JOA names next cadre of Chef De Missions as it pushes diversification, equity and development

By Sports Desk February 05, 2022

In what could be seen as its clearest demonstration yet of its thrust towards equity, diversity and development, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has selected a list of Chef De Missions for next six major international campaigns.

Former national squash player Karen Anderson will lead Jamaica’s delegation to the 2022 Caribbean Games, Rudolph Speid takes Jamaica to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, Paulton Gordon will assume duties for the 2023 CAC Games while Nicole Grant Brown will be at the helm for the Pan Am Games.

Corporate Business Executive and Owner, Ian Kelly wears the hat of delegation leader for the Summer Olympics in Paris in 2024 while Businessman and Sports Administrator Gregory Moore takes the helm for the 2026 Winter Olympics.

This broad and varied selection exemplifies the JOA’s quest to bring a higher level of leadership across the spectrum of sports in Jamaica.

"The JOA will continue to not only professionalize the management of the Games under our remit but will continue to provide opportunities for our members to participate in the space and to make meaningful contributions to the Jamaican sporting arena,” said JOA General-Secretary Ryan Foster.

“We believe in providing an avenue for all as sport does not reside with one person or association but we all have our own contribution to make. The naming of the Chef de Missions for the various games is a broad representation of what we have articulated in our Sport for All campaign.

“We see the games as a critical part in the self-actualization of many in their quest for greatness but it is also one facet of how the JOA continues to support the growth and development of sport in Jamaica."

For Anderson, who has represented Jamaica in shooting and squash, her appointment is rewarding on several levels.

“It is a great honour to represent my country as the Chef De Mission for the Caribbean Games. I have represented Jamaica as a player, a referee, and coach at both Commonwealth Games and Pan American Games, so going into sports administration as the Chef De Mission for multi-sport games is almost a natural transition for me,” she said.

“I look forward to the challenge of it, the opportunity of it and it’s the first Caribbean Games so it’s an honour to be thought of to be considered and selected for that role.”

She was quick to point out that with herself and Nicole Grant being selected for similar roles over the next four years is a step forward to women, who have largely been overlooked for similar roles in previous years but who have now been given the opportunity to demonstrate that they are as equally capable to executing well in positions usually reserved for their male counterparts.

“I think it has just been opportunity and for women to be seen that we can do the job just as equally if not sometimes better than men. It’s great that the JOA is now putting women out there and giving us those opportunities to shine,” she said.

“We have the capacity to do it so it’s just a matter of being given an opportunity. This is a time when the JOA is stepping to the fore and saying here are these women, let’s give them the opportunity to lead on an international level, which I think is remarkable on their part.”

Paulton Gordon heads the Jamaica Basketball Association and has led the fraternity on several international campaigns. For him, this is yet another opportunity to grow and develop as an administrator as well as another feather in his cap on a personal level.

“I am elated to serve,” he said. “It will provide me with a more rounded view of the dynamics involved in a multi-sport, multi-cultural environment.  It will certainly broaden my knowledge base and competence in planning, organizing and the coordinating the participation of a large contingent at a major sporting event.”

More broadly, he said, “It provides an opportunity to further contribute to the development of sport and hone skills that require cultural adjustments based on the international nature of the appointment. Networking opportunities will emerge that will facilitate human resource growth and allow the sporting bodies to tap into opportunities regionally.”

Following on the heels of businessman and JOA director Gary Peart being named Chef De Mission for Jamaica’s successful and history-making campaign at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics in Japan in 2021, Ian Kelly, Derrimon Trading Chief Financial Officer and Director of many corporate boards, follows in a similar fashion for the Paris Games in 2026.

The JOA has continued to adopt a business approach to the execution of the games and Ian will bring not only his corporate expertise but also his knowledge of managing sport teams, the JOA said.

Similarly, President of Jamaica Esports Initiative, Gregory Moore cites his opportunity as one that will create synergies that will foster a changed mindset as it relates to sports in Jamaica.

“I am honoured to have been appointed Chef De Mission to the next staging of the Winter Olympics in Italy in 2026. I am a businessman and also the president of the Jamaica eSports Initiative, which is a federation under the JOA. We had taken a different approach towards getting that federation up and running.

“We decided to work on structure first so we spent the last two years with a structured approach, more administrative than just pushing the activity by itself.

“With this appointment, I intend to have the same approach because sports are a business and if you don’t treat it as such you won’t be able to facilitate expansion and I believe the JOA has shown that over the last few years taking that business-structured approach.”

The aforementioned approach, Moore believes, will help facilitate the kind of growth that the country will ultimately benefit from in that growth creates opportunities and those opportunities will continue to drive diversification and development.

“I know that the primary role is to ensure the welfare and the well-being of the team, so that will definitely come first, but I will be seeking opportunities for co-working and creating synergies between international entities and our local entities because that is what is going to create more synergies in Jamaica between federations, between organizations. I am just going to play my role, focus on the team and try to see where opportunities will come up for us to form some relationships to create synergies.”

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