If you know BettyAnn Caesar, you know that she is the embodiment of ‘Big things come in little packages’. Tiny in stature, but huge in personality, Betty recently made the history books at Belco as she became the first female to be elected President of the Electricity Supply Trade (Bermuda) in its 55-year history.
The 35-year-old Distribution System Operator began working at Belco a decade ago. She has been active at the executive level of the union for the past four years.
As SheHub congratulates Betty on her historic achievement, we have the honour of featuring her in our latest instalment of Ten Questions With…
When did you become interested in trade unionism?
To be fair, I have always had a love for history and helping and giving to others. My interest in trade unionism started with my granny, Anita Caesar, who use to talk a lot about Dr. E. F. Gordon and how he fought tirelessly for equal rights and how he helped his people. I have been interested in trade unionism since I was young, but became more involved and a deeper interest developed when I started to work at Belco.
Why is it important for jobs to be unionised?
From my personal experience it is important for jobs to be unionised because it fosters an opportunity of equality and allows individuals a platform to be able to stand up to unjust behaviours such as working conditions, lack of training, wages, etc. It is also important for jobs to have unions because I believe by having a union the membership are able to collectively hold the company accountable and it gives the company a healthy view of how their company is truly performing. It gives a voice to those who would otherwise be voiceless.
What made you run for President?
When I became more involved and active in the union executive, I was able to develop a greater appreciation for what being a union member really means. To be fair, I had said that I was going to be President of the ESTU one day, I just didn’t think it would be this soon. Many of my fellow members actually encouraged me to run for President.
You work in a male dominated industry. How did you end up working at Belco?
I used to work at Gosling’s and through wine tasting events, I met a lady named Fhia Works. My manager at the time would tell her how much I always tried to fix things and she suggested that I take the aptitude test at Belco. She encouraged me for a while and then I finally took it. I performed well and the rest is history. I started Belco in July of 2010 as an Electrical Fitter Apprentice. Currently I am not in the field. I work in the Operations Center at Belco; still very much a male dominated department but one of the best decisions I could have made though at times I miss the field.
Do you believe we still live in a time where women are seen as the weaker sex?
Having worked in a male dominated area for quite some time I personally have never been treated as the weaker sex. Women as a whole though, I believe it varies dependent on the environment and the way that an individual carries themselves.
You are the first female president. How do feel to have achieved his historical milestone?
To be honest, I am humbled and I look forward to the work ahead and the opportunity to serve the membership.
What attributes do you bring to the table?
I bring empathy, communication, the desire to see people to succeed individually and collectively, unity and the desire for people to be treated fairly.
What else do enjoy doing in your spare time?
In my spare time I enjoy giving back to my community, travelling and I am a true foodie, so I love trying anything exotic.
Do you think as a female President you will have to be more hard-nosed so you are not seen as the weaker sex around the table?
No not at all. I believe that the facts are the facts and that preparation is key. When I sit around the table I remind myself that just like everyone else around the table, I am here for a purpose and I remind myself that it is showtime. My late uncle Raymond Augustus used to say showtime a lot and we had a conversation about what it meant.
It was profound and sticks with me, “Live your best life, do you best because when the moment is done it is done. There are no do overs, you can’t get back that moment so shine baby it’s showtime.”
As a result I don’t think I have to be hard nosed. I believe I have to remember that you only get one shot so prepare and shine. Sometimes I may not have time to prepare and in those moments I have to take a quick pause at the table, get into gear, live in the moment and shine.
What has being involved in the union taught you about yourself?
That I am my biggest obstacle and my hardest critic, but ultimately my true passion is for people as a whole. I also realise I love being a street lawyer and defending injustice and standing up for the rights of people.
If you would like to be featured in SheHub’s Ten Questions With…series, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.