Jodi-Ann Smith | Jamaica | MBA | University of British Columbia, Canada

When Jodi-Ann began her MBA program, she was on her way to fulfilling a dream that was ten years in the making. In 2006, she set a goal to complete a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), and began working towards that goal immediately by gaining work experience and saving all her earnings to put towards her education. Her hard work paid off when, in 2015, she was accepted to the University of British Columbia.

This was an incredible accomplishment for Jodi-Ann as many young people in Jamaica are denied access to quality education, which has led to the degeneration of society within the country. With high unemployment rates, youths who are qualified also find it very hard to tap into the labour force.

Prior to pursuing a graduate education, Jodi-Ann had spent four years working in Public Relations with the Government of Jamaica, and she was ready to expand her horizons and see the world. It took the leap of faith for Jodi-Ann to leave all that she had known behind to move to Canada and pursue an MBA at the prestigious Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Armed with determination, hope, and a small amount of funds, Jodi-Ann began her journey. She quickly found that it was difficult to afford tuition along with the high living costs in Vancouver. As she researched options for financial assistance, Jodi-Ann discovered the Spark of Hope Foundation. Through Narmin Ismail’s lobbying, she received a bursary for international students.

“The Spark of Hope Foundation indeed gave me hope to succeed as the scholarship I received enabled me to finish my MBA and to receive funding from the university as well.”

Receiving this scholarship inspired Jodi-Ann to work towards establishing a scholarship program in her home country of Jamaica aimed at giving young people access to a quality education while enabling their holistic development. A scholarship fund will enhance their opportunities, which can ultimately develop the society. She also aspires to apply her experience in media and communication, coupled with her MBA, to build a media empire centered on inspiring women to lead fulfilling lives.

by Marissa Pura