Luana Laurent: Born to serve
"I live for service," profound words of dedicated service club member and financial wizard Luana Laurent.
Luana's interest in service started when she was younger. She joined the 4-H Club at Convent Prep, became a member of the Credit Unionette at Convent High School, and during college was a member and subsequent President of the Loubiere Young Catholics Organization (LYCO).
"I grew up knowing Dominicans are a giving people, no matter where we go in the world you will always find us willing to help. And I have tried to emanate that throughout my life," she said.
This love for serving others and having a positive impact on lives is reflected in the groups Luana belongs to. At present, she is a Director of the Rotary Club of Dominica (she was also its Treasurer), the Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce, and the Board of Governors of the Dominica State College. Luana also serves as Treasurer on the National Youth Council and assists the Rotaract Club of Roseau.
She has a special place in her heart for the country's youth, never passes up an opportunity to give advice.
"I don't neglect a chance to share a word on leadership and skill-building. So wherever you find the need for inspiration or motivation especially among the youth, you will find me saying a few words" Laurent said. Luana has the opportunity to observe young people and their responses to community service. She believes that while tools are in place to engage them, something needs to be done to stimulate their long-term interest in acts of service.
"I believe as a young adult you should extend your hand to serve or you should be called to serve. Because when the dust settles it comes down to how you contributed to life, Laurent said.
Outside of her life of service, Luana is well known for her prowess in the world of finance. Currently an examiner at the financial service Unit, she worked at the Inland Revenue Division for13 years prior. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and a Master's degree in International Finance.
Her interest in finance was sparked while at the Convent High School, though this passion simmered down for a few years.
"Some of my friends remember that I would stand next to the snack lady every break time and when they would buy pies from Debra, I would always be asking them for their contribution to put in their savings in the credit unionette," said Laurent
Luana wishes financial literacy was taught in schools to guide young people when they enter the wider world. Her toughest financial moments came while studying in Trinidad where she found herself stuck between a rock and a hard place.
"I had to restructure everything. I had to strategize, I had to un-learn and re-learn how to manage money. I sought advice, I read books. I really went through a point in time where it was 'figure it out so you don't have to call your parents every month end'," said Laurent.
When Luana returned to Dominica her passion for finance reignited which led her to form her own company.
"I realize I loved teaching, I love sharing information with people. l love seeing what I share with them make a change in their lives. So I started Finance Focus, " Laurent said.
Finance Focus, which turns five years this year, started as a hobby where she posted free financial tips to help people. To Luana's surprise, it resonated with several people and she realized 'wow, a lot of people need help'.
Moving forward, Luana plans to maintain an optimistic outlook on life and take the necessary steps to grow herself personally and professionally.
Her advice to the youth: "We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We should seek mentors and inspirational leaders and emanate them. If we do that consistently and stay focused, we will see a difference in our lives."