Kendra Stephen: The Community Woman
Amazing Dominican. By Andrea Louis
Football, fishing, politics, or pageantry. You name it, she's in it.
Kendra Stephen of Newtown is the true definition of a community woman as she seeks to have a positive impact on those around her.
"From since I know myself growing up I have always been involved in community work," she recalled. "Even if it's to clean the roadside, plant a tree, visit the elderly, or participate in church activities."
There is proof of Kendra's involvement in just about every association in her community. She has been a member of the Charlotteville Development Committee, The Newtown Fisheries Cooperative, Junior Chamber International (JCI), and the Rotaract Club. There's also the Brownies and Girl Guide Movement, just to name a few.
Today, Kendra sits on the board of the National Association of Fisherfolk Cooperative Societies Ltd (NAFCOOP), the Kai Peh Development Cooperation (a football body in Newtown), the Alternative People's Party (APP), and the Cycling and Basketball Association.
Currently, she is employed as a sales and marketing officer at A.C. Shillingford and Company Limited where she brought along her organizational skills and people-friendly personality.
"Even at work, anywhere I work I get involved as well," she chuckled. "If it's something to do with the staff I would get involved with planning and executing."
Before she was employed at AC Shillingford, Stephen worked at the National Bank of Dominica (NBD) where she began paralegal studies. However, her love of numbers and solving equations led her to start pursuing a Bachelor's degree in accounting with The University of the West Indies, UWI.
But just how does this 37-year-old mother of two juggle work, community projects, pursuing a degree, and home life?
"I can handle everything," she says. Kendra never bites off more than she can chew.
There is something about Kendra's nature that draws people to her and makes her stand out as one you want on your team.
"Personally speaking, when I get involved in something I like to get it done in entirety. Sometimes if I need help I'm not ashamed to ask for help, but I want to get it done."
Having been involved in so many groups, Kendra was asked to pinpoint some of her most memorable experiences. She replied: "In all of my groups I learned something. It is self-development and I like to develop myself. Anything that is beneficial to me that can help me, in the long run, I get involved in."
Her desire to make a positive difference in the lives of people around her influenced her into joining Dominica's youngest political party the APP, and spearhead its finances branch. She believes there needs to be a fairer system so that all can benefit.
"We're supposed to look for something fitting so that everybody shall get a piece of the pie," Kendra said. "At least on a community level then the community develops then all can benefit from what is expected."
This friendly, outgoing, people person who also participated in the Miss Dominica pageant and the Mother's Queen Show, is encouraging young people to get involved in the development of their community.
"It is not beneficial to one individual, it is beneficial to the community on a whole," she pointed out. "And it gives you a sense of accomplishment as well, it gives you a fulfilling feeling that you helped your community and you helped yourself as well."
Kendra's long-term goal is to make a significant positive change in her community. Ideally, she would like to do something like an adult education centre in the community to help youth and adults with skills development. An after-school-care programme in Newtown is also something she would like to see become a reality.
"I love to see young people grow. So that's my other motivation, to help the youth to reach their full capacity," she said.