to meet them, and this enabled me to perform well,” she explained.

In 2019, the mother of one was appointed Client Relations Manager for Region 1, which comprises Kingston and St. Thomas.  And, one of the first things she points to is the difference in culture.

 “One of the first shocks I experienced was that many people in Kingston rarely smiled or say good morning,” she pointed out.

Another thing that struck her was the obvious difference in culture among micro entrepreneurs in the Corporate Area, as opposed to those in central Jamaica.

“Kingston is the capital of hustling and the city of opportunity. Around every corner there is a business and a potential client, so prospecting is easier. In Western Jamaica, especially in the rural areas, the distance between businesses is usually significant, which makes acquiring new clients difficult,” she pointed out.

Miss Bent has been one of JNSBL top performers. She admits that getting staff members to share her vision was sometimes challenging, but she has attempted to overcome this by increasing cohesion and building strong relationships with her team members.

“I have tried to treat others as I would want to be treated,” she said. “The second thing I did was to promise them that if they committed themselves to this vision and gave a 100 per cent of themselves, so would I,” she stated.

Being successful at her job is only a part of her dreams. Ms. Bent hopes one day to become an executive or manage her own business. And, she has gone back to school to ensure her dreams become reality by earning a degree in Accounting and an MBA in Management with distinction. Apart from that, she is constantly motivating herself to succeed.

“My own vision of self-actualization, of being the best I can be, is motivating me to do well,” she said. “I am not perfect and never will be, but I intend to continue developing myself and others within my sphere, as long as I am able to.”

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