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He is gifted – there’s no doubt about that – his works speak for themselves and when this newspaper looked around the country for outstanding Vincentians, it was easy to select Lennox Bowman as SEARCHLIGHT’s Man Of The Year for 2006.

It is not often that one meets a leader who is equipped with the complete package of management and leadership attributes, such as vision, strategic thinking, relationship building, execution, and people empowerment.{{more}}

Bowman not only possesses these attributes but he lives and breathes them daily so it is no surprise that his leadership results in success stories.

Bowman’s accomplishments stretch far and wide, surpassing the boundaries of his managerial responsibilities at the General Employees Co-operative Credit Union (GECCU), to encompass leadership roles in various governmental and non-governmental organizations and the area of culture for which he has openly expressed his love on numerous occasions.

In other words he is a man who wears many hats.

Lennox Bowman strongly believes that in order to be a good leader one must acknowledge the need to stay abreast of information; recognise that the society today is knowledge-based; and accept the responsibility to help develop the professionals with whom one works as well as empower them.

“I have dedicated my life to the community and to doing whatever I can to influence people or organizations that are involved in contributing to the alleviation of poverty. For me that’s what stands out in my life … helping people along the way,” he told SEARCHLIGHT.

He noted that this is why he encourages people to pursue education because it is one of the quickest ways out of poverty.

“Volunteers are priceless”

Sharing one of his many philosophies, Bowman said that “volunteers don’t get paid because they are worthless, they don’t get paid because they are priceless. I have a great love for volunteerism. In a country that has not been blessed with many natural resources, the value of volunteerism is just as good as, or if not more than, paid work. Our community spirit comes out in volunteerism. That is my fundamental reason why I believe in volunteerism. This is certainly going to continue until I die.”

Bowman, the son of Jeannine and the late George Bowman from Layou and Mesopotamia respectively, has made his mark at GECCU where he started as the administrative officer in 1995, working his way up to the rank of General Manager on January 1, 1999.

Under his leadership, GECCU successfully amassed over $100 million in assets by the year 2006. There’s a general perception that Bowman has plays a significant role in GECCU’s accomplishments but Bowman is quick to point out that he, his staff and present volunteers are only building on the excellent foundation laid by those before him.

Bowman who has been married to Andrea Keizer-Bowman since 1988 is also the father of two children.

Trademark of success

Similar to GECCU, Bowman’s trademark of success is noted at the National Insurance Scheme (NIS). Under his chairmanship, which started in April 2001, the institution has emerged as the premier non-bank financial institution in St Vincent and the Grenadines and continues to record significant growth in all areas of it’s operations.

During his tenure, several programmes designed to significantly impact the lives of Vincentians were implemented at the NIS. Chief among these are the two Golden Years Centres that were constructed on the Windward and Leeward coasts, and the new NIS headquarters which will be opened soon.

Under Bowman’s chairmanship the NIS also maintained a sound financial footing recording increases in its annual net income, contribution and returns on investment.

One of his goals is to have this institution achieve coverage for all in the near future.

Bowman praises the NIS board and the very capable and hard-working staff at NIS for their dedication to social security in St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

Household name

Bowman is more of a household name, however, when it comes to community involvement and culture. When he was 11 his parents encouraged him to get involved in community activities and so he joined “Youths Involved”. Blessed with the talent of song writing, Bowman wrote jingles, ballads, calypsos and Christmas songs for himself, his brothers, and other performers over the last 25 years.

Last year he penned a tribute in memory of the late Glenn Jackson, former Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, which was sung by Bomani and Skarpyon. Two years ago Bowman was one of the persons that were instrumental in creating the Upstage Experience – a calypso tent that encouraged other popular artistes participating in different genres of music to bring their talents to the calypso arena.

He is also a board member of the National Development Foundation (NDF); advisor to the Carnival Development Committee (CDC) and serves on the National Nine Mornings Committee. His community orientation resulted in his serving as a President of the National Youth Council (1993-84) and he is currently an active member of the Lions Club South. He is also the manager of local and regional sports personality Pamenos Ballantyne.

Bowman, a Chartered Banker with the Chartered Institute of Bankers and a Fellow of the Association of Accounting Technicians pursued his tertiary education at London’s City Banking College. He is also a graduate of the St Vincent Grammar and the former Richmond Primary School.

Dear to his heart are the young people of this country.

“Too often we think young people are the problem, young people are not the problem. In my view our young people hold the solution to many of our problems, but they have to be supported and guided and we must provide resources for them. We only hear when one or two of the youths do something bad but really and truly there are a lot of positive, bright, intelligent, forward thinking young people out there and I always try to work with them … I am always looking for funding for them.”

Best of Bowman

The best of Bowman has not yet been seen. For 2007 he plans to work as efficiently as possible. This he believes will translate into greater effectiveness as he attempts to contribute even more.

“I love to see results, I am results oriented. I believe the least I can do is to try to lead a team that achieves its goals. So when we plan something we go all out to achieve or even try to surpass the initial objectives,” said Bowman.

“I try my best”

Many people who have been tracking Bowman’s record believe he can one day emerge as a political candidate – something on which he shared this thoughts: “I love St Vincent and the Grenadines. There’s no place on earth that I feel the joy that I feel here and since age eleven I have been involved in community work and I have never stopped. I have never given active politics a serious thought. Though I am not naïve to the importance of politics, I try my best to ensure that whatever I say or whatever I do is in the best interest of my fellow Vincentians. But I have not given active politics a serious consideration and it’s certainly not on my agenda.”

He said it was an honour to be selected as SEARCHLIGHT’s Man of the Year for 2006.

“I say this in full appreciation of the people whom I’ve worked with- those who have positively influenced me and my decision-making.