St Helena appears to have a workforce gender distribution which is more favourable to women than most other places in the first world. (Unfortunately, there are no formal statistics yet).
St Helenian Tara Francis has just become one of the many St Helenian women to obtain a high-level position in an organisation.
Francis has just been named the first female Retail Director of the Falkland Islands Company (FIC).
Francis had been with the company for over 21 years, recently as the West Store manager and then as the general retail manager. She has now been appointed to the Board of Directors as the Retail Director.
Francis said she was proud to have this opportunity.
“I am proud to be the first woman to join the board of FIC, and see this as a reward for the hard work and dedication I have shown to the company over the last 21 years,” she said. “I have always been passionate about the company.”
When growing up on St Helena, Francis attended Jamestown Infant School, Pilling Middle, Secondary School at Ladder Hill and Prince Andrew School. Francis is the daughter of Peter Benjamin and the sister of Chay Benjamin.
“I know I speak for all the family when I say how incredibly proud we are of Tara Ben and her significant achievement,” said Shelley Magellan-Wade, Francis’ cousin. “I have always looked up to my big cousin – and indeed with good reason.”
Francis’ husband, Nick Francis, was also proud of his wife’s achievement. He said he had loved watching her life and career advance over the years.
“I clocked up the courage to give up my career on Ascension as a firefighter and moved back to St. Helena to be with [Tara],” Nick said. “Back then, jobs were really hard to find so we both had the chance to move to the Falklands (initially for two years), so took it. It was her turn to give up her career because of me not having a job. We both found ourselves flipping burgers at the Naafi outlets at MPA for six months before acquiring jobs in Stanley, which is where she began her career with her present Company (FIC). I am delighted for Tara. She has gained an enormous amount of experience and have no doubt that she will be a great asset to the Company.”
The FIC is owned by FIH Group plc of London. It handles retail of a variety of goods, from food and clothing to home furnishings and electrical goods. It also handles properties, provides travel services and insurance, sells vehicles and handles freight and shipping for the Falklands.
“FIC exists to serve the interests of Falklands people,” said FIC Chairman Dick Sawle. “The Board[...] heads up a strong and dedicated workforce which is well-set for the future.”