PSS is 15 years old – still going strong
May 14, 2004

PSS is 15 years old – still going strong

The first company to offer secretarial services in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is this year celebrating 15 years of existence. But for the mastermind behind Professional Secretarial and Consultancy Services (PSS), Camille Crichton, “It wasn’t without hard work and help from the Almighty that helped us reach this far.” {{more}}
Professional Secretarial and Consultancy Services opened its doors in 1989 and has never stopped growing. The start-up for the business was assisted by the National Development Foundation (NDF) at a time when the commercial banks did not want to take the chance of funding such a venture although they thought it was a good idea.
Crichton recalled that one of the first persons to walk through her doors was engineer Glenford Stewart (later elected to cabinet in 1998). “Mr. Stewart was one of the persons who told me that my business would grow,” said Crichton who recalls starting in a one-room area with one computer and one fax machine. The mother of two was also at that time working two jobs. “I forgot social life and worked on building my business and raising my daughters,” she explained.
Professional Secretarial and Consultancy Services now boasts eight computers, a lap-top, three photocopiers, an up-to-date fax machine and triple office space. The company also sells stationery and runs a secretarial school.
The dedicated and warm-hearted businesswoman told SEARCHLIGHT that celebrating 15 years did not come without major challenges and sacrifices. “I’m not measuring my success just by profits,” said Crichton, “but by the many lives I’ve touched over the years.”
In 1989, Crichton’s business offered the teaching of basic typing and other secretarial services. “Basically, we taught people (contractors, churches) how to produce documents professionally.”
Professional Secretarial and Consultancy Services now offers among other things an internet café, conference room facilities, secretarial training, computer training, human resource training and the co-ordination and provision of secretaries for conferences and meetings.
Crichton, who now has a permanent staff of five persons and several temporary workers, said that she is very grateful to her staff as they are the backbone of her establishment.
She also sang high praises to the Bank of Nova Scotia for helping her business grow. “One time I needed a copy printer and Scotia immediately stood behind me; they were very supportive.”
Camille, who worships at the Hill Top Tabernacle in Fair Hall, said that over the years of operation she can safely say that the level of trust that customers have developed in her “is great and we maintain confidentiality”.
The businesswoman, who holds a diploma in management from the University of the West Indies and a Business Training Limited Diploma in English for Secretaries with a Distinction from an English-based school, among many other qualifications, said that she keeps abreast with her studies.
She is very proud of her various achievements as she sees her deceased parents, Vie and Kelly Crichton, as a major factor in building her character. “My siblings and I had high morals and strong ideals instilled in us. We were very familiar with love and nothing was too good for our parents to give to others,” said Crichton. She intimated that she single-handedly brought up her daughters Sharese and Lucia who were very co-operative, supportive and patient.
The Professional Secretarial Institute is another brainchild of Crichton. She said she sees the school as more of a community service than anything else. It was formed in 1991 by way of a loan, and it provided a way out for young pregnant women, school dropouts or anyone who wanted to gain a marketable skill. She said that there are a number of persons for whom their future seemed bleak, but who have since graduated from this institution with Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) passes and have found security in society.
“We have helped over 200 persons and more than 75 per cent of our graduates are gainfully employed,” revealed Crichton.
She said that in the life of the school, “We have not received any help.” She noted that she had sought to have some input from various areas but was not successful.
Some students were given support in the form of paid school fees from persons and organisations such as the Republic of China on Taiwan, the Netherlands Consulate office and Sister Patricia Ann Douglas.
The school is accredited to the Associates to Business Executive (ABE) in the United Kingdom. It also offers certificates and diplomas in Business Administration, Travel, Tourism and Hospitality among others.
Crichton, who is the Honorary Consul to the Netherlands, says, “At this point we are not looking back. We are looking forward and we hope to have a permanent home in the next five years.”
She expressed her sincere appreciation to her faithful staff, relatives and friends who supported her over the years
and said she looks forward to their continued support.
“If God is for me who can be against me,” Crichton quotes.