Lovenia Ebanks [a Miller who hails from Old Man Bay North Side and has resided in Coral Gables West Bay for the past 25 years] recently retired from 44 years of working at Scotiabank & Trust. Retirement, especially after working at the same place for a long time, is one of those crossroads in life. You stand and look back, to see how far you’ve come and remember all the great friends, the achievements the wonderful memories. But it’s also time to look forward at what lies ahead. “I am always happy because I always have a sense of purpose,” she said. “Now I have more time on my hands I would like to travel.” Next year she is planning to take a cruise up the River Danube, the historic beaches of Normandy, and all through Europe, with her husband, Mario. Ms. Lovenia will also have a bit more time for walking Rocky, her fifteen-year old dog, and as faithful a friend as anyone could hope for. But whatever she does, she will be sure to keep on helping people and encouraging them, which has always been a part of her nature, as everyone who knows her will tell you. Perhaps they will be people she will meet in the Church of God Chapel in West Bay where she is helping with organizing the Building Fund. Or perhaps they will be people she will meet as she works part-time for the Premier Group, where she will undertake administrative tasks for clients, or in the many charitable activities that are sure to fill up so much of her time. That’s looking forward. But the real fun, right now, is looking back on all those golden memories.
Ms. Lovenia has seen many changes after 44 years of work for Scotiabank & Trust (“Bank of Nova Scotia” in those days) She started there as a Bank Teller in 1974, she said, after graduating from High School, and must have fitted in very well, because she stayed there until her retirement earlier this year, by which time when she had risen through the organization to to hold various positions, and for the past 20 years to become Manager of Human Resources there.“It was the same building as it is now,” she said, “But George Town was very different when I first began working there. There were not many cars or buildings, and there were plenty of places to park. It was very quiet – there wasn’t a lot of tourism, and most of the bank customers were local people.”
Ways of working have changed, too. When Ms. Lovenia started, it was a long time before the digital age, and money had to be counted and calculated manually: “If someone had bought in a lot of money, you would have to stay behind until it was all counted, even if you had to stay until late at night, or even early in the morning,” she said.
“In those days there was really a family atmosphere in the bank,” Ms. Lovenia said, remembering with fondness the different after-hours social activities that banks used to encourage their staff to take part in, and the opportunities to meet people from other banks, too. There was the friendly spirit of competition for the best float at the Pirates Day parade, she recalls. Then there was the Corporate Cup, which was a big, friendly competition between employees of different companies. It was introduced in the eighties, she said, but is still going strong. “We would all meet together in a big hall with competing teams from other banks, and we would play games of dominoes, cards, or ping-pong. I was good at dominoes, so I was on the dominoes team,” she said.
In 1975, Mrs Lovenia won the Miss Cayman Islands beauty pageant, and so was able to represent Cayman at a prestigious function in New York for the Department of Tourism. She continues to work on the Miss Cayman Islands Committee, too. With so much to tell young people about the importance of having a healthy sense of self-esteem, and of course about making the most of every opportunity, so it is no surprise to learn that, over the years, she has taken part in many mentorship programs. She has always enjoyed meeting with the young people on the programs, she said, for “quality time,” once every week or so for a school year. Mrs Lovenia also enjoyed encouraging the younger people at her workplace to, “fulfil their dreams,” she said, by reminding them, in her capacity as HR manager, about the scholarships the bank offered to enable them to go back to school and get degree or a professional qualification. Among her other accolades, Mrs. Lovenia is very proud that during her time as HR Manager at Scotia Bank & Trust, she was able to coordinate HR activities and programmes at the Bank which lead to Scotia Bank been recognized and named as a finalist in the C I Society for H R Professionals (CISHRP) Top Employer Award on five occasions, and during that period of the competition she has helped Scotia Bank and its employees win the Top or overall First Place Winner award a total of three times, in the category of ‘large businesses.’
Mario Ebanks, her husband of more than 30 years, had this to say about her: “For all of those years I have seen her dedication, resilience, professionalism, and exemplary work ethic. She is definitely a role model and an inspiration for employees and professionals everywhere, and has always been professional, fair, and balanced, and a generally outstanding lady. May she continue to be blessed, and remain an inspiration to all for many more years to come.”