Inspiring Women with Debbie Bissoon

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Wednesday, 15 February 2017 2767 Views 0 Comments
Inspiring Women with Debbie Bissoon

Nirvana’s Inspiring Women Series will be taking a look into the lives of a few of Jamaica most inspiring and empowering women. Women that are stylish, successful, impactful and fabulous in their own right.

This week, we’ll be speaking to Media Maven- Debbie Bissoon. This media personality was previously a Radio Broadcaster and allowed herself to move up the ranks to becoming a Television and Radio Presenter at The RJR Group. She is well-known for once being the host of TVJ’s Entertainment programme ‘E-Prime’. She is currently a Media Presenter, TV & Radio Producer, Brand Manager at the Bob Marley Group of Companies and an Advocate against violence against women.

 

Nirvana: Is there anything in life that motivates you?

Debbie: My family. Growing up, my father was the real breadwinner of the family and my mother did several different things. But seeing the fact that my family worked so hard, some things we accomplished and some we didn’t, that really pushes me to work hard.  And also because I have a family on the way (Debbie is pregnant), I know that I have to work hard.

Nirvana: Who are the women that inspire you?

Debbie: My mother. When I was growing up, my mom did cosmetology then she decided to go back to school and she’s now a Guidance Counsellor. My grandmother also. She died from breast cancer a few years ago but she lived 15 years with it. Seeing her go through that, not losing faith and really fight till the end, that inspires me and it’s something I still hold on to. The other women that inspire me are women I hope inspire everybody; Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou.

Nirvana: What is your personal mantra or quote you live by?

Debbie: Yes, I have two. The first is “I come as one but I stand as a 10 thousand” meaning when I show up in a situation, I come as one but really I’m standing on the backs of all these other people, women that have contributed so much and set the tone for my life. I take the values from all these people wherever I go.

The second one is “In God I move and breathe and have my being”. My purpose on this earth is embedded in God.

Nirvana: How important is it for women to be independent and self-sufficient?

Debbie: It is so important. It’s so important for women to be more than what the traditional definition of a woman is. It’s important to contribute to your family, to society. Outside of being defined by a role or gender, you’re also a human being that has a destiny and purpose on this earth. It’s the responsibility of every single woman, while we’re being women, to find out what our purpose is as an individual and fulfill that. Plus, it’s always nice when you have your own things. To know that as a woman, you can take care of yourself if needs be.

Nirvana: Is it hard balancing your professional and personal life?

Debbie: It carries its challenges, especially with time. You want to always know that you have time to spend with your family members or children. It’s making a deliberate decision to know when it’s work time and when it’s family time. The balance is so important because, at the end of the day, one really fuels the other. You need to work to support your family and you need your family to motivate you and show you love; it’s your safe place to go home to when work gets frustrating. You have to make a deliberate decision to balance the two.

Nirvana: How have you dealt with negativity from other women?

Debbie: I don’t listen to it or see it. I don’t have time to. I don’t get caught up in the insecurities of anybody else because that’s exactly what it is. If everything was going great in your life, you wouldn’t have time to discuss me negatively. So I don’t pay attention to that.

Nirvana: What is the most important message that you try to relay to young girls?

Debbie: That you are much more than what society has set up to define you as. Once you get caught up in what society has defined you as you already limit yourself and what you can accomplish as a woman. When you position yourself as an individual that’s here to fulfill a purpose, you start defying all the odds. You’re here to do much more than what society and tradition have decided that you can do.

Nirvana: What is the best life decision you’ve ever made?

Debbie: Not to be limited by my own self. My dream job was to work at RJR and when I got it I was so grateful; I forever will be. But when I was given the decision to stay just as a broadcaster or to expand my scope in Entertainment, I chose the latter. I’m happy that I gave myself the opportunity to do that. I still do media of course, but now I know how the legal side works, the business side and all these different areas. I’m glad that I allowed myself to broaden my scope.

Nirvana: Would you say that you are content with your life at the moment?

Debbie: I’m never content and that’s not a bad thing. It’s just that I know that there’s more to do. If I’m going to leave behind a legacy, I want to know that I’ve given my 100% in terms of potential. I’m still pushing to see what else I can do and what else I can accomplish. I think I’m still too young to be content.

Nirvana: If you could have given your younger self any advice, what would it be?

Debbie: Start earlier, in terms of aspiring and knowing in myself that I could actually do it. I had to battle a lot of negative thoughts and opinions because often times people define you based on where they see you due to their own insecurities. I came from Clarendon and to hear a girl from such a place saying she wants to do media, people were confused. For a lot of people, it was a scary thing because it was very new and they couldn’t see that vision. People said that I couldn’t do it for so many reasons. I had to really defy those things.

Nirvana: What do you think makes a successful woman leader?

Debbie: In her ability, more than anything else, to manage herself and the persons who fall in her care. People are coming to you from different walks of life with different personalities and interests so it is your ability to manage all those facets of individuals and make it world for the greater good of whatever your mission is.

Nirvana: What are you most proud of in your life?

Debbie: I’m proud of the woman I’m becoming. The person that I am every day, the very fact that I’m evolving daily and I see myself grow as an individual, I’m very proud of that.

Nirvana: Women are often regarded as superheroes. What is your superpower?

Debbie: My superpower is the ability to always look for a better way. I’m a solution-oriented person so I’ll think about the solution as the problem presents itself. Sometimes it’s a bad thing because there are some people that will want to flesh out the problem and go through it. My thing is “what are we going to do? How are we going to fix this?” I’m quick with solutions and that has to do with my producing background. Once you’re a producer on a set, you have to always be thinking about that.

Nirvana: The best advice you’ve ever gotten?

Debbie: One important one is to take it easy on myself. It’s so easy to beat up myself and to be unforgiving. I think it’s important to understand that everything is a process and you won’t get it right all the time.

The second is knowing that you are enough; right where you are, in every situation. I remember the first time somebody said that to me- it was my HR manager who now works at the Bob Marley Museum. I’ve always heard it but no one had ever said that directly to before. I started crying; I had no idea that it would impact me that way, to have someone say “Debbie, it’s okay. Right where you are, you’re enough”. It meant so much to me and it’s something that I remind myself of.

On February 14, 2017, Debbie launched the #NoViolenceInLove campaign to advocate for the love and care of our women, girls and boys in Jamaica.

Sheri-Kae McLeod

Writer and Editor. Communications student. Contact: Sherikaemc@gmail.com

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