With Lisandra Rickards stepping into the role of CEO last December, 2017 is poised to be a transformational one for the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship - Caribbean (BCoEC).

Lisandra is a petite ball of calm, determined energy, focused on impact, expansion and innovation. Her mission is purpose-driven. She’s a change-maker and a doer, adamant about playing a role in shifting the trajectory of the Caribbean’s economic development by empowering stellar young entrepreneurs, helping them harness and actualise their potential for greatness.

At only 32, Lisandra has graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA, held executive posts at major corporations in Jamaica and the US, been a consultant for the Jamaican government and is now at the helm of BCoEC, noted as a trailblazing accelerator that has made an unprecedented impact on the region’s entrepreneurial landscape. Undoubtedly, her professional journey has helped her develop the skills and know-how as both a leader and a manager to take BCoEC to the next level. 

Virgin Unite, Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, Caribbean,  Lisandra Rickards

A major turning point for Lisandra resulted in a shift of perspective towards work, after her non-stop, hardcore work ethic began to take a toll on her health. Eventually, she redefined her working style, replacing it with one that helps keep her energy tank filled and her productivity level soaring.

Lisandra believes that as a service-based business, the most important turning point ahead is people-centred

“In order to be efficient and have maximum output, I have to make sure that my stress is managed, which means I’m getting a full eight hours of sleep. I also make time to eat healthily and work out, because if I don’t then I won’t be able to work well. On the other hand, in order to create the space to have this balance, I have to be efficient while at work. I try to block out chunks of time for focused work without interruption, and block out other times where I’m doing calls and meetings.” Lisandra hopes to incorporate this approach into the BCoEC culture. “We have a heavy workload at the Centre, serving 100 entrepreneurs across two countries. My hope is that everyone on the team can maximise their output during a regular working day in order to create the time to lead a full, balanced life outside the office.”  

Virgin Unite, Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, Caribbean, Lisandra Rickards

Lisandra is committed to further developing the BCoEC team, channelling each person’s strengths to create a savvy, high-capacity group comprised of innovative, initiative-takers, who manage their time optimally and produce high quality output. By maximising team member’s potential, she aims to minimise stress and the regularity of extended work hours, while supporting creative thinking, cutting-edge approaches, leadership and a healthy work-life balance.

Virgin Unite, Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, Caribbean, Lisandra Rickards

This mission of excellence extends beyond BCoEC’s internal team to the entrepreneurs it engages in its programme. “We will be even more focused on supporting, to our greatest capacity, high-potential entrepreneurs who take ownership of their visions, and are extremely active and energetic”, Lisandra explains.

Though she will be implementing changes to BCoEC’s strategic activities, Lisandra believes that as a service-based business, the most important turning point ahead is people-centred. Her aim is to become more acutely purposeful in positioning BCoEC as a hub of people who are savvy and equipped to change the world – both internally and through the entrepreneurs it works with. The ultimate intention is to sustain the ripple effect that extends beyond BCoEC’s immediate reach to bring forth positive social and economic change throughout the region and beyond.

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