Wednesday, 2 July 2014

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED: Heneka Watkis-Porter stands tall with brains and fearless ambition

BOLD TYPE: The go-getter, sporting one of her own designs, riffs on her journey to success.

Though on the surface her up-by-the-bootstraps success story screams self-made Jamaican woman, Heneka Watkis-Porter will be the first to tell you she got tonnes of help along the way. "You have to constantly stay motivated and read books that will inspire you. I like to listen to tapes, allowing myself to be inspired by other people because I can't do it alone," admits the thirty-something businesswomen, wife, future mom and now first-time author.

Her debut publication is the just-released 15 Hints for Entrepreneurial Success: Lessons from a Caribbean Business Woman (Author House Publishing). It's the kind of self-help read, the writer is hoping will help Jamaicans find their way in these times of challenge and change.

Having walked the walk with significantly impressive results, Heneka writes from a been-there done-that perspective. In fact, we consider her the archetypal Jamaican go-getter: street-savvy, driven and relentlessly productive. In the space of less than a decade, she's pushed herself to the point where her mark can be found in your closets (she's force behind Patwa Apparel), your kitchen (10 Fire Side condiments), the Jamaican airwaves (she hosts a pair of inspirational programmes) and now your bookshelf. 

But is becoming an author a career move she'd always wanted to make? "Yes," she responds emphatically, in between signing copies of Hints at her recent Kingston book launch. "When I was thinking of quitting my day job, actually writing was one of the first things that came to me, and I eventually did it. I wrote my first book." 

Making her contribution to Jamaica's literary culture is just the latest on a list of accomplishments that's nowhere near complete. Not by a long shot, as Heneka vows to continue surprising us with her bold business moves well into her next chapter and beyond. In fact, we are about to witness the second coming of Patwa Apparel, her celebration of our colourful island tongue through sporty-trendy daywear. "The line is actually at a stage where it needs to be moved from where it's at now," she informs TALLAWAH. "So I'm thinking of rebranding. There are a few rebranding efforts I'm thinking of for later in the year. So by August or so, people will definitely start to see some of the changes." 

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