LINKAGE Q1 (2022) - BREAK THE BIAS
By AMCHAM T&T Staff Writer
Derwin Howell (l) greets Colman Clifford (r). Looking on are Carina Cockburn and Navin Dookeran
Four years ago, AMCHAM T&T launched the first edition of the Tech Hub Islands Summit (t.h.i.s.) with a vision to build a booming tech industry in T&T. The goal was to enlist the combined and unified support of the private sector and the government to create a marketplace that encourages the free flow of ideas to give birth to partnerships and innovation around the digital transformation reshaping the world in which we now live, work, and play.
For this to happen, we advocated for greater private sector investment in technology by highlighting how practical tech solutions can improve all facets of business, and by reminding companies that they all are—at least in part—tech companies in today’s world. Little did we know back then how real this statement would prove to be for every company facing the onslaught of a pandemic that disrupted supply chains and introduced new workplace measures such as social distancing and remote work.
A lot has changed since then, but what hasn’t diminished is AMCHAM T&T’s commitment and resolve toward building a national tech ecosystem and marketplace to drive real growth in our society. Moving forward, much will hinge on ensuring that there is a truly connected ecosystem that will bring all the tech groups together to drive real change and progress, so that the tech industry is ready to explode in T&T.
The fourth edition of t.h.i.s. in 2022 promises to be a vital platform that will bring together the influential innovators and disruptors alongside the leaders of the private and public sectors to exchange tech-generation ideas, solve tech problems, and attract investment in tech.
Nirad Tewarie, CEO of AMCHAM T&T who spoke at the launch of t.h.i.s. 2022 at Republic House, Port of Spain, on May 5th, said that technology was the currency that would drive T&T’s economic prospects for the future. “We must keep investing in technology as we continue to map a plan that will help us generate the expected growth that will be so vital to our survival and competitiveness in this ever-evolving world.”
“Our firm belief at AMCHAM T&T is that T&T can become a centre of excellence, a significant node in the global tech ecosystem,” Tewarie said. “With that will come better services for citizens and consumers, export-led growth, more resilient businesses, more opportunities for our citizens to find meaningful work in T&T and an overall more attractive place to live, work and play.”
The official theme for this year’s conference is “Change in Action”, which seeks to highlight how technology has been used to underpin a more fulfilling, productive and profitable way of life by engaging with the innovators and disruptors who are at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution wave. At t.h.i.s. 2022, AMCHAM T&T promises to help you learn from the success stories and experiences of those who did more than just talk about digital transformation but took the steps and made the change.
“We will hear testimonies of how accessing technological solutions have improved business processes and customer experience to ensure continued success and survival," Tewarie said. "We will engage in important discussions around building the local Fintech Industry and Financial Inclusion, developing futureproof digital infrastructure, and making T&T a real player in the global tech supply chain."
Derwin Howell, Executive Director of Republic Bank Limited, the official Title Sponsor for t.h.i.s. 2022, also spoke at the launch and reminded everyone that it will take all sectors of society to achieve digital transformation in T&T. “While a critical step to digital transformation at the national level is government’s involvement and more so leadership; other areas of society need to experience their own eureka moments on this matter and drive their own agenda if we are to continue to move the needle and take our rightful place as a nation at the digital table.”
Howell advises that we must acknowledge, understand and address the concerns and issues of all affected stakeholders to achieve this, since this will be critical to creating buy-in, wide-scale adoption and ultimately success.
Meanwhile, Zia Paton, Caribbean Digital Services Leader at PwC, one of the Platinum Sponsors for t.h.i.s. 2022, believes the country must continue to drive change as it emerges from the pandemic and transitions amid the fourth industrial revolution. “Every one of us has to continue to contribute to solving problems but being impatient when things are not moving in the direction they need to.”
While PwC recognises that technology is fundamental to the world that we live in today, Paton says investing in upskilling people is one of the key facets of the PwC strategy for digital transformation. She advises that this strategy must be human-led and understood clearly.
It's a point underscored in the survey findings conducted by Digicel Business across more than 1,900 companies in the region which found that
78 percent of businesses expect digital transformation to transform their enterprise while 89 percent see digital transformation as an opportunity.
Colman Clifford, Head of Enterprise and Multinational Sales at Digicel Business Solutions, says that companies stand to greatly benefit from integrating technology into their operations. “It can help both large and small enterprises to grow sales, enhance customer relationships and customer experience, save money, and in many instances, it even helps to attract and retain employees— which are all benefits no business can afford to pass up.”
Carina Cockburn, Country Representative for the IDB, a Platinum Sponsor of the conference, says t.h.i.s. 2022 is especially timely and important since the event brings together thought leaders and players in the technology space at a time when Caribbean economies are embracing digital transformation. “The IDB is looking forward to being a part of t.h.i.s. and is eager to explore practical tech solutions being employed by governments and businesses around the world to contribute to their adoption in the local context.”
Navin Dookeran, CEO of EXIMBANK, also a Platinum Sponsor, said a key objective of the bank is to contribute to technology deployment acceleration across the private sector, which Eximbank hopes to accomplish through the launch of a Catalytic Fund in early 2023 that was announced in last year’s national budget. This fund will provide support for the local ICT sector, which has historically been a net FOREX earner.
“I truly believe that the appropriate leveraging of technology can propel our manufacturing sector to grow. It is also a very unique opportunity for our services sector, such as digital content creators and creatives,” Dookeran said. “Companies and even sole proprietors who have services to offer can already go global (with little hassle) via platforms such as Fiver, Upwork, Freelancer and Youtube”
t.h.i.s. 2022 will assess how technology is currently creating a new world with the latest trends around Web3, the Metaverse, digital currencies and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). The conference aims to provide valuable teachings from the global tech giants to help implement practical tech solutions to realise digital transformation in the public sector while building on the local initiatives that are currently underway.
t.h.i.s. 2022 will return to an in-person conference and exhibition on July 6th–8th, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain, with the option to stream the summit and participate in a virtual exhibition on the virtual platform at www.techislands.net.
Republic Bank returns as the Title Sponsor while PwC, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Digicel Business, Simply Intense and Eximbank are Platinum Sponsors, Guarding Group is the Gold Sponsor and Balroops Group is the Silver Sponsor. Trend Media is the Official Digital Media Partner while Trinidad and Tobago IFC and VISA are session sponsors. Interested persons can register for the summit at techislands.net.
Dr. Bernard MeyersonChief Innovation Officer Emeritus,
Dr. Meyerson, an IBM Fellow, serves as IBM’s Chief Innovation Officer Emeritus.
Since joining IBM in 1980, Dr. Meyerson is credited with inventing silicon germanium technology, which is made for wireless applications and offers the high-speed, high-frequency performance needed for wireless systems. It also provides the potential for integrating analog, RF, and digital functions on a single integrated circuit. With this invention to his name, Dr. Myerson ultimately founded and led IBM’s highly successful Analog and Mixed Signal business. He went on to have many executive roles, leading global semiconductor development, strategic alliances for the Systems and Technology Group, and culminating in his role from 2010 through 2019 as IBM’s first Chief Innovation Officer.
His team led the definition and integration of corporate-wide technical and business strategic initiatives. He has served as Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on Emerging Technology, now co-chair of this ongoing project with Scientific American’s prior Editor-in-Chief, Mariette DiChristina.
Dr. Meyerson continues to support IBM and its key clients in his Emeritus role, as well as engage with the external innovation communities around the globe.
Speaking at t.h.i.s. 2022 Opening Ceremony:
David WhiteGlobal Technology Team Lead for Infrastructure Modernisation,
David White currently works as the Global Technology Team Lead for Infrastructure Modernization in Google Cloud’s Solutions Engineering organisation. He has over 30 years’ experience in technology and has worked in a variety of organisations including at the United Nations, in various NGOs, in pharmaceuticals, behavioural healthcare, and artificial intelligence. David has held roles including CIO, COO, and VP Cloud Operations and managed technology, cybersecurity, compliance, operations, and customer success organisations. All of these have benefited greatly by combining current technology and hiring excellent people.
Zia PatonCaribbean Digital Services Leader,
PwC Trinidad and Tobago
Zia Paton leads Digital Services at PwC in the Caribbean and is also the joint leader of Consulting Practice for PwC in the Southern Caribbean. With over 25 years’ experience, Ms. Paton works closely with clients across many sectors to deliver successful outcomes and advises on Strategy as well as Implementation including complexities associated with People and Change, Process and Systems. Ms. Paton also advises clients in both the public and private sectors and works closely with multi-national teams as well as multi-disciplinary teams. She is currently working with a team of global specialists to increase digital adoption here in the Caribbean.
Abraham SmithCEO, Digicel (Trinidad & Tobago ) Limited
Abraham Smith is a Senior Executive with international telecom leadership and management experience. He has a proven track record of transforming and optimising international businesses.
Miles AbrahamCEO, Si.digital (www.simplyintense.com)
Miles Abraham is the founder of Si.digital. With over two decades of leadership in the digital space, he operates a unique business model that delivers digital transformation projects, award-winning modern marketing, and enterprise-grade loyalty programmes to the Caribbean.
Speaking at “Futureproof Digital Infrastructure”
Derwin HowellExecutive Director,
Republic Bank Limited
Derwin M. Howell was appointed an Executive Director of Republic Bank Limited in 2012. He also serves as Chairman of Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited, Republic Bank (Suriname) N.V., Republic Bank (EC) Limited and Republic Bank (Anguilla) Limited. He is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (SMIEEE), a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET) and a Member of the Engineering Council of the United Kingdom (Chartered Engineer). External Appointments Mr. Howell is the Chairman of Habitat for Humanity Trinidad and Tobago and a Chancellor’s Representative on the UWI St. Augustine Campus Council.
Speaking at “Data-Driven Decision Making” - Opening Ceremony
Navin DookeranCEO, EximBank
Mr. Dookeran’s last role was at the UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business as the Programme Director of the Executive MBA. His early career began at the Development Finance Limited in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Later, he moved to the RBC Financial Group in Toronto, Canada, where he held the portfolio of Commercial Relationship Manager. His experience in finance continued at Manulife Bank and Trust (Canada) as Director in Lending Services and then as the AVP/Head of Credit Risk Management, where he continued to deepen his experience in banking strategy, operations, service delivery and credit risk management.
Carina CockburnIDB Trinidad and Tobago Country Representative, Inter-American Development Bank
Carina Cockburn is an Economic Development professional and Change Leader with over 20 years’ experience in the public and private sector. Her core competencies include Strategic Planning, Change Management and Project Portfolio Management.
For over 10 years, Ms. Cockburn has served in a variety of positions at the Inter-American Development Bank and was appointed Country Representative for Trinidad & Tobago in April 2021.
Speaking at “Change in Action”
Suzanne (Suzy) TeeleVice President, Strategic Initiatives and Outreach,
Suzy Teele is a highly respected executive in technology strategy and marketing. She is currently Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Outreach for the ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing) Institute, a US public-private partnership focused on advancing robotics and workforce development to grow US manufacturing. Prior to joining the ARM Institute, she was the COO of two technology start-ups.
Ted TeeleChief Executive Officer,
Ted has the experience, analytical capabilities, and interpersonal skills necessary to make and implement the best possible decisions. He has honed his strategic decision-making skills across multiple industries with 20+ years of successful CEO experience after earlier senior positions in sales and business development. He is currently the Chief Executive Officer at Kaleidoscope, which is a One Stop Shop digital marketing company for the orthodontic market.
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