Meet Romel Giddings: Senior Matchmaking Officer
One thing we’re keen to do on Building Markets’ country blogs is help you get to know the people behind each project’s success. We like to talk about success, but we also want to showcase the people who are directly responsible for it. With our newest project in Liberia ramping up, we’re taking the opportunity to do that right from the start. Every Monday and Thursday we will introduce you to a member of the team in Liberia through this blog. Read on for one profile below.
Perhaps its because Romel has two children of her own that she is concerned about the job prospects for the youth of Liberia, which make up about 65 percent of the population. Her belief that “the private sector is a critical component to guarantee job creation” led her to her job at Building Markets.
Romel started at Building Markets as a Business Verification Officer and Call Center Assistant. She was responsible for interviewing local businesses to gather the necessary data for the business directory, such as contact information, business statistics and baseline data for market research. Romel was also critical to setting up interviews doing follow up calls to facilitate the data collection process.
In the last few weeks, Romel has transitioned into the role of Senior Matchmaking Officer. Now, her responsibilities are centered on working with buyers to understand their needs, receive specific buyer requests and identify capable local suppliers that have the potential to fulfill those specific requests. This can often involve additional research and groundwork to help make a “match” between local businesses and international buyers.
Romel is looking forward to the possibilities that the Sustainable Marketplace Initiative may bring. She describes the Liberian economy in this way: “One could almost say, there isn’t strength, but rather, opportunities.” While Romel notes several weaknesses – “the lack of training facilities for local businesses, financial systems to enhance access to finance” – she also says that the opportunities for local businesses to grow are huge because of the amount of foreign investment in the country since 2005.
But the country is more than just its economy. Romel describes its people as “welcoming, hospitable and friendly, who are determined to rebuild their country after civil war.” She describes Liberia’s beautiful lakes and waterways, including Lake Piso, the largest lake, and the Kpatahwee falls in Bong County. Her favorite dish is called torbogeh, which is prepared mostly in the northwestern part of Liberia. “Trust me; anyone who has the opportunity to visit Liberia would like this dish because of its spiciness,” Romel says.