Updated: Dec 18, 2020
Within five minutes of talking to Lisa Gale one is struck by her intelligence, joie de vivre and practical nature. She describes herself as an emotionally intelligent, passionate, caring woman of God who fulfils several roles whether it be wife, mother, mentor, author, manager, leader, mediator or friend. Known in local circles for her business acumen, experience in trade policy and her skills as a moderator on the popular radio call in programme “Down to Brass Tacks”, Lisa has recently embarked on a new position as the Executive Director of the Barbados Accreditation Council, a role that she is more than capable of undertaking given her experience as Executive Director at the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Managing Consultant of Lisa Gale Consulting. However, of the many roles she performs, she takes pride in being the wife of Gregory, mother to 11 year old Ethan and step mom to Gabrielle and Keenan and aunt to many nieces and nephews. Fuelled by her love for God, Lisa gives of her best at all times and is excited to live life fully and make a positive contribution to the world. In this feature, Lisa gives us some insight into her life, her family and how she manages it all.
Q & A Exclusive
What is a typical day in the life of Lisa Gale?
Well I’m pretty easy going. Yes I work hard, but I also play hard. There’s home, then there’s work and maybe an event or a board meeting. I also try to make time for a little bit of reading. I think everyone should do a bit of giving so whether that’s your time, talent or your treasure I think you should give a little bit of yourself and for me that’s how my day goes.
You’ve recently been appointed as Executive Director of the Barbados Accreditation Council, what has the adjustment been like from trade policy to education?
To be honest, the transition hasn’t been difficult. It’s a new space and actually I’m very excited. Over the years I’ve amassed a number of transferable skills in the few positions that I’ve held so I have drawn on those skills, whether it is emotional intelligence training, leadership, management, putting policies in place, systems management and those types of things. Within the last 10 years I would’ve been in the field of management and leadership having spent 7 years as Executive Director at the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry and 3 years managing Lisa Gale Consulting. So armed with my skill set, coming in to this organisation as Executive Director was an easy transition and it’s going pretty well.
How do you balance work and family life?
Well I have a very short answer and the answer is that I never equally balance. Something always has to give but that’s really what life is all about - being able to give a little here and take a little more here. However, at some point if you look at it on the long run of the curve you are in fact giving equitably over a time period. It may not be equitable in one month or one week or in one day but you are giving where your interests and priorities are.
As a stepmother of two, how have you managed the intricacies of a blended family to connect with your stepchildren?
To be honest, my husband and the children’s mother made it easy as I inherited a system that was already in place. At the time, Gabrielle and Keenan were 6 and 4 respectively and I got to see them both on week days and weekends so they were blended into the family from very early. This allowed my husband and I to build a good relationship with them from very early and up to this day we continue to have a strong bond. So I am very pleased with that and I’ve never had any challenges in that regard.
Who would you like to have a conversation with and why?
I actually would like to have a conversation with Priscilla Shirer. She’s an author and a powerful woman of God. I enjoy her teachings and her perspectives on life. I would love to talk with her about life and some of the decisions she’s made; some of her failings and how she’s gotten back up.
Given all that you’ve achieved and learnt thus far, what advice would you give to your younger 18 year old self?
I would say stay current, follow your passions, read, build relationships, don’t take life so seriously and for sure continue to love the Lord with all your heart and your soul.
As a busy professional woman, how do you practise self-care to avoid burn-out?
To be honest I don’t always practise self-care but I’m making the effort. I believe that self-care is multidimensional - spiritual, physical and emotional - so I try to inculcate some kind of care in my daily routine. Some days I may not get to do the physical, but I may do the emotional and the spiritual. I’m not always successful but that’s what I try to do. Especially when you get busier you have to make an effort and be more deliberate in achieving it.
To relax, given all my responsibilities, I like playing games like “Name, Animal, Place and Thing”, Taboo and mind games - I love those things. I think those activities help me to relax more, but I don’t get to do them often enough.
As a motivational speaker what is a key message that you always try to share with your audience?
A big one is resilience. We are way more resilient than we think we are so I always leave some form of encouragement to let people know they can try harder or they can go at it again because failure is a part of success. I failed my A Levels and that didn’t stop me from going to university, pursuing economics and coming out with honours. So I encourage people to believe in themselves and just go the extra mile because it doesn’t matter where you start but it really does matter where you finish.
Any Advice for Persons going into Blended Families?
I think you have to respect what exists and don’t necessarily go trying to change anything. So if you marry into a family where there are children, look to see what the routines are and try to see how you can fit yourself in as opposed to trying to change it to suit your routine. You should also respect other people’s opinions because you’re not the one who’s setting the family structure and you need to appreciate that other people will have views and perspectives that may be different from your ideals. Thirdly, you need to be patient. Some children respond negatively to new persons in their life and in their space and therefore the teething time may take a little longer so patience is very necessary. Try to get to know their friends as well and build a relationship because you’re in it for the long haul.
Advice on how to maintain that connection with your spouse
Greg and I are now celebrating 18 years of marriage and we still do simple little things like sending notes and reading together; we respect each other. Many years ago we saw a video together at a couples retreat and it talked about the man seeing blue and the woman seeing pink and the importance of respecting each other even though you have different perspectives and our takeaways then still continue to impact on us now. As the Bible says, I am to respect him and he is to love me.
Also, we take vacation every year and spend time together, whether it’s overseas or on staycation. I think we’re deliberate in our love for each other and we do the things that the other person respects and likes. We have a strong sense of responsibility towards each other so he doesn’t hesitate to clean around the house and I don’t hesitate to do other things. We don’t believe in “half and half” and I think that’s done well for us over the years. This is definitely not to say that we do not quarrel regularly or disagree as that’s a major part of the mix of individuality that we bring to the marriage.
Lisa's Parent Tale
Lisa shares her own personal “Parent Tale” that meant a lot to you on your parenting journey.
I will use a 2020 experience because I like to be in the present. Let me take you back to the COVID-19 shutdown - challenging and stressful times, learning to adjust to online classes, new diet, restrictions to go to the supermarket and preparing for 11+ - the whole works, but yet a time of growth. I saw my son take on a whole new persona and grow up in that short space of time.
I actually was ill in May with a bout of vertigo so I was vomiting, very dizzy and it was awful, but when his dad had to go off to work he would bring me meals and he would attend to me like a real man and he really looked out for me when his father wasn’t home. That loving nature within him really came to the fore and I really appreciated his growth and maturity. That is a special moment that I would always remember.