“I met Mommy Gen almost 17 years ago. She radiated the warmth and love that permeated around Kennedy’s Head Office, at Cassada Gardens, as I was introduced to her back in November 2001; the new secretary joining the company. Before long, I discovered that Mommy Gen hardly, if ever, accepted “no” for an answer. She saw “possible” where others saw “unattainable,” a trait I highly admired. She was a source of inspiration. “It may be impossible, but do it anyway,” she said.
A few years into my employment with Kennedy’s – my youngest child, eight years old at the time, had to undergo an investigative surgical procedure. I recall sitting alone outside the operating theatre, with head hanging low, wallowing in self-pity, when I sensed a presence. I looked up. It was Mommy Gen! I knew for a fact that she had interrupted her usual busy schedule just to be there. Yet, she sat and waited with me until the ordeal was over. That was truly Mommy Gen. My recollection of that occasion often makes my eyes spring and my throat tight. It is an occasion I will remember with thanks and gratitude.
I must state that my personal and social interaction with Mommy Gen, over the years, is the source that altered my outlook, in a very positive way, on many aspects of life. Mommy Gen made working within the Kennedy’s Group of Companies a pleasant experience; the workplace one looks forward to going to. There have been many times when I had left my home in a despondent mood, only to have my spirit lifted, immediately upon reaching work, by the affable atmosphere, which Mommy Gen, no doubt, cultivated. She was a role model for me. She certainly had an impact on my life.”
– Joan Alexander – Supervisor at Island B-Hive, Heritage Quay
“Mommy Gen was much more than my employer as one of the co-founders of Kennedy’s Club Limited; she was my source of inspiration. Family is the most important thing on Earth; always strive to be the best by putting God first in everything you do – was one of her lessons that I will never forget. Those hugs with the infectious smile will always remind me that in my quest to be successful in life one must always remember to lend that helping hand to others. We were all created for caring and sharing.” – Cindy Grant – Executive Assistant
“Mommy Gen was an extremely bright, personable, and disciplined individual with high standards, who committed herself beyond expectations and did so with a genuine attitude not only in the workplace but with individuals. For me, she was the “star” within Kennedy’s. She is still my personal role model to this day as her legacy of knowledge lives on within me. I certainly cannot walk in her shoes but I try to follow the footsteps she left behind. Mommy Gen’s constructive alignments and profound personality did, and will continue to, impact my day to day living.”
– Cicely Gomes – Manager of Island B Hive, Heritage Quay
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; prudent are those who live by his precepts.” — Psalm 111:10 NIV
This piece of scripture captures the essence of the person Mommy Gen was, and how she will continue to be remembered and celebrated through all time.
Mother, Spiritual Advisor, Mentor and Cheerleader are just a few of the titles that one can use to describe Mommy Gen’s relationship with me. God fearing woman and wise indeed with her wealth of experience both in personal and professional life; which she generously shared with all who have been graced with her presence.
I’ve had the privilege of being mentored by Mommy Gen and these are some of the principles that she has instilled and that have influenced my professional tenure as an employee of Kennedy’s Club Ltd. over the years:
For starters, it is important to note that Kennedy’s Club Ltd. is an indigenous Antiguan, and family owned company at which all employees are treated as just that, family! Mommy Gen’s welcoming spirit captured in her loving embraces reflected that familial affection and in turn signaled to me as an employee to embrace my colleagues the same way, as we are all a part of all that this company encompasses. Additionally, just as we operate as family likewise she instilled taking ownership as well as the importance of supporting your own. It is with this in mind that I approach my daily responsibilities.
Another aspect of Mommy Gen’s character is that she was a motivator and inspired self-confidence. She introduced me to this concept, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!” If I had to perform a task or make a presentation and nerves got the best of me and/or my confidence needed a boost, she reminded me to “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!” She even went as far as demonstrating an upright, chest out posture, and told me to think this “Ah Me Dis, Ah Me Name [Insert Name Here]!” (LOL as I recall these moments.)
Mommy Gen fostered the notion of having respect for authority, practicing obedience. Simply put, when correcting anyone who was not cooperating; she would advise them saying “Learn to follow instructions because one day you may have to give them and you will want them to be followed.” This is a simple, but such a profound statement that continues to guide my conduct when performing assigned duties.
Meticulous! Anything Mommy Gen was responsible for doing was done thoroughly. She left no stone unturned and expressed that she only had her name and quoted Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is better than great wealth… ”. Likewise she encouraged one to exhibit this same quality in whatever one found him or herself involved in. Often, she would emphasize the importance of doing your best; also encouraging growth and elevation in her words of “Higher Heights!” These are some qualities I strive to emulate in both my personal and professional life.
She personified transcending boundaries. There was no limit to what she could do; as a matter of fact you couldn’t confine Mommy Gen to any one category. The idea of a glass ceiling in business didn’t exist for Mommy Gen because she broke it, blazed her own trail and her legacy continues to inspire me to aim for “Higher Heights!” and Dare to Transcend Boundaries!
Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Love Always!!! (Our daily end of day parting words.)
– Reina Mason – Senior Human Resource Officer
The journey started over eleven years ago, coming out of the gaming industry and vouching never to work again for any company that would pack up and leave overnight. I decided that I would only work for a company that is firmly rooted and cultivated in Antigua. This is where I formally met Pauline “Mommy Gen” Francis, a tall elegant lady that I had met a few times before as I graduated High School with her twin daughters Donna and Denise.
From the first time I met Mommy Gen at work it was like I had known her forever. Our paths crossed very often. I marveled at her work ethic in being here very early in the morning and being one of the last to leave in the evening. Whenever I visited her office, I was greeted with a big hug as she enquired about my well-being. It was never obvious that Mommy Gen was one of the owners of the company as she acted like an ordinary staff never indicating that she was boss. She was always ready to advise and teach if she recognized that’s what was needed.
Whenever Mommy Gen greeted me, she would call me “Mr. Kennedy”. This greeting always came with that big overpowering hug. This was administered no matter who was around, even Big Daddy.
It took me years to figure out what she meant as she greeted me “It meant you are one of us, “FAMILY”. We spoke about many things over the years, things that she wished was possible and other things she would love to see happen.
When she got ill and went overseas for treatment she was truly missed. Through her ordeal she still enquired about my well-being. I too always took the opportunity to ask how she was doing. She returned after being away for months looking frail but she was still her bubbly self, walking around greeting everyone and referring to me, still, as Mr. Kennedy.
I had the opportunity to see and talk to Mommy Gen before her death, though unresponsive I knew she was wishing me well. These eleven years has been a good journey. Mommy Gen was a big part of this journey at Kennedys Club Ltd., I have long thought that being humble is an essential part of being a good person and a good person she was indeed. I will never forget her warm welcoming embrace symbolizing “family”. She was loved, she was light, she was strength, a phenomenal woman. Rest in Peace “Mommy Gen”.
– Herald Rolland – Purchasing Supervisor
I knew of Mommy Gen, almost three years before I actually met her. This was because everywhere I went around Antigua, I heard people calling her Mommy Gen. I said to myself, this lady, Mommy Gen, had to be a good woman. When I eventually met her, my initial instinct was right.
In 2002, I met Mommy Gen officially; having joined the Kennedy’s Group of Companies that year. I felt an instant chemistry with her, and ran with this thought for about a week, until I realize she had that warmth for everyone. However, I was still made to feel special and over the years, we developed a closeness and rapport very much like sisters.
Mommy Gen was my consultant, counselor, teacher, lawyer and, most important of all, my mentor. She was indeed a leader and I was privileged to follow her good leadership within the company, and benefited from her good guidance both personally and professionally. She has shown me alternative ways to deal with personal situations, which would have been disastrous done my way. She had guided me in every aspect of my job, which enabled me to become the trusted employee I am today.
She was never too busy to listen to someone, even when it was easy to ignore something that seemed unimportant, but Mommy Gen made it seem important. I know this for a fact. She was never too busy to take time out to listen to me. I miss her, but will continue to be guided by her thorough advice.
Thank you, Mommy Gen, for being there for me these past 15 years, for the impact you had on my life; and embracing my family and I as your own family. Thanks for the Doxology you and Reina shared with me, ”Awesome, awesome, awesome!!! Love always!”
– Vernadine Joseph – Senior Accounts Assistant
As a Senior Storeroom Officer at Kennedy’s Wholesale over the years, I have been on the receiving end of Mommy Gen’s kind-heartedness, good advice, and generosity up until her passing. Behind her motherly nature was a tower of strength. She wasn’t afraid of hard work. I can see her now in the early years working side by side with the warehouse crew packing crates with hundreds of cases.
When I had gotten a deep cut on my finger from a Vita Malt bottle, and had to go to the hospital for stitches, after I was attended to, Mommy Gen said to me “What kind of soft man are you”. I remember smiling at her, because I saw the twinkle in her eyes and behind those words, I heard these words “I am happy that you are alright” Sometime after, Mommy Gen asked “James, where are you going?” I told her that I was heading back to the hospital to remove the stitches from my finger. Mommy took me to her office and removed all of the stitches one by one. She was known to stitch up her own wounds, without even numbing the spot. She was unbelievable!
One time I was down on my luck and arranged to see Mommy Gen for a loan, even though my staff account was way up high. When I entered her office, she was sitting behind her desk with a serious look on her face, and I flashed her my best smile, and she started to laugh. She told me that she was all set to turn me down, but my smile saved me. Mommy Gen was the one with the winning smile.
Mommy Gen was a great lady, and I will miss her good counsel and guidance. I will never forget her telling me that I was the twin brother of her third son, Dion, all because we were born in the same year. I love the way she treated all workers like family, and I felt I was treated like a son.
– James Anatole – Senior Storeroom Officer