Saturday, June 27, 2015

Joanne Brooks — The Modern Diplomat

Lorraine Waldropt-Ferguson,

Extract from article:
There is nothing terribly complicated about Joanne Brooks, she simply decides what she wants, goes out and gets it.
These words were written in 1998 by Rosemary Stone, then Fashion Editor of the Express, when she interviewed Brooks as a high flyer in the competitive commercial world of luxury retail fashion in London, where she worked for and managed brands such as Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Gucci, Cleo, Fendi, Pucci and Dolce and Gabbana to name only a few.
Headless Brooks image from article
“These words are as relevant today as they were to me in 1998,” says Brooks with a huge smile.
After 15 years as a business manager, true to form, she kept a promise to herself that she made at the age of 20, that at 35, she would transition from the fashion industry to a career in diplomacy, her second love and that she did in no uncertain terms. ...
“On the surface”, she explained, “there seem to be few similarities between fashion and diplomacy but the skills I gained in business have application in many different fields. In fashion, as a manager you represent a brand or designer - as a diplomat you represent a brand which is your country. Public Diplomacy pertains to country branding and an area which has become more relevant in today’s competitive global environment as ever before. ...
She further pointed out, ”The Consular work of the Ministry focuses on serving the needs of Trinbagonians at home and abroad through the Ministry and our 19 Embassies world wide, along with cooperation with Trinidad and Tobago’s Diaspora on academic, commercial, cultural, health, sport and other mutually beneficial projects. National branding has become a priority for many countries, not only to boost tourism, but due to the growing importance of Public Diplomacy. The question ‘who are we as Trinbagonians? What are the values that underscore our multicultural identity and, what is the image that we would like to project to the world?’ are fundamental questions that we must urgently seek to answer. In the world of real time media and so-called digital diplomacy taking place on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, if one does not carefully craft and control the image of its state, one will be created for you, more likely through negative events reported in the international media.”

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