Jobs And Careers - Career Hall Of Fame

Dr. Shirley Thompson

Internationally acclaimed Composer, Conductor and University Lecturer, Dr. Shirley Thompson, was the Keynote speaker at Careers and Lifestyles Expo/Symposium 2008.  Dr. Thompson was invited to the island, from London where she resides to share her exciting and inspiring story of success at the event, which atttracted hundreds of participants.

The eldest daughter of Jamaican parents, who migrated to the UK, Dr. Thompson, began her musical odyssey by playing the violin for different youth orchestras and choral groups. She studied music at the University of Liverpool and specialized in composition at Goldsmiths’ College in London.  She gained her first major commission from the Greenwich International Festival, with a work entitled “Visions” and has since composed themes for film, opera, contemporary dance, ballet, orchestra  and television.

Her career has taken her to world-class heights and she has gained the reputation for being one of the most “original and gifted composers to emerge in contemporary Britain,  the first British woman to have composed a symphony in 30 years and the first black woman ever to do so” Her most recent orchestral work “New Nation Rising, A 21st Century Symphony” (which was commissioned as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Festival) was recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and was hailed as a ground-breaking epic.

Dr. Thompson has written other major compositions, which have won her international recognition and acclaim. In 1990, her theme for the BBC Drama, South Of the Border, won her Top Television Music Theme, and her theme for the Channel 4 film, Dreaming Rivers, won a prize at the Mannheim Film Festival. Her Opera, A Child of the Jago, won her a Woman of the Year Award for her contribution to the Arts. Her score for the internationally acclaimed production PUSH, performed by world famous stars of the contemporary dance world, Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant, won the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award and the South Bank Award.

As Britain projects its plans for the next Olympic Games in 2012, Dr. Shirley Thompson has been tipped as a strong contender among other famous composers to write the music for the Olympic Theme.

Dr Thompson was the keynote speaker at Careers And Lifestyles Expo/Symposium 2008, which is an annnual calendar event held by Hamilton Knight Associates Limited, which attracts hundreds of participants as well as thousand of Jamaicans through the media. Prior to the event Dr Thompson was also honoured in a special Awards luncheon, organised by Hamilton Knight Associates Limited, under the patronage of the Mayor  of Kingston, His Worship, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, CD., JP.   Leaders and luminaries from the public and private sectors, as well as cultural ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps, CEO's, artists, members of the media, family and fans attened the luncheon.

Managing Director of Hamilton Knight Associates Limited, Mrs. Gillian Rowlands read the citation to Dr. Thompson and inducted her into the HKA Career Hall of Fame. She was presented with a special award designed by artist Evarard Powell, as well as a painting to commemorate the event. Award winning artist Cedric Hanson presented her with one of his special carvings. Mrs. Ruby Martin, OJ and Chairman of The Ward Theatre Foundation delivered the vote of thanks and expressed her appreciation  for the proceeeds of the luncheon, which were donated towards restoration of the Ward Theatre. (see photos of the function)

 Updates on Dr. Thompson's career and achivements

Barack  Obama: 100 days.

Internationally accaimed Composer Dr. Shirley Thompson, in collaboraion with Ziauddin Sardar, author of the book "Will  America Change?" and Amina Adewus, a young, London based, political activist, recently paid tribute to Barack Obama in a special cultural event, which marked his first 100 days in office.  The group consider Barack's presidency the most culturally significant change in modern history.

Dr. Thompson, whose work often relects social and political themes  created four new pieces for the occasion, including one entitled "Voices of Change", which was intercut with video footage of Barack Obama.

Dr. Thompson will be visiting Jamaica in the summer and is eagerly awaited by her family, friends and fans.


Dr. Paula Frederika Tennant

Dr. Paula Fredericka Tennant, Scientist, Botanist, Plant-Biotechnologist and a Senior Lecturer in Life Sciences in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences at the University of the West Indies, Mona, we salute and honor you this afternoon as we induct you into the HKA Career Hall of Fame in recognition of your outstanding work as an internationally recognized scientist and plant biotechnologist.

Dr. Paula Tennant you have demonstrated that even small countries like Jamaica, with limited resources, can produce scientists of world class stature, with the brain power, scientific acumen and a sense of social responsibility to make a significant impact. We proudly honour you as a role model of excellence to inspire generations of young, gifted Jamaican scientists and pioneers.  Permit us therefore to trace and recognise your work and accomplishments.

A graduate of the University of the West Indies, with a Bachelor of Science Degree, you also received a Doctor of  Philosophy Degree from Cornell University and distinguished yourself in scientific research and application.

As a botanist, and contemporary scientist, you became the first person in the Caribbean to develop a bio-engineered product in the form of a transgenic strain of papaya (or paw-paw, as it is known in Jamaica). You also developed a new strain of the fruit with excellent commercial properties, thereby making significant contributions to Jamaica’s agricultural progress.  The application of your scientific methods has helped to protect and improve the cultivation of the papaya fruit, which has become one of Jamaica’s main crops, with exports exceeding six million ( US 6 million ) US Dollars each year.

You  embarked on a career in science, after a summer job in the Botany Laboratory at the UWI Mona Campus, which coincided with the outbreak of a new pawpaw disease in 1990 (called Ring Spot) which was wiping out overseas cultivations and which soon spread to Jamaica.

When the pawpaw disease broke out, a consultant from Cornell University visited Jamaica to make recommendations. He revealed that the disease was caused by a virus, which appeared different to those known in other countries and noted that treatment would be determined by the type and characteristics of the virus.

Dr. Tennant, you not only took up the challenge to research the Jamaican virus but worked with great diligence and determination to identify its characteristics.  Through your careful study and application of scientific methods in bio-engineering and genetics you saved the Jamaican paw-paw industry

You continue to make a valuable contribution to Jamaica’s agro-industry and the international scientific community.  Indeed your work has positioned Jamaica as a leading producer of successful strains of paw-paw, which facilitates financially rewarding export opportunities, generates valuable foreign exchange earnings and creates much needed employment.

Your current research projects include risk assessment of genetically modified papaya and the pathology of citrus diseases.  In addition your research interests focus on the recombinant DNA technology and conventional methods for the detection of plant pathogens and evaluation of disease resistant varieties.  You have also authored over 13 peer reviewed papers and 2 book chapters in the field of plant biotechnology.

Your work and outstanding achievements have been recognized both locally and internationally.  In 1996 you were honoured by the Scientific Research Council and the Shell Company as the “Young Scientist of the Year”.   In 2001 you were the recipient of the Young Agriculturist award form the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on the Caribbean Agriculture (IICA)

Your professional associations and membership include the Caribbean Academy of Sciences, the Jamaican Society of Scientists and Technologists and the American Psychopathological Society.

As a scientific pioneer and successful researcher you inspire us to dedicate more time and resources to scientific research and development and to recognise their value to national development and economic growth. We salute your outstanding achievements and valuable scientific work   as we proudly induct you in our Career Hall of Fame on this day Wednesday, 17th November, 2010.


Mr. Orrett Rhoden


Orrett Rhoden, internationally acclaimed concert pianist, classical artist and virtuoso we salute and honour you this afternoon as we induct you into the HKA Career Hall of Fame, in recognition of your outstanding talent and  contribution to the arts both locally and internationally.

 You found the joy of music and your special endowment as a gifted pianist at a tender age.  By eight years old, you appeared on local television, and were hailed as child prodigy.  As we trace your outstanding career, we find that the precocious talent of your childhood grew into your own unique style and flair for original interpretation and masterful performances.

Under the careful tutelage and guidance of Jamaica’s Rita Coore and international mentors including Maxine Franklin, Dr.Virginia Gene Rittenhause, Rosalyn Tureck, Nina Svetlanova and Andrew Esterhazy, your talent blossomed and found expression on the world stage.

At the age of twenty-two after performing for her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, who were visiting Jamaica, you were discovered by BBC producer Jenny Barraclough and were subsequently booked to perform with the London Symphony Orchestra.

On November 9, 1984 you made your orchestral debut playing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 at the Barbican in London.  You later made your solo debut recital at the Stern Auditorium/Prelman stage at Carnegie Hall in New York.  Since then you have performed in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Mexico, France, Spain and Italy and was invited to perform at an all-Chopin recital at the composer’s birthplace in Zelaazowa Poland.

In the delivery of your art you have displayed world class talent and made Jamaica proud.  Your piano recitals have met with widespread acclaim in the prestigious concert halls of Europe and the United States and in your performances with world class conductors such as Harry Levinson and Claudio Abbado.

Your most recent performances at Carnegie Hall in October 2009 and at the Kennedy Centre in Washington in September 2010 delighted audience and received standing ovations.

You have been recognised, awarded and applauded by arbiters of talent and excellence at home and abroad. You received the award for outstanding achievements in music from the Prime Minister of Jamaica and was invited to make appearances, twice, on the Joan Rivers Show in Hollywood and other talk shows throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. 

We salute your outstanding achievements as a concert pianist, classical artist, virtuoso and cultural ambassador for Jamaica, as we proudly induct you in our Career Hall of Fame on this day Wednesday, 17th November, 2010.


Mrs. Margaret Brissett-Bolt

Mrs. Margaret Brisset-Bolt, Educator, Transformational Leader and visionary woman of excellence and spiritual strength. Distinguished daughter of Jamaica, mother and mentor.   We salute and honour you this afternoon as we induct you into the HKA Career Hall of Fame, in recognition of your outstanding contribuition to education in Jamaica and your successful work and role as a Principal, Teacher and Transformational Leader.

Your vision, faith and love changed the lives of the students and parents of the St. Peter Claver School and inspired a whole community to reach for excellence and success. We continue to be inspired by your life and work and today we take time to recall and recognise with pride your achievements and contribution to Jamaica and the world.

You pioneered the Change from Within” programme initiated by the late Sir Phillip Sherlock and was instrumental in turning around the academic performance of the St Peter Claver School.   Students, faculty, parents and the surrounding community experienced the effects of your transformational leadership, which took the school from a failing institution to one which ranks amongst the top primary schools in Jamaica.

Indeed you walked into the St. Peter Claver School and unearthed the richness of the human spirit and potential in your students, where many others saw only poverty, failure and despair. You empowered your students with kindness, love and dedication and built their self-esteem and self-image.

You taught students, parents and members of your faculty to dream dreams which transcended social and economic limitations and inspired their vision of a bigger, richer life in which there were no borders dividing up town and downtown or the inner city in relation to the wider Jamaica.  Then you taught them how to walk the journey to success, opened their eyes to possibilities and opportunities, stimulated their interest, focused their minds and evoked their passion for learning, succeeding and bringing out the best in themselves.

The rest is history.  All this is captured in a documentary, produced by Canadians under the theme “Change from Within” which serves to inspire educators and human resource development practitioners across Jamaica and the world.

Mrs. Margaret Brisset-Bolt we trace your journey as a distinguished educator, which started after leaving St. Joseph’s Teachers’ College at the age of 19 to teach Mathematics.  You embarked on your outstanding career as a qualified educator with a Master of Science Degree in Human Resource Development and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theology and Financial Accounting from the University of The West Indies, as well as a Diploma in School Administration from Mt St. Vincent University.

After Hurricane Gilbert you took the post of Principal of St. Peter Claver Primary School and excelled as Principal, Administrator, Counsellor, mother, friend and community developer.   Currently employed to the Ministry of Education, you lead the Behaviour Change and Community Work Stream and have recently been appointed as the coordinator of the Citizenship Education.  You have worked as coordinator of the Inner City School Improvement Project and represented Jamaica at international conferences and the Education Labour Relations Conference in South Africa in 2006.

Your outstanding work has been recognized both locally and internationally. Among your prestigious awards are the Prime Minister’s Award for Service to Education and theFulbright Research Scholarship.  While on scholarship you researched subjects important to Jamaica’s development and explored issues on educational development in developing countries and youth at risk. All this has been with the aim to serve your country and lend to the body of expertise needed to lift Jamaica’s youth and to strengthen the citizenry and educational level of your country.

We salute your outstanding achievements in education, your work and accomplishments as an exemplary transformational leader, as we proudly induct you in our Career Hall of Fame on this day Wednesday, 17th November, 2010.


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