Paula Gordon is one of the persons coordinating GEBE’s Christmas Village on Walter Nisbeth Road. She tells us more about herself and the work that goes into such an event in this week’s Hot Seat.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m 40 years old. I was born in St. Kitts. I’ve learned so much from my time here on earth that I feel the need to always give back. I’m a super busy person, but I try to balance my life. I play volleyball and I love sports. I drink way too much Coca Cola, but I’m trying to stop. I have a beautiful18-year-old daughter, Anandah Brandy. My proudest moments were my daughter’s birth, being crowned Miss Mature in 2013, graduating from University of St. Martin (USM) and University of Curacao, joining the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunrise and joining St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m an energetic, full of life, no-nonsense type of person. I like to work with the youth, which I’ve been doing all my life. I really love pageantry, cooking and experimenting with different foods. I research recipes and cook all the time. I recently got my diploma in sewing and I sew at home when I have time. My job keeps me very busy.
I attended Basterre Primary Girls School in St. Kitts; St. Maarten Academy; Evans High School in Orlando, Florida, where I obtained my high school diploma; USM, where I obtained my AA Degree in Business Management; University of Curaçao, where I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
How did you end up in beautiful St. Maarten?
My mom moved to St. Maarten in 1979 to work. I lived in St. Kitts for a few years with my aunt. During my younger years, I attended school at the old Grand Case Police Station and went back to St. Kitts for three years until I officially moved to St. Maarten in 1989.
How did you end up at GEBE?
In 2007, I applied for the position of assistant secretary to the then Managing Director William Brooks (may he rest in peace). I was hired on August 13, 2007. I’m now the Corporate Communications Officer and I’ve been in this function for the past three years.
What do you like about your current job?
It’s a very intense position and I am constantly challenged. Every day is a learning experience, which is the best part.
How did you end up on the planning team for GEBE’s Christmas village?
As secretary for GEBE’s Social Club, our president Jewel Daal pulled me into it as we’ve worked on many projects together.
What’s the purpose of the Christmas village?
The purpose of the village is to bring life to the Philipsburg area and to have families, friends and visitors enjoy Christmas in a different way. I’m the assistant president of the Social Club.
What sort of planning goes into such a major event?
It takes many long hours of actual planning. We’ve had to pull in the technical guys from the distribution department and get their expertise. GEBE is full of talented people, so we made contact with everyone we knew would play a major role. Of course, everyone has different ideas, but after several meetings, we came up with a plan, which we put on paper and then invited other sub-committee members. It took a lot of sleepless nights to actually get the village up and running.
Trying to keep it a secret until it was time to be revealed.
What would you say to encourage the public to come out to attend the Village?
Come out and enjoy the amazing days of festivities. This is for the community of St. Maarten. Everyone should attend because this village was built and created by the staff of GEBE with love.
How do you think this event will help spread Christmas cheer?
For the opening night, which was December 11, we invited 25 seniors who were each presented with a food basket – an event we do yearly. If you were at that event, you could feel the joy, love and Christmas spirit in the air.
What do you do outside of working at GEBE?
I play volleyball, sew, volunteer, chaperone and mentor young ladies, go to the beach and explore St. Maarten; and when I can find some time for me, I love being at home with my daughter watching TV.
Personally, I want to expand my chaperoning business and help to take pageantry to a whole new level. I can’t wait for the day to turn the keys to my own home, which is in process. Professionally, I want to get my MA in Communications and open my own business.
What is your advice for youths?
Life is full of surprises, nothing should be regretted. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Live, laugh and love. Don’t take things too personally. Make sure you have plan A, and if that doesn’t work out, remember there are more letters in the alphabet.
Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows.
I don’t watch scary movies at night or I won’t be able to sleep.
When people say they will do something and you expect them to do it and they don’t. That irks me because I’m very structured and organised. As busy as I am, I know what I will do this afternoon and tomorrow at any time.
I have a fear of being hit by a big truck.
The next time you think you’re perfect, try walking on water.
My mother Juliette Caines, my sister Nadia Dormoy and Josianne Fleming- Artsen, my former USM boss – these are all strong, beautiful women, who have taught me to be the person I am today.
I wish I could say that I have a great voice, but I would be lying. But I’m a mean cook. I can throw down in the kitchen. I learned cooking from my aunt at a very young age.
Dream holiday venue?
Paris the city of love, and Dubai.
What would a perfect romantic evening be for you?
I'm a simple girl and everything is a moment for me. I'm a hopeless romantic, so something very simple, such as a collection of the ultimate love songs; walking on the beach and holding hands of course – if the moon is out, even better; watching a romantic comedy; having a drink and closing down the restaurant with silly conversations… these are romantic to me.
If stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you need?
If that deserted island has power and water; then my TV, my loving partner and a boat so we could leave whenever we desire.
What’s your favourite type of music; what artistes do you listen to?
My favourite type of music is soca, St. Kitts Pep riddim and R&B; and my favourite artistes are Mariah Carey, Luther van Dros, Salt and Pepa, Tupac, KC and JoJo, Machel Montano and my list would not be complete if Sugar Band from SBK wasn’t on.
If you could ask any three persons (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would they be and what would you cook for them?
I would invite Chance and Miracle Cranstoun-Gordon and Randolph Corachi Martinus. I would cook a combination of meals for them starting off with my parmesan garlic chicken wings as appetizer, my specialty broccoli casserole, coconut rice and peas, with my Thai coconut curry chicken and shrimps, followed by my delicious upside-down pineapple cake topped with vanilla ice cream.