As you read through Nadini Persaud's achievements it becomes clear she actively pursues excellence in everything she does. Having worked in various government departments and presently teaching at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill. She has published various academic publications and presented at numerous academic conferences on Project Management and Evaluation. With hard work and persistence, Nadini Persaud has shown greatness can be achieved. She is a fantastic role model for young women who are focused on achieving their dreams and fulfiling their potential.
Question 1: What’s your educational background?
August 2014 Edition
My educational background spans three disciplines. I hold a B.Sc. Accounting (First Class Honours), and a M.Sc. Project Management and Evaluation (Distinction), both from The University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill. Under a Fulbright scholarship, I pursued my doctoral studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamzoo, Michigan. This program was an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Evaluation and I was fortunate to study under two of the founding fathers of evaluation. In addition, I am a Canadian Certified General Accountant and hold the professional designation of CGA. I was awarded the CGA Gold Medal for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean in 2003 when I graduated from CGA.
Question 2: What has been your career path to this point?
My career path has been quite diverse. I worked in different areas in government in an administrative capacity. My final stint in the public sector was at the Economic Planning, Project Coordination and Social Policy Development Unit, Ministry of Finance, Planning & Development in St. Vincent. That job was really quite stimulating. I learnt a lot in that department about projects and was able to apply the knowledge gleaned from my Masters degree. In 2002, I switched gears and entered the teaching profession. I worked with The University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus for two years then left to pursue my doctoral studies. I returned to UWI in 2007. I am currently employed as a Lecturer in Evaluation and I am also the Coordinator of the M.Sc. in Project Management and Evaluation programme. I teach mostly at the graduate level. Some of my courses include Monitoring and Evaluation, Essentials of Management, and Social and Environmental Impact Assessment. I also supervise graduate students undertaking their Practicums.
Question 3: What are some of the challenges you've faced in your career?
Every career comes with challenges. Some of my challenges include unfulfilling/boring work, having to move away from my home/family to start my career with UWI, and learning to be brave so that I can now speak in front of a crowd. The latter was perhaps my greatest challenge since I was really shy.
Question 4: What motivates you to excel?
My motivation stems from a variety of causes. One was my upbringing where I was encouraged to always strive for excellence. Another is my personality ─ I am competitive, I aim for perfection, and perhaps might be classified by some as an over achiever. I simply cannot settle for mediocre performance. I am constantly driven to excel at whatever I am doing. As a student, I was always totally engrossed in my studies since learning provides one of the most powerful and insightful journeys that one will ever experience in life. I enjoyed all of my tertiary level studies immensely. It gave me great personal satisfaction to thoroughly understand the subject matter being studied and that accounted for my success at each and every level of my studies.
Question 5: What's one thing you wish you could tell your 16 year old self?
Incorporate fun/recreation with seriousness of purpose. Strike a good balance between the two. I was always a very serious individual. Learning to de-stress at an early age would have certainly helped me to cope with the stresses of a demanding career.
Question 6: What's the best piece of advice you have received?
Educate yourself! Ensure that you can support yourself so that you don't have to be solely dependent on anyone. Education is the key to success. It opens doors that one cannot even envision. Moreover, it really gives a woman considerable independence and paves the path for both upward─as well─as outward mobility.
Question 7: What advice do you have for women who want to follow in your footsteps?
Believe in yourself and strive for the stars. You can do it too! Work hard and it will pay off. My mother wrote this autograph in my autograph book when I was 11 and it has become my personal motto:
The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upwards in the night.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Don't let anyone dissuade you from pursuing your dreams. Ignore negative comments and think positively. At times it may seem hard and you may feel like giving up─don't. Stick to whatever you are doing and do it to the best of your ability. I have also found that my faith in God has kept me has given me the strength to successfully face every challenge. This poem has always motivated me and so I share it with you:
Be The Best Of Whatever You Are
If you can't be a pine on the top of a hill
Be a scrub in the valley, but be the best little scrub on the side of the hill
Be a bush if you can't be a tree,
If you can't be a bush be a bit of the grass
And some highway happier make.
If you can't be a muskie, then just be a bass,
But the liveliest bass in the lake.
We can't all be captains, we've got to be crew,
There's something for all of us here.
There's big work to do and there's lesser work, too,
And the thing we must do is the near
If you can't be a highway, then just be a trail.
If you can't be the sun, be a star.
It isn't by size that you win or you fail.
Be the best of whatever you are.
Question 8: What's your plan for the next 5 years?
Continue with my career with UWI and do it to the best of my ability. Make time for myself and achieve that much needed balance between work and recreation.
Question 9: What's your definition of success?
Success is multifaceted: My education accomplishments are my greatest success in life. This has certainly paved the way for me to achieve other levels of success especially in molding eager minds for a better tomorrow. I am happy with what I do. My advice to young women is to find your niche be it "the pine on the hill" or the "scrub in the valley" as long as it makes you happy.
Question 10: How are you empowering young girls and women in your environment?
First by challenging them to not accept mediocrity as a goal, but to persevere. Second, I counsel young women to respect themselves and carry themselves with dignity. Most importantly, I encourage young women to use their educational opportunities wisely. Education is not to be taken for granted. Instead, it is fundamental cornerstone for both independence and nation building efforts.