ROCHELLE Cherisa Bunmi Cameron doubles over in laughter and flashes an ad-perfect smile as she repeats 'Bunmi'. "Yes, you heard correctly, I've been teased for years when people find out my middle name, but I own it. It's Yoruba and means 'my gift' or 'God gave me' — I'll be the best Bunmi I can be."
It's a pronouncement that's not to be taken lightly.
LIME's new head of Legal and Regulatory North and company secretary is pretty clear about why she was chosen.
"I have, for the past four years, been responsible for leading the legal and regulatory team that supports Jamaica, Cayman, the British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, Anguilla, St Kitts, Antigua and Montserrat," she says.
"Adding the role of corporate secretary was therefore a good fit as it facilitated not only a smooth transition but incorporates my compliance skills and experience."
But she is fully cognisant of the role played by those who preceded her.
"We've had some excellent company secretaries—- Clover Chung, Camille Facey and Kamina Johnson Smith... they have each contributed to what is now a well-oiled machine. I will be adding my own approach in an effort to make what is already very good even better."
Cameron's resolve can be traced back to St Mary, her holiday parish, where the balmy summer months were spent with her grandparents Kenneth and Esmie Hyatt.
"In Lucky Hill I was simply 'Miss Hyatt's granddaughter'. There was vacation Bible school, tin mackerel and rice for lunch, beach trips to Puerto Seco and 'tiefing out' to go catch janga at the river," she says.
"My grandmother's shop was a hub of activity — she was quite the mayor. People congregated on the piazza to discuss every facet of life. There is a sense of belonging that comes from having a 'country' to go back to. My roots keep me grounded and real."
Grounded and real she is, but mindful of her obligation to open doors for other young women even as she suppresses the voice of fear and insecurity that would challenge her right to climb the corporate ladder lest she be deemed "nuff" or "pushy".
"I have a right to be here, I was born for this. When we sit at the table we must be humble, we must be bold and we must be fearless," Cameron states as she references a recent read — 'The simple truth about how ordinary people accomplish outrageous feats of success is that they do the hard things that smarter, wealthier, more qualified people don't have the courage to do. Do the hard things; you might be surprised at how amazing you really are.'
The recent funerals of Madge Facey and Merle Brown left a profound impression on Cameron.
"These women were trailblazers, unsung heroes who charted paths. They are examples of the women who have helped to build the foundation for the opportunities we have today. As I listened to their stories, what was consistent was how much they have both done to open doors for other young women. I am obliged to always ask myself, 'Rochelle, have you walked through open doors and kicked them shut or have you kept them open?'"
There's little doubt that Cameron, whose career in law commenced in the criminal courts as clerk of courts for the parish of Trelawny and crown counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will be one to watch, not only as a Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards judge and member of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, but also as an avid runner.