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Entrepreneur Trisha Bailey lines up US$41m in Jamaica investments

Philanthropist recalls walking miles to school in St Elizabeth

Published:Thursday | October 20, 2022 | 12:08 AMLester Hinds/Gleaner Writer
Dr Trisha Bailey, who migrated to the United States at age 13.

Dr Trisha Bailey, the Jamaica-born entrepreneur who recently made the largest cash donation in the history of the University of Connecticut, has a number of development projects under way in Jamaica valued in excess of US$41 million. Among the...

Dr Trisha Bailey, the Jamaica-born entrepreneur who recently made the largest cash donation in the history of the University of Connecticut, has a number of development projects under way in Jamaica valued in excess of US$41 million.

Among the projects are 18 luxury condos under construction in Red Hills, St Andrew, valued at between US$6 million and US$8 million for Phase One. Phase Two sees the construction of between 20 and 25 luxury units, also in Red Hills, St Andrew, valued at between US$7 million and US$10 million.

Bailey, a medical equipment and supplies and pharmacies entrepreneur, is also constructing a US$3-million beach home in Portland.

She will also be constructing a luxury resort on lands in Portland, with an initial projected cost of between US$20 million and US$25 million.

The construction projects are being carried out by her real estate development company, Bailey’s Choice Homes.

Bailey is also considering constructing a school in her hometown of Woodland in St Elizabeth.

Further, discussions are currently under way with the Government for Bailey to donate a number of mobile mammogram units to the country.

Bailey walked four miles each way to and from the Springfield All-Age School daily while growing up in Woodland before migrating to the United States at age 13 in 1990, settling in Hartford, Connecticut. She has not allowed her poor upbringing to hinder her progress through the financial and medical equipment industries in the United States.

Bailey recalled her time growing up in Jamaica as the happiest of her life.

“My mother went to Kingston to work, so I and my sister were left with my aunt and grandmother. My aunt took care of me, along with my grandmother, while my sister lived with our grandmother. It was the happiest time I had. We did not have much, but we were a close-knit family with lots of love, kindness and strong moral habits,” she told The Gleaner.

“I was the fighter for the family. Anyone who troubled my sister or cousins, I would fight them to protect my family,” she said.

Bailey’s mother migrated to the United States, having been sponsored by an aunt, and was living in Hartford. Her mother later filed for her in 1990.

There, she attended Quirk Middle School before moving on to Weaver High School, where she began her track career in the 10th grade, running the 400m, 800m, and 1600m.

At Weaver, she also made the Junior Olympic track team.

She was recruited by the University of Connecticut on a full athletic scholarship. Her recent donation to the institution will support the schools’ student-athletes for generations to come. Neither Bailey nor the university administration would disclose the amount of her endowment, but it is believed to be more than US$10 million.

After graduation, Bailey became a stock broker with Solomon Smith Barney, where she spent four years. She later moved into the pharmacy field as a sales representative while working on her master’s and doctorate degrees.

Having been promoted by the company, she moved to California, but after facing racism and harassment, she left that job and started her own medical recruitment company, placing doctors in hospitals and other medical facilities.

Life-changing accident

But her life was to change after an accident that left her paralysed and in a wheelchair. She also lost her voice.

An experience in an airport, where she sat for hours because she could not be heard when she tried speaking about her connecting flight, led to Bailey going into the medical equipment and supplies business, which has led to her her financial success. Her company has pharmacies in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Connecticut, and Tennessee. The company also boast 60 to 70 warehouses across the United States.

As the first person in her family to graduate college, Bailey is committed to providing similar educational opportunities in the United States for family members.

She advises Jamaicans to set goals, write them down as a visual record and keep working towards them.

“Always put God first, for what you put out in the universe comes back to you. Focus and discipline are essential components in your march through life. To be successful, even in money-making, save towards your goals,” she told The Gleaner.

Bailey further advises others to have a strong investment in self.

Bailey is married and has five children, ranging in ages from 24 to three years old.