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Wickham fulfils lifelong dream
She has been writing since the age of six and Lisa Wickham has fulfilled a lifelong dream, writing a book—On a Positive Note! Words of Inspiration, to be launched on December 11, at Luce, Hilton Trinidad.
Before flying out to Bahamas, via Florida, on November 20, the popular producer said: “It was through writing that I ended up on Rikki Tikki on TTT. Auntie Germaine (Mitchell) invited me to read one of my poems and the rest is history.
“About three years ago my life took a shift and I decided to begin focusing on positivity. Every day I would put up little positive quotes on my Facebook and Twitter pages. The response was overwhelming with people connecting to these posts, though to me it was a lot of ‘self talk’. It was me talking myself out of a situation that was happening in my life at that time.
Last year, I thought this would make a great collection. I actually completed the book last year but only got around to publishing it this year.”
Though Wickham is a well-known face on television, writing is her passion. She said: “This is a side of me that not many people realise but I have been writing since I was a little child. I started with poetry. I write everywhere, napkins, notebooks, backs of menus. Sometimes you feel empty with nothing and I will stop for a while, but when I travel I get inspired and it would come gushing out. Or something would happen to upset me and I vent through writing.
“I used to be a junior writer for the Junior Express, the Sun and the Express as well when I was much younger. I also still write for the Guardian Life Business View Column, and have been a contributor since 1998. I have written several business articles for Caribbean journals and magazines. What’s also little known is that I have written some Christmas music for Kenny Phillip’s Christmas collection and I wrote a chutney soca a few years ago; one version of it was actually the theme song for The E-Zone. I co-wrote a groovy soca with Lemo as well.
“I used to well write calypsoes at school from Form One to Six. I just write.”
Wickham says just having life and observing life feeds and fuels her drive to write.
She said: “I draw my inspiration from my life experiences. My life has been very diverse straddling the creative, corporate and the academic. I have also lived in and travelled to several countries across Europe, Africa, India, North America and the Caribbean. I think this feeds into my work whether is writing, producing or directing or even just who I am and how I am with others.”
Wickham has led her company, E-Zone, in producing many major events. “My proudest moment to date was when we conceptualised, produced and filmed the 2007 and 2008 Cott Music Awards” she proudly said.
“Allison Demas asked if we could produce a Grammy-style award show. I interned at the Junos (The Canadian Grammy’s) and we also were then doing the various productions for BET and BETJ (BET’s jazz channel). We were able to pull it off.
“I have also been the supervising producer for Home Again, the Canadian film starring Tatyana Ali and shot in Trinidad and more recently one of the producers for Girlfriends Getaway, the US film starring Garcelle Beauvais. Of course there was The E-Zone TV Show which was actually licensed by BET and ran in the US on BET and BETJ.”
Wickham was also a co-producer of the popular Nescafe Party Time television teen talent programme. In addition, she produced and directed the series of award-winning Digicel DVP ads, the Blink bmobile Shadows World Cup 2012 ad, also an award-winner, among numerous others.
She added: “Another important project, which has nothing to do with film and TV, is when I was the head of the Global Quality Exchange (GQE) back in the 90s. This was a World Bank project. Total Quality Management and ISO 9000 is now being introduced to T&T as companies needed to be certified to trade internationally. A training unit was set up jointly with the Institute of Business (now the Arthur Lok Jack) of which I was then the general manager and the T&T Bureau of Standards, the GQE and I headed that initiative. That was another proud moment because we worked with several companies and it was pioneering.”
Wickham successfully manages to marry her professional with her domestic side, she being the mother of a teenage daughter, Gabrielle Branche, who not surprisingly is also artistically inclined. “My daughter is my life,” said Wickham. “She is also the apple of my mother’s eye. Gabi is both creative and scientific. I guess she has both her father and mother in her. She told me once ‘mommy I top you because you started writing when you were six and I started when I was five.’
“Gabi was in Phantom of the Opera, and she went to Latvia for the World Choir Games with St Joseph’s Convent to represent the country and region and she also was in the top 20 in the Level 2 Math Olympiad earlier this year. Oh, of course she is a Lilliputian with Aunty Noble (Douglas) and was in The Love Movement for years.
“Our quality time is on the way to school. No phone calls and no radio allowed so in the car on mornings, we just talk and talk about anything. I am very proud of her and she inspires me.”
With her trademark laugh, Wickham said: “Imagine that she inspires me? As a proud Holy Name Convent girl I have come to terms with the fact that she attends St Joseph’s Convent.”
So, what drives Lisa Wickham? She revealed: “My passion is developing others to their full potential. I have been doing that ever since I was very young. So many of the current industry exemplars have passed through our doors, some even before knowing what they wanted to do in life and I am very proud of them. At 18, I was the youth co-ordinator for the Laventille/Morvant pastoral Area.
“I really come to life when I see other people achieve their dreams. The painful part is when they turn their backs on you as some eventually do, but that is human and I work through it and get back on the treadmill again.
“My daughter started the St Theresa’s Youth Group so I help her and it’s great. Eight years ago, I also established the Lisa Wickham Achievement Award for Excellence in Academia and Extracurricular Activities for the SEA year at my primary school, St Dominic’s RC in Morvant. I do this quietly because it’s more about the purpose than the PR for me.
“I also love to travel to foreign countries. I am most creative on an airplane. I look at the clouds and by the time I land I have napkins full of ideas. I love to read. Exercising... hmmm, I should be doing more. I’ve trained intensively with Gerard and Steven but I fall off the wheel but intend to get back on again because a girl gotta look hot; right?”
Wickham is hoping that her book of poems will be an inspiration to all who read it. She said: “That is the essence of it all. I really want the book to help others through difficult or challenging times. I want people to keep it and just pick it up, open it on any page and the quote should speak to them for that day.
“I actually have had to use my own book over the last few weeks in the same way. People see me always smiling, but I too have my painful or dark moments. I have to keep myself motivated because I realise that many people live through me and I take that seriously. I have always had to live with that.
“People would come up to my mother when I was on Rikki Tikki and Party Time and say ‘I want my daughter to be just like yours’. At the time it was slightly annoying because it makes you a target. But as I grew up I grew into my role and now I understand the importance of inspiring others and I really do take it seriously.”
And so, Lisa Wickham continues to be a work in progress. She said: “I am currently working on me; redefining who I am and where I want to be in the next five years. It is a work in progress. But, I don’t get to take two months off and do that so I am also working on a series of testimonial ads for a major corporation that I think will be tremendously inspiring and we are in pre-production for another film as well as a TV series.”
Always abroad on business, Wickham said: “I am always jetting off somewhere. I think I have been in Trinidad for just two months combined this year.”
Now attending a conference in the Bahamas on Festival Arts of the Caribbean, earlier this year she was in Berlin representing the region at a Women in Leadership—Female Company Founders Programme.
This year, Wickham was also in Los Angeles assisting the TTFC to promote T&T as a film destination and also went to Atlanta for the premiere of Girlfriends Getaway there.”
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