Local entrepreneur Annie Multon has been awarded for her work on an international scale.
The International Federation of Business and Professional Women last month awarded Mrs. Multon the Power to Make a Difference Through Leadership “Excellent Business Leader” award at its 28th International Congress.
A tinge of sadness was added to the event as it was held on the island of Jeju, Korea, just a month after a Korean ferry capsized killing 260 people.
“A lot of people who were at congress talked about the ferry sinking … We stayed on the same island where the ferry was either going to or coming from,” said Mrs. Multon.
“As women and mothers, our hearts went out to these people. I think people at the congress didn’t want to mention it as much and wanted everything to go smoothly as they had worked for six years to get this congress on schedule. I also think they did not want to upset people,” she added.
Mrs. Multon is a local entrepreneur, tourism industry veteran, activist for women’s rights and member of the Grand Cayman branch of Business and Professional Women.
“For someone who does not cherish flying, it was a long trip but a pleasant trip, “ said Mrs. Multon. “I was totally amazed watching the map of the flight when we went over the North Pole – and I remember thinking, ‘oh, my god, we’re going over the top of the world.’”
“One thing I must say about the Korean people, is that they are the most hospitable people, and I’ve met thousands of people in my life, especially in my line of work in the tourism industry,” she said.
Mrs. Multon was the first of three women honored in front of a crowd of hundreds. She was nominated from a pool of nominees from more than 100 countries.
“While I’m totally elated to receive this award, I’m also humbled. It has made me more determined to continue my work with the BPW club and to give it all of the time and effort that I possibly have and I’m really proud to be a member of this club and proud of all the hard work that the other members have done,” she said.
Grand Cayman BPW President Andrea Williams said, “For over 40 years, Miss Annie has worked tirelessly to promote the rights of women in the Cayman Islands. She has set the example for all women in the Cayman Islands through her unwavering commitment to promoting gender equality through education, lobbying for legislative reform and being a successful business woman.” “Miss Annie became a founding member of BPW Grand Cayman in 1976 and has been the stalwart of the club ever since. She has served as president of the club on four occasions and she currently serves as co-chair of the club’s Scholarship Committee and Fundraising Committee,” she added.
Mrs. Multon has helped award more than 20 scholarships to women in the Cayman Islands with one of the first recipients appointed to the former Premier of the Cayman Islands, Juliana O’Connor-Connolly.
Disparity between men and women
Despite all her hard work as an advocate for women’s rights, Mrs. Multon said more work would be needed.
“I feel there is still a glass ceiling that needs to be broken in terms of women’s rights in the workplace. As women, we just have to be assertive and show ourselves for who we really are; workers and leaders, and try and break that cycle. It’s going to take time and effort but everything does and we just can’t sit down forever and become complacent,” she said.
She added, “There is a disparity between men and women, especially in the work place, when women do the same job as a man but their salary is two thirds of her male counterpart.” Mrs. Multon hopes her award will inspire other local members of the international organization to continue fighting for women’s rights.
“A little dot like the Cayman Islands to be acknowledged by this international club is something really special, and I hope this will be an inspiration for the other members on island to continue their work in the club,” she said.
She also said it was important to remember past president Edna Moyle and Sybil McLaughlin, who was her mentor and encouraged her to stick with the club.
Cayman to host regional congress
At the congress in Korea, it was announced that Cayman would host the North America/Caribbean Regional Congress next year.
“This will be the first time that the business and professional women’s club of Grand Cayman would have hosted anything of such a magnitude,” said Mrs. Multon.
The regional congress will attract hundreds of female business professionals from surrounding countries. The dates of the congress will be announced shortly, officials said.
“Hosting the regional congress will be especially important for the women of our country – women will be coming from lots of other countries and will share different experiences, and will be able to speak on different topics that will touch on some of the lives of women living here,” said Mrs. Multon.