In this week’s Hot Seat, BrightPath Lead Consultant Vivian Chamas-Touzé gives insight into who she is, what she does and what makes her tick.
Who is Vivian Chamas?
I’m a complex thinker who implements simple execution. I believe in clean, concise plans regardless of how sophisticated the idea or concept may be. I’m a big believer in the phrase “Potential is interesting, but performance is everything.” I’m also a capitalist idealist…
Where were you born and how did you end up here?
I was born in Miami, Florida, and I was raised in Belize. I’d been in banking for 17 years and it was with Scotiabank that I came to St. Maarten in 2012.
I attended high school at an American private school in Honduras and subsequently attended college in California. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2001 from Notre Dame de Namur University. I chose business because I was only 15 when I entered college, and very uncertain as to the career I wanted to forge for myself, so business seemed broad enough to not limit myself to a specific field from early on.
How long have you been in the business field? What do you like about it?
All my life! My family owns businesses in Belize and I grew up in that environment. I love that business comes with equal parts risk and reward. It’s just a matter of where in the circle you stand at that given time.
What is BrightPath? How did you get involved?
BrightPath is an idea on a sheet of paper that almost didn’t come to fruition. During my first six months in St. Maarten, I got to observe the local business sector from a commercial banker’s perspective. Before being assigned to St. Maarten, I had worked in banking in both the USA and other Eastern Caribbean countries. In comparison to other islands in the region, it seemed evident to me that St. Maarten had a lot to offer from an investor’s point of view – it was just a matter of showing it to the rest of the world – and that’s what BrightPath is all about. We market St. Maarten as an investment hub, and offer turnkey integrated business solutions. Our core product is an investment package comprising feasibility and market study, business strategy and incorporation, related banking services, and residency via the investment where required. Additionally, we outsource the design and construction of the business, shipping and receipt of inventory, and staffing the business once operational.
If you, via BrightPath, can establish businesses for anyone in the world, who would you want to set up for and why?
Carlos Slim Helú and Grupo Carso are on the top of our list. Professionally, I have a lot of admiration for his investment choices and the diverse nature of the group’s business holdings. Personally, I hold profound admiration for the philanthropic contributions and actions he and his team have made in the arts, education and healthcare sectors.
How can the business climate here be improved for entities such as BrightPath?
I think we as a community need to embrace globalisation as a modern-day reality. The definition of a local St. Maartener is becoming broader and broader as more nationalities and cultures are integrating into our society. As a country looking to attract more investment, our ability to speak different languages and welcome different cultures makes us unique in comparison to many of our regional peers. We need to keep fostering an environment of integration and promote these cultural exchanges in order to maintain a more favourable climate for foreign investments.
Professionally, I made a commitment to myself that this would be the year I start my Master’s degree. Law is a structured and defined practice that compliments my field, so it’s where I have my goal set for 2016. Personally, I have a profound aversion for airplanes and it has resulted in limitations with regard to being able to travel. I landed in St. Maarten and never got off the rock since then. So, tackling this fear and getting on that jet-plane is on the to-do list for the near future.
What do you do outside of BrightPath?
I’m a mom! I have two absolutely wonderful kids: Saeed who is 12 and Sophia who is 4. They are a hoot and I genuinely enjoy hanging out with them all over the place.
I’m not much of a singer, but I can hum the heck out of any song.
Dream holiday venue?
Uninterrupted sleep is a holiday in itself! Between the kids, and having clients in different time-zones, it’s about as much as I can ask for at this stage.
If you were to be stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you take?
A developer, a banker and a marketing major. We’d subdivide it, finance the buyers and market it as an emerging real-estate investment destination. Sounds like I’m preparing for BrightPath, the sequel.
Reading – and lots of it! Without good literature and verifiable information, you’re only a puppet of others opinions.
Fine print. I still like to practice business the old school way – on a handshake and let’s get it done – no fine print needed. Things shouldn’t be more complicated than they already are and I find that oftentimes the new generation of businesspersons spend more time mulling over the fine print than just getting the job done.
Ronald Reagan: “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
What’s your favourite type of music?
Absolutely, hands down, The Rolling Stones. There must be a Stones song for every situation in life.
If you could ask any three persons (dead or alive) to a dinner party, who would they be and what would you cook for them?
As an American and an actively registered voter, I can’t help but take a stab at the current political issues in the US today. I’d have to say the Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump; former Mexican president Vicente Fox and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. I’d give anything to see the first two thrash out their positions over the famous wall and of course, like anything newsworthy today, it definitely belongs on Facebook. On the menu? Tacos, of course!
Source: The Daily Herald