Sheena Alana Alleyne is the Executive Director of A-Neesh Inc., and the home of the Student Centre, which offers a variety of support services and products for individuals pursuing tertiary studies abroad and graduates entering the world of work.
Alleyne chatted with Barbados Today to discuss her business and talk a little about herself.
Barbados Today: Tell me a little about yourself.
Sheena Alleyne: What can I say? I am a person that loves a challenge and is always searching for new knowledge and ways to grow spiritually, personally and professionally. I never really take no for an answer, even if I appear to accept the no initially. I’m always up for trying new things and exploring new places. I am also a family person, I believe in being committed in family.
BT: Tell me about your business.
SA: I started a company about four years ago that would dedicate itself to the world of higher education. I wanted to assist anyone in the Caribbean looking to study abroad, anywhere in the world. Education is an investment and preparing for college and or university can be a tedious process for anyone, especially international students.
Parents also require a lot of assistance as well as there are many in between steps that aren’t often advertised when recruiters from the various institutions come on visits. This business was established as a go-between for individuals, parents and institutions. We offer services which range from academic advising, college application preparation, college and university selection, educational tours etc.
The company has internationally-trained and certified persons on hand to advise persons interested in studying abroad, whether it is for boarding school to university at the PhD level.
BT: How did you get into the field you are in?
SA: When I was studying abroad, I always found that beyond secondary school, there really wasn’t any resource person or company that you could go to. You had to depend on a family friend or a friend of a friend. From my first degree, I realised how big of an investment this was and I knew from then that I wanted to get into the field somehow.
BT: Where do you see your company in the short-term (in a year) and long-term (next five years)?
SA: In the short-term, working on increasing visibility of the organisation across the Caribbean region as the go-to source for persons interested in pursuing higher education whether locally or abroad. Within the next five years, I hope to have also established a physical presence in another Caribbean country.
BT: We hear a lot about life balance. What does that mean to you? Are you able to have a work/life balance at this stage?
SA: Life balance, for me, is understanding that the various dimensions of your life will change from time to time and that balance is how you react to and/or treat those changes.
BT: What’s your life’s passion?
SA: At this point, I’m not sure … there are so many things I would like to do. Basically, I would like to become a successful business-oriented social activist. I believe that even if you dream to sell cupcakes, you’re helping someone in some form, shape or fashion. The whole point of business is to cater to a need. My aim is to contribute to development, both economic and social, through business.
BT: Favourite movie?
SA: I don’t really have a favourite movie per se, but I could watch the following movies all day, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Bridget Jones Diary (Part 1 and 2 and any movie with Julia Roberts.
BT: Favourite music?
SA: Alternative and techno.
BT: Favourite pastime?
SA: Growing up, my sister and cousins from next door use to tape of our voices and pretend to do a news segment. Each of us would have a part. I always enjoyed doing the taping and then listening to it afterwards. We use to be giggling through it for the most part. Also helping granny (God rest her soul) to bake when it was raining.
BT: Favourite place to visit at home (Barbados) and abroad?
SA: My favourite place to visit at home in Barbados is Ragged Point by the light house. My favourite place abroad . . . that is a tough one. There are so many that I love. I’m between Dunns River Falls in Jamaica and 59th Street Columbus Circle in New York City, my old school is there.
BT: Name the top ten things on your bucket list.
SA: Wow . . . here we go
1. Cook a four course meal for my family and a few close friends in my home
2. Run a marathon
3. Touch the continent of Africa and possibly see if I can do business there
4. Be able to do a box jump on the highest box
5. Face my fear of heights (probably see if I can sky dive)
6. Face my fear of dogs (probably see if I can own a dog)
7. Work on a fascinating piece of literature that could probably get me my PhD.
8. Open an office in an international destination
9. Visit a wine vineyard and spend an entire day tasting wine
10. Write and publish a best-seller
BT: The one thing that ticks you off, gets your mind reeling?
SA: Rude children
BT: Date night? Does it still happen? When was your last date night?
SA: Of course date night still happens.