by Howard Campbell
[SOUTH FLORIDA] – One of the popular faces in Jamaica’s South Florida community, Janice McIntosh came of age during the 1980s, a good time to be young in her homeland. It is a period when her creativity came to the fore.
For over 10 years, McIntosh was Chief Representative Officer at Jamaica National Building Society. She left in 2021 to become chief marketing officer at Blue Mahoe Capital, a private investment firm.
Born in Kingston, McIntosh developed a love for arts and culture in her youth. That appreciation in the 1970s for theater icons like Louise “Miss Lou” Bennett-Coverley, and Ranny Williams. Plus, Trevor Rhone (co-writer of The Harder They Come) inspired her creative spurt a decade later.
“In my formative years, the 1980s, this was the most exciting times of my childhood. I attended Immaculate Conception High (School) and lived in Orange Grove, St. Andrew. The musical influences were explosive as our own Jamaican entertainers were on the rise and we also had the influence of Motown and other artists permeating the social fabric of our youth,” McIntosh recalled. “From Bob Marley, Half Pint, Dennis Brown, Josey Wales, Eek-A-Mouse, Cynthia Schloss, The I Three, to overseas influences like The Commodores, The Jackson 5, Prince, Diana Ross and the list goes on, we would have parties galore.”
Those feel-good vibes were a total contrast to the politically-turbulent 1970s which saw sustained gang violence, food shortages and power outages.
Even then, there were a lot of good times.
“One of the good things I remember was how seriously as a nation we took Labour Day, no matter your political affiliation. This was not a day of rest, it was a day of community, and we would plan the projects, the tasks, the music and the food and get everyone involved,” McIntosh recalled.
That sense of national awareness was evident throughout her years at Vaz Preparatory and Immaculate. It set the tone for her professional life. She worked at Courts (Ja) Limited and Air Jamaica in public relations and customer service.
“A big part of my growing up and feeling I could never leave Jamaica and live anywhere else was the fact that I worked at Air Jamaica for about six years in customer service. To me, Air Jamaica embodied everything you’d want to represent your country,” she said. “There was such a pride we felt being part of this. While there, I got a chance to meet Nelson and Winnie Mandela, Pope John Paul II, Eddie Murphy, Paul McCartney and so many more celebrities, including seeing heads of states and other VIPs.”
Janice McIntosh has called South Florida home for over 20 years. With 2022 being monumental for Jamaica, reflecting on her years back home makes it even more special.
Jamaica is Home
“Jamaica is always home for me. They say being Jamaican is more than just a name, but an experience and that is something I still hold on to fiercely. As Jamaica embarks on its 60 years of Independence, I can say ‘we’ve come a long way’ but we still have more to go, and I truly believe our best days as a nation are still ahead of us. May God continue to bless Jamaica, Land We Love,” she said.