Eleven years ago, Genevieve Jodhan was a successful consultant, respected by her peers, at the top of her game. And she decided to reinvent herself. She closed her business, packed her bags, gathered her family and headed for Bedfordshire in England. Her destination was Cranfield University, and her goal was to excel.
Cranfield is Europe’s top school for logistics and supply chain management, and its graduates are in high demand all over the world. It’s also a largely male environment. “I read for my Msc in Logistics and Supply Chain Management,” says Jodhan, “and I would say of the 44 students, more than 80 per cent were male… engineers mostly. This is not a female field! At 41 I was also the oldest woman in the cohort.” She graduated with top honours, winning the prize for most outstanding student.
Jodhan was offered her choice of jobs in the UK but she has a deep-seated belief in Trinidad and Tobago, and she wanted to come home. “I had a very specific idea of what I wanted to do,” she says, “and I decided that Angostura was the right fit. So I approached them with consulting in mind. But they saw it differently—they insisted that they wanted me on board full time.”
Since then, she’s worked at all levels of the company, most recently at the helm of international sales and marketing. A decade later and once again, Jodhan is at the top of her game: the first female chief executive officer of angostura in the company’s nearly 200-year history. “I was born in a village in south Trinidad called Jordan Hill. Right in the heart of the sugar belt,” says GenevieveJodhan shares., “We came from modest beginnings, but I was surrounded by these amazing women — my mother, my grandmother, my aunts — who somehow made sure I never wanted for anything.
Reflecting on beingAs a young woman, JodhanGenevieve says, she “I lived a lot inside of my own head. I was always, always reading. Lots of history. I explored whole worlds in my mind.” But she looked up long enough to make friends with whom she remains close to this day: “I am lucky to have an inner circle of female friends who I trust absolutely, they are my support system and I’m utterly loyal to them.”
“My mother, my teachers, my friends, they all told me I could do anything I wanted to do, t. That the only limits on my ability to achieve were the ones I imposed on myself. And I’ve learned over time to step away from the voices who tell you ‘you can’t…’.” Genevieve Jodhan has lived a life of firsts: At 3M, where she was the company’s first female Logistics Manager anywhere in the world; at Fertrin, where she began to see Trinidad and Tobago’s potential as a global player; at Cranfield, and now, at Angostura. She’s done it all while managing a family. “My entire family was always supportive of my career, but I don’t Gthink there’s any professional woman with children out there who doesn’t live with guilt.”
A Marian follower, she’s deeply grounded in her Catholic faith and spirituality. Often she seems a bundle of contradictions. She’s incredibly knowledgeable about history – her family’s and her country’s – but completely forward- thinking. Pragmatic, but deeply creative. Self-contained and reserved, she’s been known to break out into song, and she absolutely loves to dance!
One of her friends, who’s known JodhanGenevieve since she was a teenager, says,“I’m so proud of her. We talk about that glass ceiling but you know, that ceiling is concrete. It’s a remarkable achievement.” Genevieve Jodhan took her one match and blew that ceiling up.