Updated: Jul 1
Who is Risa Stuart?
Risa Stuart is multi-talented, an entrepreneur, reserved but still enjoys good company and a good laugh. I am trained in Social Work and Management with a concentration in Human Resources, among other disciplines. I lovvvveeee children. I believe they are beautiful, irrespective of whatever behaviour they might exhibit. Behind each measure of 'deviance' there's a story and one that can have a positive ending once the right conditions are in place.
I love learning and I love helping people develop to their fullest potential. In my mind I think I've married the two; the more I know them I'm better equipped to assist someone in developing in their area of interest. If I could afford to pay to study my many interests then if you look under my name, right next to Profession it'll say 'Student'.
Is there an area in Barbados you believe needs room for more Social Workers?
Definitely with regards to the youth! That's where it all starts. If we address the issues there then many of the problems that we face now would be mitigated.
Do you believe that the Social Work fraternity in Barbados adopts a radical approach to advocacy?
Radicalism is relative. If we look at it from a sociocultural standpoint, we in Barbados are generally docile people and so the aggressive type of advocacy that we are accustomed seeing on the media e.g. protests, may not be present.
However, I can speak to my circle and say that we work assiduously to ensure that necessary change is brought about. When we see injustices we ensure that our voices are heard; we make the requisite calls, linkages, follow-up on matters, put pen to paper and challenge the status quo to guarantee that change is effected.
I do not know the inner workings of the other bodies, so I cannot speak to their level of advocacy. I do agree more can be done but I would not say that Social Work within Barbados is void of a radical approach to advocacy.
How can an aspiring Social Worker pursue a career in this industry?
The first place to start would be to pursue a degree in Social Work. Barbados Community College has an Associate Degree in Social Work and the University of the West Indies has its Bachelors programme. Thereafter, you can decipher your area of interest and pursue other courses that would enhance your level of intervention.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in pursuing a career similar to yours?
You must be passionate about it! To work with and on the behalf of the group that you intend to cater to, and the need for that group to no longer be disadvantaged or disenfranchised should weigh heavily on your heart. If you do not have that deep desire to serve and to give of your all then this is not the job for you. You are dealing with people's lives and how you intervene could weigh heavily on whether or not that person's life changes for the better, worse or not at all.
What is one common myth about the Social Work profession that you would like to clarify?
That Social Work is about counselling. Social Work is so much more than that. Whilst it can be an aspect of our job, there are some Social Workers who do not see clients on an individual, group or any other basis. For example, they may work solely on developing policies that would alleviate the woes of their clients. They may even manage a social agency for instance. Though the title may vary, once so trained, a Social Worker's role can be at any level.
We know that you’re also an Entrepreneur. Can you tell us more about that?
OutSourced is a relatively new business consultancy. Its a partnership between myself and a fellow Human Resources Management professional, who also has a diverse background in terms of study and experience. At present, our core area of business is Human Resources consultancy.
In addition to this, however, we also design marketing materials for businesses such as logos, posters, business cards, proposal covers and ads and content for web and social media pages.
What keeps you motivated?
God. In my ups and downs He is ever-present and due to this fact, I know I can press on. Besides that, it's seeing the smile on a client's face, knowing that I have a made a positive difference in their lives. Seeing them develop to their fullest potential; that motivates me.
Where can our readers connect with you online?
Both businesses can be found on the social media platforms of Facebook and Instagram.