“Rend your heart and not your garments.  Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity” – Joel 2:13

We at the Barbados branch of the CBET family are now immersed, on a day to day basis, in the “shepherding” field of energy and information.  (1) A field which pits youth against experience; (2) a field which witnesses and addresses a shift in the marketing paradigm; (3) a field which nurtures the transition along the discovery spectrum from data to wisdom; (4) a field which spans the technology divide; and (5) a field where unbridled passion is tempered by the sobriety of understanding; (6) a field where risk-averse and risk-prone strategies are rationalised; (7) a field where smart partnerships realise the impossible dream;  (8) a field where the rate of failure is converted to success; (9) a field where enterprise development and venture capital form an indelible union; and (10) a field where our egos are suppressed as we understand the meaning of “it is sometimes better to be a small fish in a big pond, than to be a big fish in a small pond”.

We have also witnessed the potential for further metamorphosis.  “Shepherding” is (11) a field where we learn to practise the axiom “Start small; do it right; make a profit; then expand”; (12) a field where greed gives way to sustainability;  (13) a field where we recognise that today’s child is tomorrow’s leader;  (14) a field where we learn quickly that there are no new ideas under the sun – the secret is how you package them; (15) a field where behaviour patterns of self confidence bordering on arrogance are slowly shifted to recognition and respect; (16) a field where the quest for upside potential is fostered by the management of downside risks; (17) a field where we understand that the power of the global market can fulfil all realisable dreams; (18) a field where we recognise that unity is strength; (19) a field where synergy and success are faithful partners; (20) a field where we accept the truth that the only way to achieve JOY in life is to put Jesus first, followed by Others and then Yourself.

Not only are these occurrences evident in the CBET family but I have also experienced them in the Rotary International fraternity and in the series of events which constitute the Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism (CMEx).  In particular, I have keenly observed two important phenomena: (1) the interaction between youth and experience which has led me to the conclusion that the future is in good hands; and (2) the almost surreptitious advance of the youth in effecting a new marketing paradigm.

On a daily basis I deal with entrepreneurs, many of  whom are four decades my junior.  They are warming to the shepherding experience and in fact recognize the value of the smart partnership which has been spawned. In Rotary, in the same way that women were admitted into Rotary which was previously a male domain, in our Rotary Club we have now invited well trained young professionals men and women to provide some diversity and energy into a club whose average age was inevitably on the increase.  I observe too that, relatively speaking, such an intrusion of younger members is also necessary in the Barbados Association of Retired of Persons (BARP) whose membership threshold is 50 years of age.

This inclusion of the youth in what is normally the domain for more experienced professionals has a bi-directional benefit.  On the one hand one learns from the youth and on the other hand the youth short circuits their experience gap which augurs well for succession planning.

Another experience is the Youth Arm at CMEx. CMEx, which has been managed by Bevan Springer since the Fall of 2001, is about to embark on the 18th session in early December 2009. I am always amazed at the confidence and articulation of these youngsters which again confirms that the future of our region is in good hands.

Many fields of endeavour have been rapidly changing over the past two decades, not the least of which has been the approach to marketing from Marketing 1.0. We have witnessed the advent of Social Marketing which has been facilitated by the advance of New Marketing techniques e.g. Web 2.0 (Facebook, Twitter and the like). Rather than dictating the way that information is to be conveyed from the top-down, professionals have been mastering the New Media tools to listen to the needs and desires of the target audience themselves, and to build a marketing programme from there. This renewed focus on the “consumer” involves in-depth research and constant re-evaluation of every aspect of the programme. In fact, research and evaluation together form the very cornerstone of the social marketing process but is facilitated b the advances in technology.

The young minds tend to grasp the technological innovations very readily and that is where the new marketing techniques are emerging.

In any case, retirement is a word which is not well defined in my vocabulary and in response to comments from others who have already retired, some of them say they enjoy it, I am happy to have chosen the field of consultancy where I can remain can in touch with the younger generation of professionals and can embark on a smooth and seamless transition from a structured environment to a virtual environment.