Wendy Grenade

is a leading Caribbean scholar focusing on Caribbean integration, Caribbean security, EU-Caribbean relations also Governance and Democracy. Having spent close to a year being taught by Wendy Grenade, it is clear to see how she has achieved great success in the academic world and the public sector. Her desire and commitment towards propelling the Caribbean region forward has been demonstrated by her various academic publications. Through reading Wendy’s work, it is evident she is an innovative thinker who continually challenges the status quo. Wendy has created a strong reputation based on her relentless work ethic, creative thinking, and unwavering confidence.

  April 2014 Edition  

Women With Vision

Wendy Grenade

Question 1: What’s your educational background?

I obtained a PhD in International Studies with specialisms in Comparative Politics and International Relations from the University of Miami. This was a very broad program, which allowed me to study multiple disciplines. Prior to that, I completed a MA in Human Resource Management at the University of Westminster, UK. My educational background is a mix between business and international studies.

Question 2: What has been your career path to this point?

I started my career in the public service; I worked for a number of years in public administration. I worked for four and a half years in the Grenadian Foreign Service with postings in London and Washington D.C. After this, I held the position of Human Resource Management Officer at the Prime Minister’s Office in Grenada. This role involved change management, training and development, strategic planning, and budgeting.

 

I returned back to education and decided to pursue a PhD in International Relations. I taught at the Florida Atlantic University modules including Caribbean Politics, Comparative Politics and European Politics. Additionally, I was a Post Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Miami, which involved teaching classes including EU relations. Whilst at the University of Miami, I was a Research Assistant and Associate Director of the European Union Center assisting with the editing of their working paper series.

 

In 2006, I became a Lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados. My classes include Caribbean International Politics, International Politics and the Political Economy and Theories of International Relations. Also, I teach graduate level courses in the International Trade Policy graduate program. Since 2013, I have been the Course Director of the MS Integration Studiesprogram.

Question 3: What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your career?

One of my main challenges was managing living in multiple countries. For the past 15 years, I have been based overseas. As a result, I had to balance my career aspirations with my desire to be close to family and friends. At times, I found that balance difficult and had to learn how to maintain long distance relationships and strong family bonds.

Question 4: What motivates you to excel?

I think there is a larger purpose of being and that purpose is to enrich other people’s lives. My Christian beliefs have been a motivating force, everything I do I try to do it excellently. I am aware life is not a dress rehearsal and you only get one life. God has blessed me with a strong desire to achieve success. Mediocrity was never an option for me; it was always about doing something that reflected excellence. Whatever I touch must be excellent, not just for me but those I mentor and those that will come after me. I want to ensure I leave an example of what the best can be, so reaching beyond where I am is important for the legacy I will leave.

 

One of my leading inspirations was my primary school principal her favorite quotes being “there’s nothing you can not achieve if you put your mind to it” and “always think beyond where you are”. I came from a background where my grandparents were plantation workers. My grandparents taught me the importance of hard work and always performing a job to the best of your ability. As I became more educated I wanted to ensure my work defined not just me. It was a larger statement for people from similar backgrounds to myself. I think we needed to say to the world that your class, gender or race does not have to limit your dreams. I believe everybody has innate talents, which are God-given, and we build on them as we go through life. I am grateful to my family and friends, who have helped me to achieve success in my career.

Question 5: What's one thing you wish you could tell your 16 year old self?

Choose your friends carefully. Have clear goals and do not let things happen by chance. Have patience, success does not happen overnight. Know how to manage money, become innovative and entrepreneurial in your thinking. Most importantly, balance your life carefully. Mix career choices with strong family values.

Question 6: What's the best piece of advice you have received?

My father told me, “Never define people by the worst in them but define people by the best in them, because if we are to define people by the worst in them none of us would have friends”. I try to live by this quote. It has given me empathy and tolerance.

 

After defending my PhD, my mother was at my home in Florida in which she said “I am not proud today because these gentlemen have called you Doctor for the first time, I am proud despite the fact they have called you Doctor for the first time, you still have a love for God and you still have a heart to please him." This encouraged me to further anchor myself in my faith. My faith is what will sustain me. Whatever type of challenges I face I know something larger than me is protecting me.

Question 7: What advice do you have for women who want to follow in your footsteps?

Education! Education! Education! It empowers you and gives you a sense of self worth. Education provides you with opportunity to achieve financial liberation, and can help you to overcome the violence many women face due to their financial dependency on their partners. When I say education I am not limiting it to the narrow sense of academic learning but in terms of the skills you possess. Also, being successful does not mean you do not need a partner in your life. We do need men in our lives, for the strength and support they can bring. We have to share our success with someone and it’s important that we realize we must appreciate the people in our lives, not to see our success as a reason for why we do not need people. However, we should not be apologetic for our successes.

Question 8: What is your plan for the next 5 years?

I want to deepen my relationship with God and strengthen my bonds with my family. I will continue my work at the University of the West Indies. Also, I want to complete substantial research which will add to a Caribbean scholarship. My goal is to publish 2-3 books. I want to inspire others and be a sense of encouragement. Most importantly, I want to add positive energy wherever I am.

Question 9: What's your definition of success?

Success is multi-faceted, but at its core success, is purpose. Knowing your purpose and fulfilling that purpose with all you have. Success goes beyond the material domain. Material gain is one manifestation of success, but it cannot be the definition of success. Are you at one with the Divine? If I have sanity and I am on a positive path to fulfill my purpose, that is success to me. I don’t think success is an end state; success is a continuous journey. The mark of success is finding that balance between career, success, and family commitments.

Question 10: How are you empowering young girls and women in your environment?

Firstly, among my family and friends, I try to show by example what you can do when you put excellence as your goal. Also, how education can be used to break the cycle of poverty. In terms of where I have come from and where I am, my life becomes an example for young women. I regularly speak to young women about their choices. While living in Grenada, I created a group of young women in which we discussed Stephen Covey’s book The 7 habits of Highly Effective People. It became a forum where women shared their experiences. In my current role, I speak to young women about being proud of who you are, lifting yourself up, having strong self-esteem, and having self worth. By example and direct communication, I try to inspire young women and chastise when necessary to ensure young women reach their potential.