Welcome to this edition of Productive Business Magazine – The power of collaboration. It’s an honor and a pleasure to bring to you the best and the brightest from all around the world as we talk productivity in business. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a good friend of mine Heneka Watkis-Porter hailing all the way from Jamaica.

Heneka Watkis-Porter is a serial-entrepreneur, author, fashion designer, speaker, and podcaster. Currently, my home is in Jamaica, where I live with my husband Adolph. My personal journey is a testament to the power of self-belief, determination, resilience and the miracles of God. Raised in the rural parish of Jamaica (St. Mary) by my grandparents, I was born to a teenage mum and an absentee father. Prior to my birth, my maternal grandmother would often utter piercing and destructive words to my mom, “a wish wen di pickney a bawn it tun crass way an kill yuh”, for example. As if that wasn’t enough, with no support from the man who was equally responsible for my mom being in that state and with very little family support, whilst in the delivery room where everyone became anxious and excited at the same time, she was asked by a nurse, “What’s all the fuss about? It’s just a baby!”


PBM: Welcome Heneka Watkis-Porter how are you doing my friend?

HWP: Hi, I’m doing awesome. I mean literally, I’m just sitting in my office which I just rearranged; the wind is blowing in and I’m looking through my window and I love it. I absolutely love it. I’m doing great, how are you?

PBM: You know what I always say, better than I deserve, on top with all things underneath my feet; so, I cannot complain.  Heneka, you are doing some wonderful things, not only on the beautiful island of Jamaica but all across the globe; we are watching and the world is watching. Let’s talk about “Using Your Voice!” I wanted to talk to you today about this specific topic because I’ve watched you over the years amass your following and literally just blow up. So, let’s first talk a little bit about who you are?

HWP: I am “Your Inspirational Leader and Jamaican Podcast Queen” I live my life’s purpose of “life transformation through inspiration”. I do that through my writing, through events, through speaking engagements and now more than ever, I do that through the podcast which is currently aired in over 80 countries around the world. That is one of the things that I’m most proud of. I have a broad reach, have an impact and I’m able to connect with others globally through The Entrepreneurial Podcast.

PBM: I understand that you have a podcast, you’re a speaker, author, writer and what we would call a phenomenon. Most people only have one thing that they do. Let’s talk about literally how using your voice has allowed you to have uber success. If that’s a word, I’m using it today; Uber success! What has using your voice done for you in the past five years? Let’s go down the road and take a journey.


HWP: Alright, so let’s start at the beginning. Of course, I’m an entrepreneur. I’m the Founder of Patwa Apparel. I recognize that that created a platform and a pathway for me; a stepping stone to get into my greatness and to get into what I was truly called to do. When I applied to the University of the West Indies I really wanted to do mass communications but my application was rejected. I ended up pursuing Management Studies and Sociology as a double major. And I graduated with honors (upper second class honors). But you know, once it is inside of you, there is a passion for something that never goes away.

When I thought that it wasn’t existing or it had died, I realized that through doing media appearances for Patwa Apparel and being involved in media, I really loved media. I decided I’m going to be pursuing this one way or another. I started in 2014 a radio show called The Entrepreneurial You. It was on Power 106 FM, one of the most dominant stations that we have locally. That show came about because I had published the book “15 Hints to Entrepreneurial Success” Lessons From a Caribbean Business Woman”. I published that book out of my experience; I’ve gained so much and to whom much is given, much is expected.

I did that for three seasons; each year I would do a 13-week season where in 15 minutes, I would look at persons who are just starting up, those who have done it’s extremely well (been there, done that), and also had on the, in that 15 minutes, business service support organizations that they could share what they are doing to help business. So almost all of that was encapsulated in 15 minutes. I was having a conversation with a friend about the need to have a greater impact.

I needed to reach more people and I needed to also eliminate that barrier or breakdown that barrier of having sponsors. For that radio program, it was a challenge to get sponsors on board. I wanted to find a way to reach more people, have a greater impact at a reduced cost. Through that dialogue, I decided you know what,  it is going to be a podcast. And so the radio show, The Entrepreneurial You was turned into a podcast in 2017. There was never a break because really from 2014, 15 and 16, there was a radio version. And then in 2017, I decided to go hard. We’re not going home right now.

I decided that it’s time to go hard. The podcast has led me to interview some of the most global high impact leaders and entrepreneurs of course, including yourself. Dr. V, including Richard Branson, including Seth Godin, including Dr. Will Moreland. I’ve actually met and interviewed Les Brown although it wasn’t for the podcast it was because of the podcast.  I had a conversation with him when he was in Jamaica for the second time around. Those are just some of the things, but there are so many offshoots of that.

PBM: Some people would often say that I don’t know what I want to do –  you know what I would say to them, just be found doing! When you’re doing your passion, it will end up showing up! What most people fail to realize is that you’re already operating in your passion. You just don’t know what to do with it. So, when we look at what podcasting has done for you, it was an offset from becoming an author, which you did the work, you stepped out, and then it created another platform. So, let’s talk about that. You just gave us an idea of how you built the platform. Let’s talk about reaching top influencers, leaders, and innovators worldwide. Let’s back the train up a little bit because I want people to understand having an idea is one thing, doing the work is what brings it to fruition. And then even when you get there, you still can’t stop because just because you have this show doesn’t mean that everyone’s just going to flock to you because you have the show. So, let’s talk about how you promote that. Let’s talk about the situation where you mentioned about the sponsors because we understand anything worth having is worth working for and if you’re going to work for it, you should get paid for. So let’s talk about those things.

HWP: Well, before I move on, let me jump back to something you said. Just this week I was watching the Steve Harvey show and I saw a young man on who had performed at the Apollo theatre. He was making reference to what Steve had said some time ago and prior. “Imagine you’re standing or the edge of a cliff, all you need to do is jump, the parachute will open and guess what will happen after that? Your, your gifts and your passion will make room for the other things to happen; all you need to do is jump.” I thought it was just so deep and so profound.

You know, I started the podcast with a sponsor and I’ve had different sponsors at different intervals. And I have one permanent sponsor. It has not been easy because although you have a great product, nobody is sitting down and waiting to come to you. You have to put in the work. When I say the word podcast, a lot of people still give me the stairs. What are you talking about? They have no idea. The wonderful lady at the helm off of the stock exchange had no idea or know much about a podcast, heard very little if anything, but she decided to give it a try I love that about her.

She was not going to be throwing it out simply because she was unaware of its benefits, etc. She decided to commission a survey and in commissioning that survey, we confirm that this is something that we need to do. People are already listening are podcasts. There is so much value in it. So, on that basis, we pursued it and we’ve had them on board as sponsors for months now. But in addition to having that, for me, money is just a medium of exchange. It gives you the freedom to do some things, but it’s not the end all and be all. One of the things for me that this podcast has been able to do as well is get me stays in hotels.

I recently stayed in two hotels in Ocho Rios and Montego Bay. All I had to do was do my podcast recording there and to share my experience about the hotel. So that is sponsorship because I’m having these stays without paying for it. I gave them my honest review of the place. There are so many other ways financially that I have benefited. And one of the things I did in 2017, I decided to do something that I’ve never done before and I – I am not seeing where it was done anywhere in the Caribbean before – I did a virtual conference and expo.

Now, we know about virtual conferences, we know virtual summits, but having a virtual conference and expo was something that I am not seeing where it has been done before and I did it. And it was something that stretched me. I mean, again, you were one of the speakers that were brought from all these many guests on The Entrepreneurial You podcast, 18 different persons from four different countries over four days sharing their expertise, their skills with my community of peak performers. That for me was something that was awesome. It took so much effort into doing, putting it together. At one point I started to tear my hair out saying why did I get myself in this? Why am I always going after these things that are stretching me so much? And it stretched me to put it together and to bring it all together. I had the support of corporate Jamaica.

Yello was one of my partners as well JBDC , and these are major players in Jamaica. They were corporate sponsors of the virtual event because they saw the value in that.  I’ve been able to leverage my position and connection with all these global, high-impact leaders and entrepreneurs to do other things. So, of course, I’ve contributed to your publication Gigare Lifestyle Magazine. I’m a contributor to the Leadercast blog and that is also a huge thing. But not only that, my connection with all these players and what I’m doing got me a foot into the door of Leadercast. So now I am hosting Leadercast Kingston. That was one of the things that stretch me. It stretched me really hard. Now I’m hosting Leadercast Women.

And that’s it. Every time I think I do something that challenges me, I do something even more challenging after. That was by far the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in terms of putting it together. Getting the sponsors on board was a challenge, but at the end of the day we had an amazing event. We had to invest heavily into the event. But what we had was an event that was so well executed that the sponsors that were on board decided that they are coming back. We had the RJRGleaner Communications Group as title sponsors and they are the largest players in Jamaica. They have the radio, they have television, they have the press, they have online and they dominate. They are the dominant force in Jamaica where media is concerned.

Although it wasn’t a cash sponsorship. It was an in kind, but the value of their advertising and support was phenomenal. Their executives sat in the room and they decide, you know what, we have to come back on board for your next event. So, the Leadercast Kingston event was well executed with all my team members coming together and making it happen. Then everybody, and I’m just thinking. I remember sitting in the back of the room having an outer body experience and I’m like, I want to meet the organizers of this event. Oh, but wait a minute, you are the organizer of this event. At that point in the room, we decided to do Leadercast Women so we’re working on that right now.

PBM: Number one, you got to stretch yourself. That’s what Heneka is telling you, it doesn’t matter that you’ve never done it before. It doesn’t matter how grand it may seem the key is to get together and do the work, the team will follow. The second piece is knowing that you need a team in order to accomplish things. Using your voice initially is your part! I’m reminded of a business quadrant that I teach my clients, in order to have harmony you must have Strategists, Speakers, Doers, and Visionaries. If any one of those are missing you will have issues. Those who are willing to execute will win, but most people will leave one of these out.  You have to figure out who you are in the equations. Are you the Speaker, Doer, Visionary or the Strategist in the equation? Once you figure that out, then you allow the pieces just like playing chess to line up and fortify the vision, the goal, and the dream that you have.

So, number one you’ve got to stretch yourself. You’ve got to be willing to do the work and stretch yourself. Number two, you have to have the right team so that your dream can be manifested. Heneka, you said it well already, every time you get an opportunity to execute something, it seems as if something bigger and scarier comes along. I call that life and being progressive. I call that walking out your purpose. You know me, I’m a productivity guy through and through. I am a firm believer that if it’s easy, then it’s not worth it. If it’s hard, then it will stretch you. It will cause you to find the members of the team that you need so that you can move forward. As we look at Jamaica now, having the queen of podcasting doing her thing and bringing global influence from top leaders and innovators from around the world; what’s next? What do you see the future of Jamaica looking like?

HWP: Wow, that’s a big one. You know, I will continue to impact where podcasting is concerned because like I alluded to earlier, one of the things that happen is when I talk about a podcast, people are still looking at me like, huh, what are you talking about?  I have taken it upon myself to educate our population about the benefits of podcasting. I have been sharing that in the media for some time. I’ve done several media appearances for that and I am doing another media appearance on what we call Daytime Live here, I will be doing another popular tv show appearance, talking about the workshops that I’m having. I’ve started one in July and am doing one on the 11th of August and I want to do one every month for the remainder of this year.

I’m building a community. Last year as well, I organized a meetup for podcasters as we celebrate International Podcast Day on September 30. I’m also pushing that initiative for this year. I want us to see in Jamaica, where new media is concerned, to see podcasting as a viable alternative. The statistic shows that if you follow a brand on social media and follow one that you hear in a podcast, it is more likely that you will stick to that brand because you trust that brand more because you hear it on a podcast versus perhaps you see done on social media. Over the last 10 years, statistics prove that it’s a growing medium.

Ever since Serial, the tv series that started as a podcast – the journalist that decided in this murder case that she wanted to pursue to find out if justice was done. And because of that podcast which became the most downloaded podcast, people became aware of what a podcast is. So, I want that same kind of thing happening in Jamaica where people are turning to a podcast instead of just staying on traditional media.

And for me personally, I want to keep traveling the world. I see myself next year doing lots of overseas assignments. I want to do workshops, conferences, etc. with my overseas partners. So that’s what’s in store.

PBM: We’re moving now from not only using our voice but using our voice to train the next generation; which is now moving into education. You’re now training others how to use the very same platform that God has blessed you to garner you much success. I take my hat off to you for that because I understand to whom much is given, much is required and it is important that we pour back into our communities and the generations that are actually rising up. I want to applaud you for that. Now I know that you are a life-long learner. You recently took some time out to go and travel to India. Let’s talk a little bit about that, how that came about and how that has blessed you since.

HWP: I keep talking about that experience and just this morning I remembered a quote I saw and when I went to the Indira Ghandi museum. It was prompted me to be even more courageous and it says, “I’m here today. I may not be here tomorrow, but when I die, every drop of my blood will invigorate India and strengthen it”. Those words of Indira Gandhi who was assassinated just stood out. She was the first female Prime Minister of India and ahead of her time. So, for me, that was so profound that even today, you know, and the hashtag #Iamcourage even months after returning, is still resonating in my spirit and it still reminding me of who I am because sometimes we forget, you know.

But that came about through a scholarship I got to attend, through a friend of mine from St Vincent who made me aware of that scholarship and I applied. She hooked me up. I applied for the scholarship here and I got through. I spent two months in India where I covered the curriculum on entrepreneurship and how to train trainers. So, the participants themselves were not entrepreneurs. Most of them were government workers who work with people to give grants or helping entrepreneurs. In the course, I was the only practicing entrepreneurial. But that experience has been phenomenal.

I was a very experienced entrepreneur, but being in that environment, getting the knowledge and information from a different perspective, you know, the East – which is totally different in terms of culture and how they view women, for example, was eye-opening. That was very different from being in that environment. I’ve never seen anywhere so culturally diverse than I did in India and I know we are culturally diverse in Jamaica because you have the uptown which is different from downtown and it’s like really, really different, but multiply that may be a hundred-fold.

In terms of diversity – diversity of religion, diversity of thought, diversity of food, culture and the location – how you look at one place leave it and enter another and you wonder if you are still in India because it’s so different. Some areas are grossly polluted and devastated, whereas others are so pristine and you wonder if you are in the very same country. It was an amazing experience. I met people from around the world and it was a nice blend of, the “United Nations”.

PBM: It is always a pleasure to hear about your journey, what you have going on, and how you are inspiring others. We thank you for taking time out to be on Productivity 360 as well as Productive Business Radio. Listen, we want the audience and the readers to be able to get in touch with you should they choose to do so. Would you give us your social media handles or anything that you have them to look at to learn more about you and what you’re doing?

HWP: Oh, definitely. Thank you for that. It’s henekawatkisporter.com, I’m on social media with my name on Instagram: @heneka_watkis_porter, Facebook: Heneka Watkis-Porter, Twitter: @theentrepyou. It’s surprising to see when I Googled my own name, how many pages of google it takes up. I’d be happy to hear from you. I love to hear from people whether it is the community that I’m impacting or if you’re just learning about me. I really appreciate that.

PBM: Well you guys heard it and read about it right here on Bshani, iHeart Radio worldwide and Productive Business Magazine. You’ve been listening to Productive Business Radio where collaboration is the new currency. Whatever you do, make sure you get out there and make a difference. Remember, using your voice is important. It’s how you impact the world. So, make today great, and catch us every Friday, right here on Productivity 360. Your life will be changed when you understand that you’re a change agent. Thank you all so much. You know what I always say, I want you to be innovative, be productive, but most of all, use your voice and live to produce.