Simone Thomas – the giver who keeps on giving
As a child, Simone Thomas was quite an adventurer – a tomboy and the consummate fixer who could pull appliances apart, put them back together, and have them working better than before.
Today, she is a banker, wife, and an avid church and community leader whose purpose here on Earth, according to her, is to ensure that individuals become better versions of themselves.
“I am the ‘wash belly’, the last of six children for my mom. I didn’t grow up with my father – had no real relationship – but the Lord provided a father in the person of my brother-in-law, Oswald Wallen. I had a great childhood, and I was quite an adventurous child, having climbed every tree imaginable – except the coconut tree. Not even falling three storeys high from a starapple tree could stop me from climbing,” she said with a laugh.
A past student of the Effortville Basic, May Pen Primary, Glenmuir High schools, and The University of the West Indies, Thomas said that she has learnt her best lessons from the Creator and how He ordains things.
“I thought of becoming a teacher, a nurse, or a dietician at one point, so I did a mix of science and business subjects in high school, just in case. Then, I wanted to be a chartered accountant, or so I thought. Years later, in my first year working at JMMB (Jamaica Money Market Brokers), my manager, Jaki Mullings, led me in another direction. Using my knowledge of accounting, my love for analysing numbers, and my new-found love of helping people set themselves goals and achieving them, financial advisory became a natural fit,” she said.
For 17 years, Thomas provided investment advisory services and led the team at JMMB Mandeville, before transitioning to JMMB Bank in August 2017, and finding new ways to be of service to others.
“This was my first experience in commercial banking, and [it] has brought depth to my financial industry experience. My wonderful team leader and general manager, Moya Leiba Barnes, has made the transition to banking easy and enjoyable. I have a wonderful team in the JMMB Financial Life Goals Centre in Mandeville who give me the freedom each day to be my best self.”
She continued: “I am a staunch promoter of stewardship – helping people to use what they have in their hands to get to their goals and achieve more. I am always seeking to influence people in a calm, smooth way to remember the One who gives strength and health to earn. Interestingly, I believe that this is what led me to the field of financial advisory, goal planning and achievement, and now, commercial banking.”
Thomas is an active member of the Lay Magistrates’ Association of Jamaica, Manchester Chapter, and serves in several capacities in her church.
“The committees on which I serve allow me to reach a wide cross section of the community and make a difference in the lives of others – the George’s Valley community, the Wesley Avenue & Environs Citizens’ Association, the Manchester Infirmary, and the entire island. I have served on the Friends of the West Indies Prep School board, Winston Jones High School board, and [was] recently asked to be a community representative on the board of the Mandeville Infant School,” she told Family & Religion.
With no biological children as yet, Thomas says that she has several church children and nieces and nephewswho keep her and her husband occupied, as family is their number one priority.
“Lance (her husband) and I use every occasion to interact with and spoil our nieces and nephews, much to the chagrin of their parents. Lance is very supportive of my involvement at work, at church, and in the community. We work together in a number of these areas: youth ministry, church leadership, and community impact. Each morning, we have family worship and start off the day with thanksgiving. We place everything before God – first things first.”
But when does she let her hair down?
“Each year, Lance and I do something new or go somewhere that we’ve never been to. We look forward to what is next. For my ‘big 40’ and soon after, our 10th wedding anniversary, we will do a cruise. I watch live cricket matches at Sabina Park, read, volunteer, go to the beach, and I enjoy watching American football and lawn tennis,” she said.
With a wish to relax more, Thomas says her life will always be governed by the values of honesty, integrity, love, resilience, and perseverance and looks forward to one day taking mission trips across South America and Asia.