Khalia Hall ready for next chapter
Outgoing Miss Jamaica World eyes global impact in environmental sustainability
After a whirlwind year as Miss Jamaica World 2021, Khalia Hall is feeling more prepared to move forward into the next chapter of her life as she prepares to hand over the crown in a month’s time.
Hall, who has been sitting in the seat of sustainability coordinator at ESIROM (Encouraging Social Influence; Redefining Online Marketing), said she had grown significantly during her reign, but more so in the past two months since she joined the digital media marketing agency.
“My responsibilities as Miss Jamaica World were very dynamic, and so are my responsibilities as ESIROM Limited’s sustainability coordinator. It involves a lot of communicating and networking, which are skills I have honed throughout training for the pageant and thereafter,” she told The Sunday Gleaner.
Although she did not take the international title, Hall said the experience gave her the confidence to speak out and make an impact on the public. The beauty queen said that the transition from the pageant world to corporate, while it is ongoing, is very seamless. She is enjoying having more structure in her schedule and putting her more technical mechanical engineering background to use in the ideation, planning and execution of projects.
Hall has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and participated in a student exchange programme at the National University of Singapore, where she served as a global ambassador for her school throughout the period.
As she approaches the end of her reign, she expressed anxiety to those around her – not knowing what the new chapter of her adult life entailed. She shared, “Since graduating from university, the main motivation behind my career choices has been the want to make meaningful, positive contributions to environmental and societal issues, but there was uncertainty with what my next plans were, and a lot of people were asking, before even three months ago, what I was going to do. There was an expectation and I wasn’t the happiest doing what I was at the time. I can honestly admit that it was a low period of my life.”
Since watching the Conspiracy documentary, she became immersed in news about the earth and its future, and, with that, spent a lot of time imagining her future – what would it be and where would she be? “It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what inspired my passion in these areas, but I remember vividly just watching the documentary in 2014, which tied it back to our food decisions. Also, I would say growing up in rural Jamaica and spending a lot of time outdoors, whether climbing June plum trees or swimming out at sea with my father, developed in me a deep appreciation for nature. My father also piqued my interest in understanding the detrimental impact we humans have on the environment through our excessive consumerism. As I got older, I felt some kind of responsibility to do something to address environmental and societal issues, such as health, which are ultimately interconnected.”
Before joining ESIROM, Hall invested time and money in a small business called Shibumi Jamaica, which is temporarily closed. The plant-based food delivery company was born out of a discovery that three-quarters of Jamaica’s population was not receiving the correct or recommended daily nutrition from fruits and vegetables, but it only appealed to a minute market.
“I wanted to contribute to the improvement of the state of health in Jamaica but also to address the contributions of animal agriculture to CO2 emissions and global warming. However, I was only able to reach and impact so many people as an individual and through a small business. That is why I’m so excited about the potential of this new division and role at ESIROM. It presents an opportunity to make a much bigger impact at a national, regional and, hopefully in the future, global level with a company whose mission surrounds sustainability. I feel it is perfectly aligned with mine,” she said. “Before, I sat there hoping things would align and opportunities would come. It’s not shocking I would end up in a profession like this because it’s not like I was in full beauty-queen mode and didn’t know what it meant getting my hands dirty. I’m almost in disbelief that a corporate job could provide me with so much fulfilment. It’s a combination of the nature of the work being aligned with my personal and professional goals, as well as the emphasis the company places on the well-being and development of its staff through cultivating a healthy working culture and environment.”
Hall is the first to occupy the role at ESIROM and, already, she is diving deep into global environmental projects and working through solutions that can be applied locally. Along with her boss and director at ESIROM, she travelled to South Korea in September for the International Marine Debris Conference (IMDC). They were invited to another conference in Los Angeles last month.
“Aside from all the knowledge acquired at the conference, it was an amazing trip where I was able to observe the balance between modernity and simplicity. I can be pessimistic of worldly issues, but the conference and the people gave me hope that there can be positive outcomes. People – individuals and corporate giants – are making changes. I returned home with a document of ideas and questions on how we can apply it to our communities here,” Hall asserted.
In addition to settling into her new role at ESIROM, Hall is currently completing a one-year nutrition course focusing on holistic health at the Institute of Integrated Nutrition (IIN). She is due to complete that in February 2023.
ESIROM is behind the concert, marking Jamaica’s initiation into Earth Hour’s global movement. Through the magnetic pull of highly influential artistes/musicians, the show garnered the support of over 5,000 patrons who enjoyed an evening packed with the natural mysticism of live acoustic music and education about the greater cause. Currently, they are working with the National Solid Waste Management Authority on a campaign for their new e-waste collection scheme, and helping a few clients with their corporate social responsibility projects.
“Following the IMDC, however, our first internal project will address the issue of plastic pollution, [which is] very relevant to Jamaica. The purpose of this role is not so much about ESIROM and what it can gain but about the responsibility corporate entities, including themselves, have in prioritising and contributing to environmental and societal issues. Also, how happy I feel to be giving myself these projects. I will be able to lean on in-house expertise and engage its network in order to foster greater sustainability in Jamaica. I can’t predict what will happen in the near future but, right now, my main focus is this new role, ensuring that our projects are not merely scratching the surface of issues but making a real and meaningful impact and not just Band-Aid solutions. I also want to be involved on a community level, creating gardens and so much more,” Hall said.