PATOO GAMECHANGERS | DANA MORRIS DIXON
Name: Dana Morris Dixon
Instagram Handle: iamdanadixon
Profession: Jack of all trades (currently: Business Executive)
Hometown: Kingston, Jamaica
Now Lives: Kingston, Jamaica
So we must admit that when we conceptualized the Patoo Gamechangers, we debated that the most difficult parts would be securing the interviews and what questions to ask – and with each interview we have been refining this process. When this Patoo Gamechanger, Dr. Dana Morris Dixon was suggested to us, we were a little hesitant because we didn’t think she would even have the time to sit with us. As a senior executive juggling her responsibilities at JNBS, a family, her role with the International Women’s Forum (IWF) and the conceptualizer for IamDana.com – her plate is pretty full. So we were thrilled when she sat down to lunch to share her story with us.
Here are just some of the things that this Renaissance woman has achieved in her short time in this world -- trained economist in economic development, international trade, Caribbean foreign policy, Chinese economic development, and international finance. *takes a breath* Former VP at the Jamaican state agency JAMPRO, advisor to Ministers of Government, former UWI lecturer, executive producer for the Portraits series about some of Jamaica’s successful women, and a Fulbright scholar to boot with a PhD.
Three words to describe your style?
Black & White
Your personality type is?
I am an introverted extrovert (told you I was a jack of all trades!) I love my own company, but I also really like interacting with people.
Your greatest skill is?
Getting things done.
How’d you get into your career?
I approach my career very different from most people. I don’t really see it as a linear trajectory. I am officially a political economist by training, but I have worked in academia, the public sector and the private sector and I believe that I did pretty well in all areas. I believe that I was able to cultivate a unique and diverse skillset through my education that I have had the privilege of leveraging in many areas. I have many interests and my career has allowed me to teach many courses at UWI, then to have a senior post in the public sector, and and now to work with one of the most dynamic conglomorates in the Caribbean in business development.
Do you have any tips for beginners?
I truly believe that you must be willing to go the extra mile. I have no problem working late, on weekends, while sick, on “vacation” etc., if necessary just to get the job done. It is important to know that the road to success will be difficult and that it only comes when you put in 100% of your effort. And even if you fail, you can take comfort in the fact that you gave it your best shot, and in many instances you’ve learned valuable lessons for the next task or job.
Jamaica feels like?
If you could speak any foreign language fluently enough to write poetry in, which language would it be?
What's your hidden talent?
Interior decorating. My name is Dana and I am an HGTV addict.
Who is the last person you texted?
My wonderful husband.
The person you admire most?
They are too many to just pick one…Obama, Mandela, Oprah.
If you could give advice to a younger version of yourself, what would it be?
Stop and breathe….It’s not that serious.
Your favorite type of artwork?
I’m a fan of art and one of my favourite things to do in any city is to visit any major art museum there. I tend towards more modern pieces, but my small collection is quite eclectic in its nature.
What’s your favorite app – facebook, instagram, pinterest, twitter, snapchat or periscope?
I am not the biggest fan of social media. I understand its power (see our last election) and I’m learning to use these means to connect more with people. If I have to choose, I would say twitter.
What do you dislike about your work?
Meetings that could have simply been emails.
Should the arts be funded?
Absolutely. I believe that the arts are a window into the soul of a culture or of a people. There are some things that are so fundamental and even priceless to a society, that the stewards of power must emphasize and support. The arts in mind is one of those priceless things that is important to the development of any country.
If you had to have a last meal, what would it be?
My grandmother’s stew peas.
Favorite hotel in the world?
Any hotel on the beach. I have a real connection with the sea.
Favorite Jamaican landmark?
It’s hard to pick one given all the beautiful churches and and natural attractions, but if I had to I would probably choose Devon House and the Holy Trinity Cathedral. Devon House is an oasis in the city and I love doing the tour given its history... the home of the first black Jamaican millionaire. The Holy Trinity Cathedral’s stained glass is absolutely beautiful and the restoration has been done so well. I loved it so much that I not only got married there, but did all of my wedding pictures in there.
What’s your favorite curse word?
I don’t curse. I sometimes think about it, but I am pretty good about walking away.
The thing you most value?
The most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
I’ve learnt many lessons from many people. If I am forced to choose a main one it would be, “Be Not Afraid.” It really is the mantra of my life and is a reminder of the fact that one of the main things standing in the way of many of things we want is fear. If I live in fear, I live an inauthentic and ordinary life. And I don’t want to live an ordinary life.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
If you had to live in any other Caribbean island other than Jamaica, which would it be?
Grand Cayman mainly because it is close to Jamaica and I have family and friends there.