In this episode I speak with Corine La Font who emigrated from Trinidad to Jamaica.
She is a PR and Communications Consultant, Podcaster, Speaker, Author and Online Business Coach.
Check out what she offers at her website: https://www.lafontandassociates.com/
But it’s not because of all the accolades that I am successful, am I comfortable ? It comes back to if you’re comfortable with yourself. Because the thing about it.
If all of those things were taken away from you. All those things were stripped from me. Would I be nobody? No, at least not for me.Her answer to the question if she was a success
Social Media tags
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/corine.lafont
Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/clafont/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/corinelaf/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/CorineFont
YouTube – http://bit.ly/2LqcldF
Paula: [00:00:00] Welcome to “Chatting with the Experts”. A podcast for immigrant women from Africa and the Caribbean who have relocated to the UK or the US or Canada, or somewhat outside of their country. In this podcast, we talk about the struggles, and we highlight the triumphs, experience, while sharing resources and experiences that our fellow immigrant sisters can benefit from. Today the show is a little different. So my guest today is a Caribbean sister, Corine La Font who lives and works in Trinidad. Corine is a PR and communications consultant. She’s a podcaster to like me. She’s a speaker, she’s an author and she’s an online business coach. She is from Trinidad, and Tobago like I just said, which is in the Caribbean. And she has a passion for Latin dancing and anything that includes coconut, the coconut oil, the coconut milk, and coconut water. And she looks forward to when a coconut bra and grass skirt. You can check out while she offers at her website, which is “https:www.lafontandassociates.com”. Welcome to “chatting with the experts” Corine, I am thrilled to have you here.
Corine: [00:01:27] Yeah, it’s a pleasure to be here Paula, thank you for having me.
Paula: [00:01:31] Absolutely. So I’ve said a bit about you through your bio, but there’s some things that you can talk about, about yourself that wasn’t mentioned in the bio. For example, where did you do your formal education? And, okay let’s leave it at that first because I have another question after that.
Corine: [00:01:49] Okay, so where did I do my formal education.
Paula: [00:01:52] I want you to tell us about yourself and where you did your formal education.
Corine: [00:01:56] Okay, thank you so much for that question. I mean, I love peace and quiet and still is I do a lot of meditation. I’m extremely spiritual as far as I consider it. And you know a lot of people are asking me, how am I coping with the pandemic? I don’t know, this is my life from a very long time. So pandemic or no pandemic it doesn’t matter to me. I’ve always lived that sort of isolated secluded life. So it doesn’t really hamper me except to say that it’s impacted my social life, my dancing, which you mentioned in my bio. So it impacted that, but it doesn’t stop me from picking up some music putting it on YouTube and just dancing by myself here. So in terms of my formal education. And then when I migrated to Jamaica, which I think was in 1997 I think it was. In 2000 or so, I did my in Jamaica, in the University of the West Indies, and that’s in human resource development. And while being in Jamaica, I transitioned into a number of things. I allowed myself to grow to be who I am. And I ended up becoming an author like you mentioned in my bio. I ended up writing for the major newspaper in Jamaica, Jamaica Glean. And offering articles on publishing and marketing and writing got published, several authors around the world. So publish them, have them to edit their book, book covers, manuscripts, eBook formatting, print, audiobooks, Amazon etc, other book platforms, book publishing platforms. And I’ve helped them with marketing as well. So I’ve transitioned all of that because in terms of podcasting, writing anything I’ve gotten all together into one basket called public relations and communications.
Paula: [00:04:04] So you didn’t migrate to the US? You migrated to Jamaica, right?
Corine: [00:04:08] I did, I did. I just crossed the Caribbean waters, yes. I went to Jamaica and most people will ask me why did you go to Jamaica? And I simply say for a man, there is no other reason really. I don’t think that any Trinidadian would just pick up herself and just go, there. There are mainly two reasons why we will migrate over there, and it’s normally for school cause the university is also there- University of the West Indies, so most of the time you would find that we would go to study. The medicine – the medical faculty wasn’t here in Trinidad. A lot of persons who wanted to pursue medical science had to go to Jamaica. But now that we have this facility here at Mt Hope Complex, where we train doctors, and prepare them, you know, to go out into the world, we don’t do that anymore. So a lot of people back in the day used to go Jamaica for medical sciences and a lot of Jamaicans had to come across here for engineering. But that has evolved and matured now. So, you know, you either go to study and when they go to study in Jamaica, because they spent three years there, they stay they get a better job, you get an opportunity and. you like the place, but some come back home. And of course being there you’re mixing with people from all over the world you end up meeting probably the love of your life. You meet your partner, staying or living with, you know. So it’s one of two things either to study or you meet someone. And it so happened that while was studying in Trinidad, in my first degree, my partner was here in Trinidad doing engineering at the time. We met because we lived on campus and that’s how the little spark happened after we met of course. You know, as you graduate, you’re looking at your life and what needs to happen. And we had a son long after graduation… in 2000 – sorry 1995, cause I graduated in 1992. And my first degree that is. And so I’m looking at my life and taking care of my family and keeping the unit together. So I decided to make the move across to Jamaica. But I’m back home and I’m loving it, you know. Loving it and loving being back home. And it’s such a timely thing because it happened before the pandemic. So I am quite happy about that.
Paula: [00:06:24] Awesome, okay. So you are a Caribbean, well, inter, intra Caribbean immigrant.
Corine: [00:06:32] That’s right, that’s right.
Paula: [00:06:34] So tell us about your, how did it feel to, I mean being in another country other than yours?
Corine: [00:06:40] Oh, to do these types of things, not everybody is willing to step out of your comfort zone to do what they need to do. And migration has a fear of looking at leaving what you are used to behind. And moving to something that you are not used to. So you’re looking at risk, you’re looking at learning, you’re looking at being uncomfortable you’re looking at the getting accustomed to the people, culture, the language. I mean, Jamaica speak their own English language as well. You know they are very aggressive, very forward type of people because they’re totally different to Trinidadians. You know, but you know, it brought out things in me that was already there. I was a very bold person, very forward, you know, I’m passionate. And so I just fell right in, and it helped to sharpen a lot of skills that I had in me that needed to be sharpened. And it opened a lot of opportunities. The person that I am today is a result of living in Jamaica for 21 years. So what I would say to anyone who’s migrating be open to it. You would learn a lot about yourself. You would learn you know that you’re not limited by anyone or anything, unless you limit yourself by what you decide, and just open yourself. I’m learning a new culture that is a good thing, traveling. I always tell people traveling, you know even migrating to different countries living in particular places for different – a certain amount of years. Popping and skipping and experiencing different cultures it exposes you into becoming a better person and appreciating mankind. It is very important to be compassionate and compassion for myself, actually witnessing and experiencing life in different countries, with different people, different races, ethnicity, background, socioeconomic backgrounds you know and just open yourself to that. You become a much more well-rounded person. You cannot be taught that in a book. You could read it and live vicarious through a book. But it’s not the same as actually living it, you know immersing yourself in it, I mean living it. You become a better more well-rounded person. As in coming back to Trinidad because I came back ever so often. You know, during those 21 years – vacation, came to visit my family etcetera. And I was always, well I was always different growing up as a child. So coming back, you know you are different, but I’ve traveled other places for work or for vacation, more likely for work. Your family find you different people around find you different, because they are thinking you’re not being shaped… the way you some people are still hear an accent in me and I don’t hear it but they do. And, but it’s shaped your mind, it shaped your thoughts, it shapes. your decisions .The mind processing the way you process things. It may not be in keeping with what your kinfolk in your own country, where you were born is used to. So you may come across some resistance from family, friends, et cetera. You may even lose some of them. So you have to be, you know, because you are different and different in a good way to you. You know, you have to decide, and you have to look at it and say, and who do you want to be? Who are you comfortable with? Are you comfortable with the person that you are? Then, because you have to live with yourself, you have to live with yourself. So once you can live with yourself, then you’re good to go. It doesn’t matter who falls off on the wayside or who comes up off the elevator along the way on the journey of life. You just need to keep moving.
Paula: [00:10:28] Great great stories, not story but you know great tips. I wanted, I wondered if you could elaborate on one particular thing that empowered you to become the person you are. Because you said when you got to Jamaica, there were things that happened to you that brought out things in you that you didn’t even know what, you know? You weren’t aware were there. You’re always a bold person, you’re always aggressive, you’re always was forward-thinking. But it brought out something in or some things in you. Is there any particular thing that you can put your finger on that you can say today has influenced you to be the person you are today?
Corine: [00:11:07] I don’t think it’s any particular thing I can put my finger on, it’s a combination of things. I think it’s just generally the environment what it forces you to do. The life there is not as easy in Trinidad. We have a more lazy attitude. Whatever will be, will be here, “que sera sera”. But in Jamaica, it’s you’ve got to go there and make it. It’s not quite that. I mean, for me even the air is. You feel it. It cannot be laise a faire, whatever will be, will be. And you sense the difference in the different systems. Caste systems or status quo you know. The rich make sure that they stay rich I don’t know. Yeah, no, probably just staying there because they’re just making sure that the poor remains poor you know. So you don’t have to fight, it’s a constant fight. Anybody that understands the history of Jamaica, it was all. You look back to all the Caribs were there and they were more aggresive sort of people compared to the Arawaks. They were more peaceful. Not that we didn’t have Caribs here, but they were very few. And I don’t think they managed to stay very long or lasted. And, so Jamaica has a more aggressive for, you know, even the slaves. Slavery kicked off I believe more with the Jamaicans. You know the labor, cane sugar, Jamaica was known as cane sugar because there were sugar plantations there. Also indentured labor after slavery you know. We had people here being paid to work, more Indians came here, you know that type of thing. More of the Indians and Chinese, which is really what the kind of landscape and that still remains in the society. It’s a fight to survive, it’s difficult to achieve things that you want to achieve, it’s fight you know. And when I say I fight is not like physically fight with somebody, although sometimes it may result to that depending on who and what the circumstance is but it just waking up everyday planning, strategizing and how to get this, how to make it work, what to do …it’s like a constant running up and down, you know, trying to get their children. Some of them get their children out of the country to get to the US to make it. If they get one person out, that person will be able to help the others or send money back. You know that type of thing.
Paula: [00:13:38] It’s different.
Corine: [00:13:39] It’s just different. I’m not saying it to pull down Jamaica or Jamaicans, . It’s just different. And the, you asked me what was it that made, you know, figure things out. I mean, you walk in that society. That has that sort of underlying culture and you realize you have to fight for whatever. Because nobody’s going to take you on if you’re slip sappy. If I want, if we could call it that you could just lay back, they are going to walk all over you. They’d be like, really? You know, you clearly don’t want whatever that is in front of you, bad enough, but I in the line back of you, more than you, so I am just going to push you aside or step on you. So you can’t be passive, you can’t be passive in a society like that because people will sense it, see it, smell it, feel it, and they are going to take advantage of you,
And you can’t have that. And I’m not trying to make it seem as if everybody is fighting with swords and irons and shields. No, it is not that. It’s just that it brings out a part of you, that if you want something in line you have to go and get it. You can’t be lying down, sleeping, thinking, well it will come to me, you know. Somebody would bring it, knock on the door and it will come to me. No, you have to go over there and get it.
Paula: [00:14:57] So you eat what you kill in other words, you got to go find it, you got to hunt for it. You got to desire it and if you desire it go get it.
Corine: [00:15:06] Go get it, right? And let nothing stop you. And yes, there may be hurdles in the way, you work around those hurdles, but you go get it.
Go get it. And it’s a good quality. I’m not making it out to be bad, it’s a good quality. You see so many strong women. I, you know, and Jamaicans are very resilient people. So you put them in any situation, and they are going to survive, they are going to survive They are going to survive and you have to have that in the world.
Paula: [00:15:37] Absolutely true.
Corine: [00:15:38] You know, you just have to have that in the world. So even as Trinidad is really laid back and whatever. A combination of Trinidadians with Jamaicans and Trinidadians might say ” Oh, let’s work it out, let’s .. ooh “So that is my take. That’s a nice way to go though, let’s see and let’s talk about it, and they’d be like really? They already, while you are there trying to talk Jamaicans , next thing you know, don’t make us already decide. This is what’s going to happen. Get up, let’s go! Get up.
Paula: [00:16:11] But the Trini is sitting down there, as you say, debating the pros and cons.
Corine: [00:16:16] Yeah, yeah let’s talk about it. Jamaicans
Paula: [00:16:27] Wow.
Corine: [00:16:27] Yeah and they’re willing you know if there are people who will be sacrificed as a result, you know, Yeah,
Paula: [00:16:36] I got it. I got it.
Corine: [00:16:38] They have a different mentality, which I think a lot of people need to adopt of course, in a very safe way, considering other people. You know, because I’m not saying to anyone who maybe listening to just go after what you want and be like .crab in a barrel And do what you want and treat people anyhow them be like a on the way to where you want to go. Be very careful in what you do and once what you’re doing is not impacting anyone then you go ahead. But consider all the angles please be careful before you go and do anything. But of course keep your vision in line, don’t let anything stop you. But at the same time, don’t destroy other people on the way to get there.
Paula: [00:17:15] Got you. I love that, I love that. Go get what you need to get without destroying other people, because.
Corine: [00:17:26] Exactly
Paula: [00:17:26] Looking over your bio where you’re described, where you are a public relations consultant, you’re podcaster, or you’re a speaker, you’re an author, a publisher, a business coach. Do you think that some of those things came about because of you know, your association with or, because you lived in Jamaica and as you said, you had to survive?
Corine: [00:17:56] Yeah, well, the majority of my life that’s like almost saying like half of my life. Of course, that had a major influence on me because I went there, in my early 20s you know. So it did influence me, you know? I’m just opening my eyes to what it is I’m learning from people and yeah, I’m growing. So yes, it did influence everything that has culminated into who I am and I’m very thankful, I regret nothing. I have worked with, you know, in Jamaica I’ve worked with dignitaries, ministers, prime ministers, diplomats, you know? Those are the type of people I was around; you know. So I’ve always been around top persons and I think in society and It’s the same thing, you know. I’ve got a network of persons that I can always call on, reach out to and it’s the same thing since I came back, you know. Working with persons who are even prime wives and that type of thing and yeah. So I’ve been to work in that area and so the follow up ethics that comes with public relations fit into all that, because I have to deal with that in terms of ministers of government and prime ministers and dignitaries like high commissioners and things like that. So it just works, everything does culminate into what I’m doing.
Paula: [00:19:29] I don’t know if this is a Trinidadian saying, but I know, I know this word that I used to hear my mom use it there. So, you know, so it’s like the whole shebang. All right, I wasn’t sure where I picked that up, along my journey. Okay, so you know. A question I love to ask my guests is that, do you consider yourself a success? I mean, just looking at all the things that you do, you. I’ll read it again to whoever probably just came in the room and heard this podcast being broadcasted then. Corine is a public relations consultant. She’s a podcaster, a speaker. She’s an author, she’s a publisher and she’s a business coach. Do you consider yourself as success Corine?
Corine: [00:20:12] Yes I do, but it’s not because of all the accolades that I am successful. Am I comfortable ? It comes back to if you’re comfortable with yourself because the thing about it Paula if all of those things were taken away from you, all those things were stripped from me. Podcaster, speaker, author PR consultant. If allthat was stripped of me, would I be nobody? No, at least not for me. You know, I’m also someone and I also stand very solid. I thank God for that because I couldn’t do any of this without God. So I am very thankful to be comfortable with me when I look myself in the mirror, when I wake up every morning by the grace of God. And when I go to bed, I don’t have to worry about who I destroyed. Did I do this to this person? I can sleep quite peacefully at well at night. And then the morning and go to bed thankful in the night. And if I don’t walk around with labels all over me, podcaster, PR consultant. I don’t, I don’t even tell people all these things it’s only because I’m on your podcast, or when I do interview people will learn these things. Everyday. I don’t project myself around people, I just like people to know me as for me. Because Corine is who I am, and I would always be with or without those things. So to answer the question about whether I’m successful. I’m very successful, extremely successful, because I’m quite comfortable with me and I am happy to be who I am today. I am happy to have all the experiences, and I’m happy to have great challenges or otherwise to learn, to go onto be a better person.
Paula: [00:21:58] Fantastic. Corine, I liked that. I haven’t heard too many people say they’re a success just because they are who they are. I really do like that because it shows self-confidence and it also shows an ability to know that, you know, these things. Accolades, these degrees, these titles can all be stripped away, but who you’ll be left with is yourself. So that’s a fantastic answer. And I’d love to hear a lot more people say that, you know, I am a success because I am who I am. Great.
Corine: [00:22:29] It takes a while for them; it takes us to the level of awareness for somebody to get to that. A lot of people still attach themselves to”, I’m doctor this. I’m professor that. If you don’t call them Mrs., it’s like, wow they are nobody you know. If they don’t have that ring, they just identify with more and more things, so they add on stuff. I’m teacher, I am daughter, I am this, which we should stop all of that, which we are at some point in time. what are you? who are you? It requires a level of stripping off your ego, because if it’s all ego that keeps adding those level of labels. We identify ourselves by these labels. If you know, you have to understand that the ego is a part of you, it lives with you, it exists with you. What’s not the same that I realize who you really are. Are you the ego? I’m not my ego. I have my ego yeah, but I’m not my ego. And so I am not, even though I’m in PR and communications, which is more limelight, media, clickety clack, you know, paparazzi out in the space or whatever. I really don’t like that you know. I don’t mind being in a background doing what I have to do on TV and radio, which I’ve done several times. It’s not a problem, but it’s not something I wake up every day just looking forward to do, you know. I do it because it’s a part of my job is what I have to do. But I avoid it as much as possible, but I do it. So you know, if some people have said that it, they feed their ego by, Ooh I’m on TV did you see me? Did you hear me? Did you whatever? Did you see my picture, ooh, ooh, ooh? No I don’t take pictures, I don’t like to take pictures, I don’t like the whole self-thing. I make sure that I take care of my body and my health, my mind, body, spirit, you know. I made sure I take care of it. But I’m not one for being out there, you know. I do what I have to do after I’ve done it, I receive right back. Some people might think I’m, what do you call it ? Introverted. I am either one
Paula: [00:24:43] Ambivert
Ambivert, yes I was extroverted when I needed to. But people
Corine: [00:24:49] need to check their egos and you will not get to a place of realizing that you are successful with or without all these labels until you check that ego.
Paula: [00:24:58] I totally relate with that because I don’t like public. This surprises people. I don’t like being in the public limelight. I don’t really like social media. I only do social media because I need to do it, other than that I don’t really like it. But I also know I have a calling; I have a message you know. And so I want that message out there. Especially, I live in the states I, my messages as I said to immigrant women to say, you have a voice. Podcasting and has helped me with my voice. I did not like speaking in public. So and so, because of my message, I’ve had a few people come to me and say. Oh man Paula if you do this, I can do it too. It has given them confidence and that makes me know that all right, I need to keep doing what I’m doing. So I relate to what you said.
Corine: [00:25:43] Yeah yeah. And it’s the same thing with me you know. We have a purpose and I think once we found or are finding what our purpose is and aligning also with the creator, God , divine, whatever it is with people, you know, if they’re aligned spiritually. Once you’re aligned with that, you get to know your purpose may change and evolve as you go along and you’re learning, you know. And you’re finding yourself. And once you know what it is and you don’t worry about these labels and stuff like that. You know that you are here for a reason and you’re impacting people whichever way and you just celebrate that.
Paula: [00:26:25] So true, so true. So we’re getting to ready to wrap up. Where can my listeners find you online? Or even offline.
If persons are trying to
Corine: [00:26:39] reach me, the best and quickest way is through my website, as you mentioned earlier, and I’m sure you will share with otherwise. So it’s lafontandassociates.com. Spelled out it’s” laf as in father F O N T A N D associates. You can go there all my social links are there, my podcast is also there. There is Information that I share with persons in terms of PR, I educate people as well interms of PR on there. My services and films of my public speech and services are there. There are packages that people can select that best suit their budget and their pockets. And there is a contact us page, from the time you go to the website, there’s a little box that opens up that you can feel free to send emails they come directly to me. And I’m extremely, extremely responsive when it comes to emails and people contacting me. My numbers are also visible on the site when you go on my site. I have my Trinidad number and my US number, preferably the U S number. If I don’t get you, if you don’t get me, sorry, on the Trinidad number, you will definitely be able to leave a message on the U S number and I will call you back. They are people who are still reaching out to me even though i’m not writing for the Jamaica Glean anymore because I was doing that for six years. You can still find my articles on google, whatever search they may be doing on my name comes up and I think they are shocked and surprised when I do respond even though they are looking forward to our response, but I think that’s pretty shocked. Yeah, that I respond, that a human actually responds, that I actually respond personally, you know.
Paula: [00:28:21] That’s awesome. Especially in this day and age, you know with bots and, you know, automated response replies, et cetera. Yes, awesome
Corine: [00:28:30] I like when people have a smile on their face when they actually see me respond. They might send me to email now and I respond right after and be like, whoa you know, I’m really impressed. I’m like, yeah.
Paula: [00:28:42] That’s awesome. So is there any question before we really wrap up, is there any question that you would have liked me to ask that I haven’t asked? Like you know, something that you really would like to talk about?
Corine: [00:28:53] No, I think we covered everything and I shared more than I should have, but that’s okay I want persons to be able to get to understand me a bit. And You know, should they maybe think about migrating. It’s really a no-brainer just give it a go and think of it as an adventure you know. You’re going on a trip and you’re just open, tasting things that you’ve never tasted before, spitting it out if you don’t like it. You know doing crazy stuff. Just testing, testing your limits, you know. Being afraid of things that you were not afraid of and getting moved by those. You know just being you, just enjoy it and you get to laugh as you laugh at yourself too, you know. If you want to laugh at yourself. Nobody else could someone laugh at it, you know. Yeah, so just enjoy it.
Paula: [00:29:47] So true, so true. So that was Corine La Font. But for my listeners, if you have enjoyed what you just heard from no one other than Ms. Corine, LeFont. Please head over to Apple podcast, Google podcast, Spotify, or anywhere else that you may listen to your podcasts and click subscribe. If you are an immigrant woman from the Caribbean or from Africa, and you have found it these stories interesting please let us know in your reviews. And if you would like to be a guest on my show, “chatting with the experts”, head over to www.chattingwiththeexpert.com/contactus and let’s chat. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much, Corine. This was absolutely wonderful.