Augusta Payne

Augusta Payne could aptly be described as Jamaica’s First Woman in Finance.

For years she was the only female to walk the halls of the executive chambers at National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited.

Acumen and Agility

With a proclivity for numbers, she read financial statements with ease. This complemented her ability to evaluate the numerous business proposals that came across her desk, allowing her to choose winning concepts that produced significant profits for the bank.

Her acumen and agility propelled her to the top ranks of the male-dominated industry. In 1978, when Barclays Bank transitioned to NCB, Augusta Payne was appointed deputy managing director.

Her C-suite experience must have looked quite different then. Yet she remained focused on the task at hand. It was a skill she had leaned on repeatedly when life swung its blows.

Early Years

Augusta had grit.

As a young mother, and wife to an ambitious but struggling student – she took on domestic work to supplement her family’s income. While her husband was ill, she attended his post-graduate classes, taking copious notes that allowed him to pass his exams.

Embracing equity

Though she demonstrated exceptional industry expertise, her definition of equity went beyond it. Balancing the challenges of work, family, and self, she knew that additional support would be necessary for other women to thrive. She lobbied for NCB’s first day care centre the Augusta Payne House, laying the foundation for NCB’s Early Childhood Development Centre, available to employees today.

With all her success, she cherished her role as mother, actively participating in her children’s lives.

Augusta challenged the myth that women do not belong in the world of finance; that that women cannot balance work and family life successfully, all while paving a path for other women to make their way to the top.