In the world of business, some leaders stand out not only for their financial sense but also for their dedication to making a positive impact on the community. Berisford Grey, the Co-Founder and President and CEO of Sygnus, affectionately referred to as ‘Beris’, is one such leader. Recently honoured with the Emerging Business Leader Award at the MSBM 10th Anniversary Gala and Awards Ceremony, Grey’s journey is a testament to how his upbringing, education, career, and commitment to civic engagement have all contributed to his remarkable success.
The CEO’s journey as a leader is deeply rooted in his upbringing and the values instilled by his parents. From a young age, his parents nurtured qualities that would become the cornerstones of his leadership style. Self-confidence, discipline, love, and humility were among the virtues passed down.
“These qualities have not only shaped me as a leader but have also contributed to my ability to connect with and bring out the best in others,” Grey explained to Our Today.
His educational journey served as a crucial stepping stone in his career. After attending York Castle High School and Kingston College for secondary education, he pursued Economics at The University of the West Indies, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This academic exposure ignited his passion for finance and investment.
Continuing his educational journey internationally, Grey reflected stating, “My time at Vlerick Leuven Management School in Belgium, where I earned an MBA in Entrepreneurial Finance, broadened my perspective and provided me with a global understanding of finance and business. Additionally, attending the Wharton School of Business in Pennsylvania, USA, for a one-year Executive Leadership Programme during my tenure at CIBC FirstCaribbean was instrumental in further honing my leadership skills.”
The 50-year-old’s career path has been dynamic and influential, marked by various roles that have molded his leadership style. Early in his career, as an Associate Director in European Debt Capital Markets, he learned creative problem-solving and the importance of out-of-the-box thinking. His tenure as Senior Vice President of Origination and Capital Markets at Scotia Investments Jamaica Limited provided the opportunity to build a team from scratch, enhancing his leadership and cognitive abilities. As the Managing Director and Executive Director of Corporate and Investment Banking at CIBC, he led transformative change and strategic thinking within the organization.
Beris always had an entrepreneurial spirit and engaged in various entrepreneurial activities. While he did not always envision himself as a CEO, his passion for working with people, building teams, and pushing for excellence naturally led him to this role and aligns with his responsibilities as CEO. His journey highlights the importance of adaptability and recognising opportunities as they arise in one’s career path.
Over the last 6 years, under Grey’s leadership, Sygnus has achieved remarkable financial success, including leading two of their companies to be listed and publicly traded on the Main Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. A shared vision with co-founders, building a strong team, maintaining a long-term perspective, and upholding the 3i’s principle (Innovation, Integrity, Independence) have been instrumental. Empowerment, a customer-centric approach, and a steadfast commitment to investor capital also define the company’s approach.
His commitment to youth development, mentorship, and community impact is reflected in his involvement in various programmes. He noted that “Sygnus’ commitment extends beyond business. We’ve supported organizations like St. Patrick’s Foundation and the Jamaica Cancer Society, and we’ve been dedicated to providing educational support. It’s essential to me to make a meaningful impact on our community.”
“Winning the Emerging Business Leader Award is a significant achievement, one that I share with the entire Sygnus team. This recognition underscores the collective effort and commitment of the team to add alternative investments as a vital option in the Caribbean. It’s a testament to the journey and the impact that has been made in the business world and the community. Being recognised in this way is incredibly humbling and inspiring and it reaffirms my dedication to making a positive difference in the financial landscape of the Caribbean and highlights the importance of Sygnus’ mission. I want to express my deepest gratitude to the Sygnus team and all those who have supported us on this remarkable journey,” the CEO expressed.
Looking ahead, Grey plans to expand Sygnus into a large regional business, offering alternative solutions across the wider Caribbean region. He also aims to establish a foundation and play a meaningful role in positively impacting both the industry and society at large.