Although she is where she has always wanted to be professionally, Maya Wiltshire is not one to be complacent.
In fact, almost daily the Director of C&W Business at Flow goes to work repeating the mantra: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”, hoping to make a huge difference in the lives of customers while thinking about how she could improve her professional life.
In her position, Wiltshire is responsible for leading the strategy and planning of the business arm of the telecoms company. She helps to drive the sales and sales engineering teams, which puts her in charge of close to 20 people.
Maya, who has been married for six and a half years, tells Barbados TODAY that striking the right balance between work and home can be very challenging at times.
“You must have that balance where you focus on yourself, your health and your family. For me, I would not say I am perfect at doing it. I am actually still learning how to get it done. My husband for sure is one aspect that I say I am very deliberate with, but exercise on the other hand is something I am still trying to fit in there,” she said amid laughter.
Maya is also a member of the Toastmasters Club and an active member of her church.
“There are so many different things I am a part of that trying to create that balance sometimes could be a bit challenging.”
She started her career with C&W in the Contact Centre as a customer service representative in 2002, and by 2005 she had moved to the sales department as a sales representative.
“In the Contact Centre . . . is where the foundation was, I would say, for me, because I would have worked at the bank before I moved to C&W. I said it was the foundation because it taught me all the foundation aspects of customer service, relationship management and that led me then into the area of sales. I was then able to put the knowledge in the Contact Centre into the sales role,” Maya explained.
Determined to continue to climb the corporate ladder, she quickly excelled in her field and was promoted to the position of Account Manager within the C&W Business Department, and soon after was elevated to the position of Manager of Strategic Sales, before becoming Director.
“So am I where I wanted to be? Definitely. I enjoy doing that, but in terms of progress you don’t stagnate. So although I am where I want to be, as I go further there is always something else to aim for,” said the former University of the West Indies honours graduate.
She said her mantra – a Bible verse – keeps her grounded and focused, “especially when things get a bit difficult in the work setting”.
“I would always go back to that, knowing that the Lord has equipped me and if he equipped me I can get this done,” Maya said, adding that she would also live by the saying “when people praise you don’t let it go to your head and when people criticize you don’t let it go to your heart”.
“That is something too that helps me in my work life.”
Besides making time for her husband, the former St Stephen’s Primary School and Frederick Smith Secondary School (formerly St James Secondary) student also carves out time in her busy schedule for other family members—watching a movie or two and reading.
She also finds time for more studies, as she is currently pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration from the Edinburgh Napier University.
Maya says her mother is her biggest cheerleader, her husband is her tower of strength, and her brother who now resides overseas is her biggest motivator.
The business executive said it was critical for young girls to surround themselves with positive role models and mentors. In fact, her wish for women in Barbados is for them to realize their full potential “and act on it”.
“It is really to show not only themselves but the world how much passion and how much power that we have to share with the world, and that we can show and give the world of ourselves,” she said.
“I am actually quite pleased with women in Barbados . . . . Even the recent achievements we are seeing in the [political] arena, even in our private sector, we are seeing a lot of female leaders.
“So I just want women to continue to drive and pursue that higher level, that role, and going after jobs that were predominantly male jobs. We are seeing a lot more of that and I would like to continue seeing that,” she said.
This year, International Women’s Day has the theme #PressforProgress, and for Maya, this means “not giving up”.
“This is really saying to me about not giving up. As women, we need to continue to press on and keep motivating each other and keep united. Those things to me are what come to my mind when I think about pressing for progress—seeing our women progress in society, staying motivated and not giving up and know that we all as women play an important part,” she explained.
Maya said she saw no area of work that females should not be involved in, adding that women always brought “uniqueness” and creativity to their profession.
“I am not saying that men are not creative, but there is a difference when a woman is involved in a particular role that she brings to that table; something she brings is quite different to the males,” she said.
Noting that more women were now involved in jobs that were once male dominated, Maya said it shows that “the society is opened and that we are not close-minded to women participating in what we would call traditional male roles”.
And while the charge is often levelled that women are not paid as well as their male counterparts, Maya questioned whether women themselves were not to be blamed in some instances.
“There are organizations I could speak of that females and males are paid similarly. Sometimes I wonder if it is a deliberate act or if it is a case of negotiation skills. Sometimes women might not ask for that particular pay that they want. They might not be as forceful to go after that particular pay. I don’t know enough to say it is an issue, but . . . in my own organization I have not seen issues where males and females are paid differently because of gender,” she explained.
Maya wants women around the world to, like her, find a mentor—someone who “has been there and done it successfully”.
“I have an experienced female mentor who has been successful in her family life and work life and that has been a great benefit for me. So I would encourage any young women out there to seek a mentor. We can’t do it on our own. Sometimes we feel as though we can – we are women and we are strong and can do everything on our own – but we actually need that mentorship to develop and bring out the qualities in us that are there,” she advised.
Maya also advised women to be willing to learn, adding that “the good advice you take and the other advice you know might not be so good you put that aside”.