This month, OECS YES In Action caught up with Lorine Bozin, a Martinican leading a youth empowerment network and paving the way for others to follow in her footsteps!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am from Martinique and I grew up in Paris. I completed my first degree at a preparatory class in the Grandes Écoles, in Economics and Business, then joined a business school and earned a Masters in Management with a double specialization in Digital Projects Management and International Relations. I studied for a long time because I found my academic adventure to be very positive. The support and kindness of my teachers allowed me to reach my full potential. Today, I work for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Haiti.
When did you first notice your inclination towards leadership and entrepreneurship?
I was a business school senior, and I had applied for a leadership program initiated by Sophie Elizeon, former Delegate to the Inter-Ministerial Delegation for Equal Opportunities of French Overseas, the Give1project Association founded by Thione NIANG and the Jeunesse Outre Mer Network co-founded by Loïc ISCAYES and Myriam HEINZ. From that moment, everything changed. I won the leadership program, which I completed in New York with the Caribbean Tourism Organization, and I ended up joining Jeunesse Outre Mer (JOM) network, the first Francophone Caribbean (and Overseas) Young Professional Network, starting as a writer for www.jeunesseoutremer.org, then as Communications Manager, and today as General Secretary and Co-director.
I was attracted by the idea of tourism overseas and in the Caribbean. Indeed, my first experiences were in the New York office of the Caribbean Tourism Organization, then Accorhotels (a leading hotel group in Europe) in French Polynesia (Tahiti), and later in Paris. I held the position of Marketing and Communications Assistant, then Web Project Manager. These enriching experiences allowed me to develop skills in Marketing and Communication Project Management, specifically for these destinations.
The various missions that I realized within the Jeunesse Outre Mer (JOM), such as international relations; partnerships; events; programs; and communications strategies, nurtured an appetite for the creation of programs and activities regarding Training, Employment and Education for young people in our territories.
What inspired you to start the Edu-carib program?
What inspired me to start the development of the Edu-carib program was essentially the lack of information on existing educational programs and trainings based in the Caribbean basin.
When I was younger and I was interested in pursuing university studies in the Caribbean I faced some barriers as the information online was so scarce. No platform listed, in a structured way, the training by specialty that was available in Caribbean educational establishments. It is from this experience that the Edu-carib project was born. This platform allows students wishing to pursue their studies in the Caribbean Basin to have a global platform, easy to use, where they will find practical information about the training available in the region. Edu-carib.com offers a range of practical information and everything you need to pursue your dream studies in the Caribbean!
The Caribbean is often approached from a folkloric angle - coconut palms, turquoise waters, fine sand and carnival – but it is also distinguished by its high academic potential. The integration of the University of West Indies into the 2019 Time’s World Ranking of Higher Education Universities, or the repute of medical science education in Cuba, exemplifies the quality of Caribbean higher education.
What obstacles, if any, did you face at the start and how did you overcome them?
The biggest difficulty was the financial aspect. My studies were particularly expensive and I had to combine several small jobs to make ends meet.
However, this hardship taught me a lot because, given the intensity of the workload I was faced with, I became used to juggling between different activities.
Today, I have the ability to work regardless of the workload and the diversity of my missions.
Tell us about the journey from the first spark of interest to your current position today.
After obtaining my Master's degree in Management with a double specialization in Management of Digital Projects and International Relations, I performed my first mission in French Polynesia in Marketing and Communication with a large hotel group. After this, I had a rich experience in Paris, and then joined the Communication and Media team of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) in Trinidad and Tobago. Following these enriching experiences abroad, I took a liking to the Caribbean’s institutional universe and journeyed to Haiti for a mission in Media Cooperation and Audiovisual Project Management with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Along with these professional activities, I am Secretary General and Co-Operational Director of the first Francophone (and Overseas) Caribbean Youth Professional Network: 𝗟𝗲 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗲𝗮𝘂 𝗝𝗲𝘂𝗻𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗲 𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗿𝗲 𝗠𝗲𝗿 (JOM). And the founder of the edu-carib.com platform, a career guidance website for high school students, future students and young professionals looking for training in the Caribbean basin.
What would you consider to be your biggest challenge along the way?
My real challenge was not to lose sight of my goal. Faced with the difficulties mentioned above, several times I was tempted to choose a different path in an effort to lessen fees, such as carrying out national internships to avoid the extra cost of travel.
For years, I had to face challenges to remain true to the path I had chosen and not turn away from it.
Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of?
The contribution I am most proud of is the press conference organized by JOM with the former Minister of Overseas Territories, Georges Pau-Langevin. It was a very good experience and an excellent opportunity to network. We met with young people, partners, institutions and key actors for Youth Employment. Carrying out a project of this magnitude, participating in the management of teams so different and so far apart, geographically speaking, is a real pride for me today.
What would you say most motivates you to do what you do?
What motivates me the most is to perform actions that will reverberate beyond the immediate impact they have. My usefulness, the fact that I can bring my personal touch and my added value.
Participating in the outreach of our territories on themes where there is a need is also a source of motivation. I am motivated by the possibility of being a part of meaningful research and practice, which has the ability to positively change the lives of many.
What are the goals you most want to accomplish in the future?
I would like to achieve several goals, at a professional and associative level: by contributing and participating in the development of JOM Network as a reference in terms of professional integration for overseas and French Caribbean islands' youth and institutions; and entrepreneurial: by continuing to develop qualitative, useful and effective platforms for young people and by participating in the enhancement of the Caribbean through educational offers. I have always wanted to promote this region and contribute to its development, why not encourage a form of tourism through training programs?
Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced your journey?
My mentors are truly people I interact with on a daily basis.
First, my family: my grandmother who conveys so much wisdom, tolerance and understanding, flexibility and kindness; and my mother in relation to her resistance, dynamism and strength.
The JOM network has also strongly impacted my activities. It has been an extraordinary adventure. I would particularly mention Loïc and Myriam, the co-founders, to whom I will always be grateful for their advice, support and trust. In the same vein, there is Lovely, co-director, beyond all the support that she has given me; her perseverance, her maturity, her benevolence and her wisdom have taught me tremendously. She is a real source of energy and inspiration.
What advice do you have for other Caribbean youth aspiring to get involved in your chosen field?
My advice to young people would be:
- not to neglect the power of associative engagement; it can confirm or deny a course of action
- to work hard because it always ends up paying off
- to verbalize and record your objectives by drawing up a plan; it is important to be aware of your goals and choices
- to show creativity and innovation: bringing value to our actions gives them a singularity that allows a totally different result
- to encourage complementarity and partnerships
What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to?
I wish to continue my professional activities in communication for institutions or national, regional or international organizations; to get closer to these different territories and in parallel to continue my associative actions.
Of course, I also plan to continue on my entrepreneurial path, especially with the development of my first platform, www.edu-carib.com.
The truth is, having professional experiences in these different countries was not the hardest part; leaving them was. For Trinidad, it was very difficult to leave the country because it was a great experience both professionally and at the human level. Similarly, my experience in Haiti today, I know it will be painful to leave this beautiful country with its immense cultural wealth.
In the Caribbean region, there are beautiful experiences to live. Often, we think that our territories are small, that there is not much to discover and do ... It is a myth or an ideology to debunk! These experiences have brought me professional and personal wealth. There are many opportunities to seize and to create!
OECS YES In Action seeks to recognise inspirational young persons on the path to great achievements and serves as a complement to the OECS Feature Series, which highlights the accomplishments of consummate professionals from the OECS Member States within the region and in the Diaspora.