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Sanya Goffe And Her Tips To Success

Sanya Goffe

Sanya was one of 25 global leaders selected from over 1,000 candidates from across the world to participate in the Fellowship Programme (Loop News, 2020). Goffe joins a network of Jamaican Eisenhower Fellows which include, Sandra Glasgow (2000), Dr Parris Lyew-Ayee Jr (2014), and Imani Duncan-Price (2018) (Jamaica Observer, 2020).  Sanya was gracious enough to share some of the tips that have helped her achieve success. 

One of the first things I noticed about Sanya is that she is a humble,  rootsy, and grounded individual. In our interview, she shared a number of professional development tips and hacks that everyone should know about and can easily adapt to their life. I would go a step further and say these are things to be aware of and reference in your cover letters or interviews especially when you are applying for jobs, scholarships, and fellowships.

Here are 9 hacks we ought to be aware of:

  1. Wear Different Hats

When asked to tell us about herself, Sanya quickly highlighted that she is a woman that has multiple roles, “I am a daughter, a mother, a wife, a sister and when I am not busy being awesome at those things, I am a lawyer…”. Sanya pointed out that each of these roles or different hats require a lot of time and attention. 

Listening to her, I realized how often we fail to factor in our personal life and the function of the roles we play. Diving in and reflecting on who we are is a great way of expressing our diverse experiences and individuality. Similarly, being involved in a number of external activities and roles such as being a member of a  company Board or Committee, positions you and separates you from the crowd.

  1. Integrate your Work and Life 

Instead of referring to work-life balance, Sanya considers “work-life integration” as her main focus which helps her to be in a state of peace and calm. According to Sanya, “the concept of work-life balance indicates equilibrium and how to keep things steady”, which has been impossible for her. Through her experiences, she has learned to prioritize, some days her family is the most important thing and other times she has to zone in on her work. 

As someone who finds multi-tasking challenging, I found her answer refreshing. Realistically for some of us, it is difficult to have a perfect work-life balance, so the idea of adapting and modulating based on our current needs and dynamic lifestyle is OK and pretty normal too. So the next time you are asked about multi-tasking, be honest (but diplomatic) in your answer and share how you juggle your own life demands.

  1. Make a Career Choice

As cliche as you may think it may sound, Sanya believes that “Law chose her” as her initial interests when graduating from Campion College, Jamaica, was in Economics. Given the limited options for scholarships to study in the UK, she set her sights on the University of West Indies, and based on her aptitude and subject preference she applied and was accepted in the Faculty of Law.

The key message here is to actively research and apply to the various opportunities that are open to you and by the process of elimination, things will eventually fall into place. Another way is to look at where your natural abilities and skills lie and look at the career prospects that are connected to your interests.

  1. Prepare, Practice and Build Skills

Sanya indicates that as a lawyer public speaking was not an innate ability she possessed. Rather she spent a lot of time preparing and practicing her speech. She says, “ I hope that I never get to a place where I become overconfident thinking that preparation is not necessary” and she emphatically states, “preparation is always necessary”. So let us make the time to put the effort in, prepare, practice, hone, and build our skills and craft which will eventually become easier with time.

  1. Bounce Back from Disappointments 

Bouncing back from our disappointments is easier said than done. Here Sanya unapologetically shares that she cries and keeps a “pity party” for a day or two, calls some friends or family.  She spends this time in prayer with God, being vulnerable, conveying her frustration, and reflecting and doing a self-analysis. Allow yourself time to explore your emotions in all its messiness, however, do not continuously obsess over it but instead close it out and move on whether it be the break up of a boyfriend or you didn’t get the call back for another job interview.

  1. Find your Passion and Network

Finding your passion and networking is a great way of connecting to untapped resources. Sanya’s work in corporate commercial law and the PIAJ- The Pension Industry Association of Jamaica, as well as starting her own charity with her husband and family-led non-profit organization Adult Learning Centre of Jamaica,  has enabled her to connect with other past Eisenhower Global Scholars who encouraged her to apply for the fellowship. Sanya shares that interested applicants should focus on a particular platform or program that will drive change and growth in their country.   Sanya’s focus for the Eisenhower Fellowship will be increasing the participation of low income and low wage earners in a sustainable pension arrangement, improving the retirement security arrangement in Jamaica in order to reduce old-age poverty. (See the entire interview here)

Eisenhower Fellowships are tailored for mid-career professionals, and allows participants to network and engage and learn from experts in their field. It identifies, empowers, and connects innovative leaders through a transformative fellowship experience and lifelong engagement in a global network of dynamic change agents committed to creating a world more peaceful and prosperous. (Click here to find out more details on this fellowship).

Networking in the right circles and asking pertinent questions are great ways to learn from others, more so,  learning about the pathways they pursued will open our mindsets and teach us how to access opportunities that we were perhaps unaware of.

  1. Be Inspired

We can be inspired by those around us, our family, and loved ones who create a structured environment for us. We also can be inspired by everyday people’s journey in overcoming their own life struggles to motivate us in our own personal experiences.

  1. Research and Identify Opportunities (Own your Next Step!)

In this current age, information is readily available at our fingertips. Take advantage of the resources, research, and identify opportunities to apply for scholarships, fellowships, and internships. Own your next step, seek an audience with those that can guide you in your career path.

  1. Be Gentle with Yourself !

Finally, Sanya encourages us to be gentle with ourselves. Avoid comparing yourself with others and setting unrealistic targets. This is something, I know I am personally guilty of, and only until recently, I have been learning to celebrate my small wins and understand that these are steps we take to get to our desired main goal. She strongly believes that the measure of success is not in awards, scholarships and the money we earn, while those things often make us feel validated, it’s more important that we slow down appreciate the blessings of where we are, and pace ourselves for the next phase.

There you have it, 9 solid tips that we can all take on board in our lives. It was great speaking with Sanya and learning about all the new development initiatives she is undertaking. 

We look forward to sharing more exciting stories from amazingly talented people just like you who are leaders and innovators in our everyday walk of life to inspire and motivate us.

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