Sanya Goffe : The pension reform advocate

Debra Edwards
Debra Edwards

April 26, 2022

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THE DISTINGUISHED — LAW

It’s good vibes and great energy stepping into attorney and The Distinguished law awardee Sanya Goffe’s office. As a fragrant candle flickers on her desk, she’s asked how and why she got into law and, without skipping a beat, quips, “That was so long ago”.

Jovial demeanour aside, this pint-size attorney knows her stuff and is well accomplished. The Campion College alumnus originally wanted to do economics and accounting, but an application to The University of the West Indies to pursue law straight out of high school was accepted, and she was grateful. She admits she wasn’t taken with the course of study initially, but, eventually, everything aligned and she began to love it.

Called to the bar in 2003, her career started at the law firm Myers, Fletcher & Gordon, which she considers to be “an excellent starting place to learn”. Now a partner at Hart Muirhead Fatta (HMF), she says, “I work with excellent attorneys in their field.” At HMF, among her many duties, she advises companies and trustees on all aspects of pension law, including managing risk, governance, plan restructuring, and general pensions issues. Goffe is also the president of the Pension Industry Association of Jamaica and frequently speaks and writes on pension issues both locally and abroad.

Would it be safe to say she has a zeal for pensions? The 2020 Eisenhower Fellow answers, “It’s something that I’ve grown to be so passionate about. I feel so strongly that this is my contribution to nation-building. I think that retirement security for Jamaicans is fundamental. I think it is critical. I think that, if we don’t change the type of regulatory framework and policy approaches to retirement security, we will have a problem and it will affect future generations.”

Among her many accolades, Goffe also serves as a director of NCB Financial Group Limited, National Commercial Bank Jamaica Limited, Jamaica Producers Group Limited, the National Insurance Fund, and is chairman of Stratus Alternative Funds SCC.

Accrediting her love for volunteerism from an early age to her parents, Goffe, a twin, recalls volunteering at the Jamaica Society for the Blind and Bustamante Children’s Hospital in high school. At Norman Manley Law School, she volunteered with the then Jamaican Movement for the Advancement of Literacy (JAMAL) and, when she went to Barbados Cave Hill Campus, she formed the Cave Hill Campus Volunteer Core. Now, her husband Gavin (also a lawyer) and herself have formed Adult Learning Centres of Jamaica, where people have the opportunity to learn how to read and write. “I believe it is important to use your offices, your influence, time, and talent to help people,” she says.

Sporting a neatly cropped do, Goffe makes sure to point out that God is the centre of her life and that, in her downtime, she loves to read and hang out with her family, who she calls her “crew”.

When talk of her three-year-old son Julian commences, Goffe beams and says, “My journey to motherhood has been rewarding. It has redefined what I understand love and family to mean, and Julian is the love of my life.”

Female leadership development is also very important to her. She believes in being mentored and mentoring. “Find a mentor, and sometimes that mentor needs to be younger than you,” she recommends.

Regarding her advice for women who want to become lawyers, she is candid, “I don’t think there is anything else I would want to be doing right now, but I would never have thought I would have said this 19 years ago. So you don’t have to love it [law] from the start, but you have to be prepared to put in the work, and that is the case for any undertaking.”

With so much already achieved, we wonder what’s next for Sanya Goffe. She pauses to think and, with a smile, lets us know that, apart from wanting to learn how to surf, a big part of what she wants to do next is to see the end of the issue of retirement reform, ensuring independence and dignity for retirees.

debra.edwards@gleanerjm.com

Debra Edwards

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Debra Edwards

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