Juliet Lakeman is still basking in her recent recognition as Civil Servant of the Year 2020. She is proud of receiving this honour after serving extensively in the public sector for over 30 years. “I am also very appreciative of the respect that I get from my colleagues because of the award,” Mrs Lakeman beams.
Her career began in the registry at the Ministry of Finance on a special project in November 1988. While there, she impressed her superiors and got a permanent position but she would later go on to work at the Ministry of Health at the Government Lab as a departmental assistant and then as a cashier. She spent seven and a half years at the Ministry of Health before joining the Office of the Prime Minister as a clerical officer.
As Mrs Lakeman sought to build her professional experience, an assignment to the then Ministry of National Security and Justice would help her to discover her calling as an HR professional.
“I went to the Ministry of National Security and Justice as Assistant Personnel Officer, where I was groomed, and realized that this is what I wanted to do, nurturing, coaching and seeing to people’s welfare,” Mrs Lakeman said adding that she was later promoted to Senior Personnel Officer. Her engagement in the field took her to other parts of the public sector such as the Supreme Court and Court Management Services.
She also enhanced her knowledge of HR by completing a
bachelor’s degree in Public Administration and Industrial Relations with a minor in Human Resources at the University of the West Indies.
Mrs Lakeman is now the
Director of Human Resource Management at the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information for the past three and a half years. She reflects on her growth and that of others she has interacted with: “I feel good to know that there are areas of growth for many of the persons who I have supervised over the years, and I am proud to know that some of them are now on the same professional level as I am, or even ahead of me. I am always happy for the growth and development of my team members, to see them advance to the point where I can recommend them to other places. It is a great feeling to know that you are a part of people’s growth and development.”
Additionally, she shares that the job “is not an easy road, as there are various personalities to deal with, but over time, I have grown and matured and learned how to have a hard shell.”
Mrs Lakeman is heartened by the evolution of the HR profession from a concentration on personnel matters to a more holistic approach to HR management and development. She believes that projects such as HR Shared Services and the roll-out of MyHR+, the integrated HR and payroll system will significantly improve the operations of HR departments and the services they provide to employees. Importantly for her, these initiatives "will help to ease the burden and help us to work smarter.”