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Laurie-Ann Ainsworth (seated,left), the incoming CEO of Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Caribbean, shares a frame with outgoing CEO Lisandra Rickards. (Photo contributed)

Lisandra Rickards paves way for new CEO of Branson Centre

Laurie-Ann Ainsworth (seated,left), the incoming CEO of Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Caribbean, shares a frame with outgoing CEO Lisandra Rickards. (Photo contributed)

After recently announcing her departure from the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Caribbean at the end of the year, Chief Executive Officer Lisandra Rickards revealed her replacement, Lauri-Ann Ainsworth, at the Branson Summit, held at the Spanish Court Hotel last Wednesday.

Ainsworth will begin her CEO duties on January 1, 2020.

“After seven amazing years at the centre, and three as CEO, the time has come for me to shake things up. I believe deeply that we must redesign our lives every few years in order to fully explore our mission in the world,” Rickards wrote in a statement recently.

Chief Executive Officer of Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Caribbean Lisandra Rickards speaking at the Branson Summit held at the Spanish Court Hotel on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. Rickards will step down from her role on December 31, 2019, and will be succeeded by the current director of development and communications, Laurie-Ann Ainsworth.
(Photo: Chris Lewinson)

She also thanked the board of Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Caribbean, its partners and staff members, and the Virgin Group “for the honour of being part of something much greater than myself”.

Rickards’ celebrates shifting the organisation’s business model from focusing on incubating start-ups to working with businesses looking to scale up as one her achievements as CEO. By doing so she opened the door for several businesses in the Caribbean to attract and access venture capital from a pipeline of investment developed by the ac

In addition, under her tenure, she oversaw the relocation of Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Caribbean’s operations from Montego Bay to Jamaica’s capital city, Kingston.

Lisandra Rickards( left), CEO of Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, will resign her role on December 31, 2019, and will be succeeded by Lauri-Ann Ainsworth, who currently serves as director of development and communications. (Photo contributed)

Commenting on her successor, Rickards said, “Laurie-Ann carries with her years of experience in developing the Caribbean’s entrepreneurial landscape; her visionary thinking and leadership capabilities around development, partnerships, fund-raising and communication make her ideal for the role.”

Ainsworth, a certified project manager and a graduate of the University of Toronto, has more than 14 years of experience in marketing and communications. She has spent the last three as Branson Centre’s development and communications director.

Noting her excitement to begin in the new post, Ainsworth said, “I will take a holistic approach to entrepreneurship development within my role by enhancing our already stellar programme. I believe it is crucial to develop the whole entrepreneur so that they are prepared to scale in all areas of their business.”

Director of development and communications at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Caribbean Lauri-Ann Ainsworth will succeed Lisandra Rickards as CEO effective January 1, 2020. (Photo contributed)

Ainsworth feels honoured to be the third female at the helm of Branson Centre, after Rickards and Lisa Lake, and she will continue to build on their legacy at Branson Centre.