Dale Carnegie, the unforgettable, world-famous and iconic American motivational coach and public speaker once said: “only the prepared speaker deserves to be confident”.
Jamaica’s media darling Dr. Terri-Karelle Reid embodies his trusted opinion to a “T”.
An events dynamo, and public speaker extraordinaire in the global corporate sphere Reid in an interview with Caribbean POSH revealed: “I take a lot of pride in preparing, and researching and knowing things about a company they did not even give me in speaking notes, and I surpass them when I say something at the mic and they go wow you really took the time.”
“I want to understand the company and its culture, and I am extremely picky and particular about the events I decide to host, because I do think they are a reflection of your brand alignment ,values and principles” she added.
However, events hosting was never her first career choice interestingly enough. The magical sceptre of destiny stepped in to place her on her current path of professional growth and development.
Over the years she has observed a special trend in her life’s direction involving a healthy dose of serendipity tempered with a laser-sharp focus on her goals, allowing this awesome mother, daughter, memorable beauty queen, effervescent Digicel Rising Stars host, trendy entrepreneur, and in-demand public speaker par excellence to not only count her lucky stars daily, but to effortlessly apply her golden wisdom and acumen to every task that has been assigned to her.
“I believe in serendipity with a little bit of intention because I think the two extremes are as my Grandmother would say “too much of one thing good for nothing.” So it is lovely to be open and flexible to change, and embrace things that come that we did not plan for, and to accept it as part of our ever evolving journey, but there has to be some kind of structure, intention and purposeful way that we even take on our journey.”Dr. Terri-Karelle Reid
Growing up as a child, Dr. Reid a recent distinguished TedX alumnus orator did not know that she was being prepared for an enviable career in the spotlight of public speaking and hosting events the world over. Her initial passion was to become a veterinarian.
“I always wanted to be a veterinarian, that was my plan, dream goal since I was maybe age 3 or 4. I went and graduated in veterinary medicine, came home and they informed me that they don’t accredit students who study veterinary medicine. Therefore that plan that I had literally had that door closed right in my face. I was open and flexible to accept what was coming that was uncertain to navigate that space if I didn’t make room for that, if I was not flexible and believe in being serendipitous then I would have stopped dead in my tracks. But I instead I allowed for spontaneity and change that is how media and communications found me.”
Nevertheless, that road of disappointment led her into her destiny of becoming an ace events host already armed with her engaging smile and charm, imbued wit and bolstered by a genuine love for people.
From her school days she recalls: “I was always told I was a natural always being selected to give the vote of thanks and say something on behalf of the school, I was always that child. I didn’t know there was a profession in it because many of us, we are exposed to traditional professions and vocations. So it was not until the door of veterinary medicine closed in my face that I even realised that media and communications was something I could do naturally, and get paid for it. So, even though I was a natural at engaging I didn’t know that I could have taken it to the level that I could be now considered a media personality in the space.“
Reflecting humbly on her role as the longest running Digicel Rising Stars host since 2012 Reid said: “I think being able to speak well, and to articulate that helps, but I believe the qualities I possess that has allowed people to welcome me into their homes every Sunday night for so long (well the feedback I have gotten) is that it is authentic, not a put-on, I don’t force an issue, I don’t try to sound or be like anyone else. So when people see me or hear me, they feel as if I am one of them. I am a sister and a friend, a best friend in their heads. That is how I come across. So there is a warmth to my delivery that people see and feel every time I appear on their screens. “
“I was grown by my Mom and Grandma to always fully represent myself. There was not one day that I was ever taught, or told to try to pretend to be something I am not in order to get by or fit in. So I was naturally raised to believe in the power of self and not be afraid to say this is me and to step in that power” she added.
Before her sterling television role however, Jamaica got its’ first glimpse six years earlier in 2005 when the doe-eyed beauty due to a marvellous stroke of good luck, guardedly entered, and won the prestigious Miss Jamaica World title, albeit with a strong statement about black pride: her beautiful natural tresses.
“Getting to Miss Jamaica World… that contest was also never a part in my plan. I never wanted to become a beauty queen, never dreamt of being a beauty queen but it was the circumstances of coming home from Cuba on a summer holiday, and just not being able to get any work, and someone suggested that I enter. For three years, persons suggested this and I was not interested” she reminisced.
However, “it was the third and final time that I said okay, and ended up submitting my application on the final day that they were accepting them. So, even that again was not something planned but the moment I was selected as one of the 16 contestants then you have to be purposeful and intentional.”
“Within that pageant people always said it I was warm, bubbly, exciting, and authentic. Plus the fact that I had entered with an Afro as a black girl a lot of persons were rooting for me. There were another set of people who thought that maybe my chances of winning would have been slim to none because I would have to change my hair based on past beauty queens and my decision to keep my hair as is… natural puffy, poufy Afro I think cemented myself as that girl who did not want to dilute any part of her identity, and that is how I earned the moniker hashtag Your Jamaican Girl she added.
Commenting on how she deals with detractors while noting that it is probably the most popular question asked of her she explained: “detractors only exist if you allow them to. I don’t give them power of thought; I don’t allow their names to roll off my tongue; I don’t think they believe they deserve that honour or privilege deserve my attention, effort or my energy. So instead of focusing on detractors or even acknowledging their presence, I acknowlege the people who are my cheer leaders, who are in my corner, assisting me, opening doors, helping to galvanise and strengthen me step by step. Detractors they have no power or vacancy as far as I am concerned.”
Continuing to soar in her professional public speaker career as the first Jamaican female to grace the popular TedX platform live in Birmingham England during the pandemic, she delivered a well-received speech on invitation about how mothers can effectively broach with sensitivity and tact, the topic of puberty and young adolescents highlighting how she approached the issue with her beloved daughter Naima-Courtnay.
She still thinks of the TedX Talk experience as a pinchable moment.
“Each time I think about it, its almost as if I say how me Lord and it goes back to being purposeful. A lot of us limit ourselves to how big we could be, and limit the view of ourselves in terms of the power we possess to influence, move and contribute to our communities and the world by extension and the access we have” she said.
Not one to back down from challenges, Reid is quick to find ways around them with her goals in sight, and the international lock-down caused by COVID-19 was no exception back home.
Explaining how the pandemic negatively affected her core business of event hosting for a while forcing her to “tun her hand and mek fashion” she recalled: “I am quick to adjust, and adapt and I don’t take things personally and harshly and I am not hard on myself. So when COVID-19 hit Jamaica we had our first case I will never forget it… March 10 2020 all my events locally, regionally, internationally cancelled overnight. So I was sitting there for an indefinite number of months not knowing what was to come.
I am highly spiritual and I believe in my God and I don’t move without Him. In that space of time everybody had cut back, nobody wanted to spend, nobody knew what was happening. The thing was to just sit and wait it out.
This girl here got up and said what can I do at this time? I said you know what I am gonna learn to build my own website. I took my website coaching classes, and in five weeks I built my website. I put all my photos together and did my copy, layout, hosting everything because pain is temporary and discomfort is temporary” she said.
There was a bright silver lining at the end of the storm however.
“For me its when we come out on the other side will I be prepared and shortly after five six months I became the go to host for all events that were virtual, and people had my website that was now my lead generator for the world. So I was hosting virtual events from Malaysia all the way to North America. So the key is to plan; not to look at the now and become emotional or lose sight of the value you can create because of circumstance that is happening now. My website has been used as a mood board of sorts.
Not letting the pandemic restrict her creativity, Dr. Reid also used the world health crisis caused by COVID-19 to sit down to write her first globally well-received book, “My Brand Compass”.
Always going the extra mile Dr. Reid said: “the space is not short of fantastic event hosts, in my opinion and I know we have some of the best in the world. How I have developed is I have taken my core competencies which are naturally the gift of speaking, expressing in a manner and communicating effectively, clearly and contextually, and what diffrentiates me is that people know me for my level of preparation.”
“I believe in finding the value and going a step further and truly surpassing expectations. So, if I am hosting an event for Chinese, I will go and learn a little Chinese so that I can incorporate. I have done it for Dutch, French, Spanish, German and Mandarin, to add value and make the clients feel they have made the right decision to hire me” she said.
An eternal optimist, she said: “I absolutely think that one of the greatest gifts we could give to ourselves is to walk through this life understanding that we have full control over the type of persons we want to be for ourselves, and our communities by extension.
In an ode to her Caribbean heritage she noted: “When you have walked the walk and have seen the greats who have come before us and what they have paved the way for us. When we understand every day we breathe how resilient we are and bounce back from everything and we do it with such grace, class, style and vibe like no other.”
Reflecting on the precious gift of parenthood, Dr. Reid enthusiastically confided she enjoys: “The ebbs and the flows; it keeps you on your toes; you never know what tomorrow is going to bring; you are challenged every single day to show up with consistency, because children learn what they see, what they live and feel, not what they are told. So you have to get up, being very intentional and be the example, if you want your child to be a great global citizen. “
Sometimes you are going to have your rough days, absolutely but you have the rewarding ones when you see them respond to a particular situation, or circumstance using the founding principles they have been taught. It is the most rewarding thing ever.”
However, “The greatest legacy I could possibly leave for my daughter is that as she grows, and steps out into this world that is so noisy and chaotic, and is always tugging and pulling and trying to convince you that you are not enough, and that your identity does not fit in this space or that space. That she would be able to block out all the noise’ that she will bloom wherever she is planted, and never ever try to dim her light or douse her flame in order for other people to feel better about themselves. If she is able to accomplish that then everything she decides to do or say will come from her core. I think that is one of the gifts I would hope that she would want to hone for herself” a proud Dr. Reid added.