I have had the good fortune to work with Ms. Joan Underwood of Underwood Talent Development Services (UTDS) in the capacity of fellow coach and facilitator specifically in the areas of Talent management and human resource development. Joan’s understanding of the primal context of human resource development is second to none. This coupled with an intimate and grass root feel of the socio-political frameworks which undergird our Caribbean region, makes Joan and her practice, the go to firm for organisation’s who really want to hone and realize the potential of their human capital.
The business of talent development is not one that is often given much attention by organisation’s until crisis stage at which time the ask is often for a quick fix. With UTDS the focus is not only on just in time solutions but timely and sustainable solutions that are created with the client in mind. The environment created through the UTDS programmes are punctuated with best practice methodologies with high doses of common sense intended for practical application. For this reason, what is shared by Joan and her team not only sticks with the participants engaged in the training/coaching but transforms and modifies their outcomes – a true mark of success in human behaviour modification.
I first came in contact with Joan in 2015 when I was accepted in the Caribbean Leadership Project’s Leadership Development Program. As one of the Program Facilitators my first session with Joan will indeed have a lasting impact. Her decisiveness that day by making one simple statement “..you are here – relax with me through this journey as we build a new generation of Caribbean leaders..” and indeed that outcome was achieved, by her high level of commitment, her professionalism and her leadership style, the LDP journey was an awesome journey with Joan. She is an exceptional leader and motivator. Joan has my highest recommendation as a development and change agent professional.
Joan Underwood is a strong technical specialist in public sector management, civil service reform and in the overall area of government efficiency. As a government counterpart in Antigua and Barbuda she has served her country well in diligently and doggedly pursuing reforms to increase management efficiency for the betterment of the people she served. Joan’s style of directness, tact and a high amount of intellectual acumen gets people’s attention. I hope to have the opportunity to work with Joan again in the future.
If you have a program or project that you really need to be implemented carefully and on-time, then Joan Underwood should be seriously considered for its implementation. I have had an excellent experience in working with Joan to support the execution of energy policy work in the Caribbean. I give Joan my highest recommentation.
Joan was the key client contact/director in a consulting project to address issues of public service employment and payroll management in the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, in 2011. She directed the assignment with a high degree of resourcefulness, diligence and amity. Joan not only guided the successful completion of the assignment but also made me enjoy performance of the tasks. She is an exceptionally endowed public servant.
I had the opportunity to work with Joan in a number of capacities and was very impressed by her attention to detail, unwavering focus and dedication to achieving the best result for her employer or client. As an Ambassador representing the interests of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, Joan was hard working and was instrumental in negotiating significant financial and technical support for Antigua and Barbuda.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with Joan on several projects. As a team leader she approaches her work with with a clear goal of completing the planned tasks on-time and within budget. Joan is very well organized and clearly knowledgable about her work. You can count on her to provide timely communication to all the relevant persons required to complete a project.
As a negotiator she communicates clearly and effectively to the other side while at the same time keeping in mind the interests of the parties. She has the ability to act decisively. She is able to build relationships based on diplomacy and mutual respect.
Joan is a leader who can be depended on to get the job done.
I first came into contact with Joan Underwood in 2005 when I responded to a scholarship offer given by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to study in Mexico. As Non-Resident Ambassador to Mexico, Ms. Underwood was integral to the process and immediately made an impact on me. Her level of organization, attention to detail and professionalism made the application process and the eventual transition to Mexico, a manageable experience even in light of all the challenges that we faced. While we studied in Mexico, she was a valuable resource giving support to the group of almost 30 Antiguans and Barbudans as she constantly encouraged us to remain focused on the task at hand while striving to make ourselves, our families and our country proud. In 2011, I was afforded another opportunity to work closely with Ms. Underwood after I was hired as Operations Manager at PDV Caribe Antigua and Barbuda Ltd. where she was a Director on the Board. This experience afforded me the opportunity to become more familiar with her goal-oriented approach to tasks and projects. She was mindful to ensure that Antigua and Barbuda always had a voice and that negotiations were done based on what was in the best interest of the people of Antigua and Barbuda.
Joan worked with us recently in the preparation and delivery of a high level mission to China to discuss leadership development in Latin America and the Caribbean’s public sector, and explore opportunities for collaboration with the Chinese government. Her in-depth knowledge of the topic, her actual expertise as practitioner and her superb interpersonal skills were crucial for the success of our mission. We are now starting a partnership with China’s Executive Leadership Academy Pudong (CELAP) and we are looking forward to continue working with Joan on this project!
Joan Underwood has long been a lecturer/facilitator for the programmes offered by the Cave Hill School of Business. Over the last six months I have had the opportunity to work more closely with Joan on two projects; one focusing on leadership development and the other on change management in a client organization. Throughout that time I have found myself repeatedly impressed by the knowledge that she possesses, her skills in putting learners at ease, helping them be open to learning, her comfort with new concepts and her ready access to cutting edge information which is always easily incorporated into her consulting, coaching, training and facilitation sessions to ensure that participants and organizations have ready access to up-to-date and relevant information. I would unconditionally recommend Joan as a leadership development specialist and as a change management practitioner.
As Regional Project Manager, I found Joan to be adept at balancing the need to be meticulous with the critical details while maintaining the “big picture” outlook in furthering the project aims. Her immediate and frank feedback usually leads to improved results. Of the many salient features of her professional persona I would also highlight her passionate commitment to Caribbean integration, her light-speed learning ability, her total reliability and her assertive and regal presence that commands attention when she takes front stage.
I have known Joan professionally for over a decade and can attest to her consummate skill as a professional in the field of Human Resource Management. Having worked with her as a colleague at the CLP since 2012, I believe that her success in her role as RPM goes far beyond her competence in project management, but speaks to her superior leadership qualities, her keen understanding of and competence in leadership development and adult learning principles and practices, but more so her overriding passion for the improvement of this region.
Joan Underwood is a dynamic innovator, strategic thinker par excellence, a regionalist at heart. I think of no greater resource to the Caribbean Leadership Project
I have known Joan since I entered the second Cohort of the LDP program for senior government officers. As Project Manager of the CLP she demonstrated her managerial and organizational skills, team spirit, the application of academic knowledge in practice and above all her leadership qualities. She can get things going in a very efficient and effective way. To me Joan is the right woman on the right place. She and her team are leading the project in an exceptional manner and therefore raising the bars in our region.