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Do not accept mediocrity, says Prof Yolande Chan

Published:Monday | May 16, 2022 | 12:07 AMLester Hinds/Gleaner Writer
Yolande Chan
Yolande Chan

Jamaica-born Professor Yolande Chan, dean of management at McGill University, has urged Jamaican students not to accept mediocrity. She said that the island’s educational system is comparable to anywhere in the world.

Chan, whose research focuses on innovation, knowledge strategy, digital strategy and business-IT alignment, made the comment while speaking with The Gleaner.

An alumna of Immaculate Preparatory and High schools, as well as Campion College, the McGill University dean credits her years of schooling in Jamaica with providing the foundation from which her successes were derived.

“Schooling in Jamaica did a lot for me. It provided the foundation for me, and I still follow the schools and give back where I am able,” she said.

A Campion College Hall of Fame inductee, Chan urged Jamaicans to be the best that they can be.

“Jamaicans all over the world excel at what they do. The first thing is to know who you are. There is nothing stopping you because you are a Jamaican. You have to work really hard, but the education foundation provided you as a Jamaican equipped you for success,” she said.

She further advised Jamaicans to know their areas of competence and to give it their very best.


“Seize the opportunities that come your way. The opportunities will come, and if you are determined you will succeed. The world is yours if you give it your best,” she advised.

She was offered scholarships to five universities in the United States, including MIT, Harvard, and Cornell.

Professor Chan was ready to return to Jamaica when her husband proposed, and they ended up moving to Canada.

Prior to joining Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, Chan was associate dean of research, PhD and MSc programmes, and the E. Marie Shantz chair of digital technology at Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.


Chan received the Commerce Teaching Excellence Award and the Commerce Professor Student Life Award, which is given to the professor who has contributed most to the student life of the graduating class.

She is E. Marie Shantz professor of information technology management, Smith School of Business. A Rhodes Scholar, Chan has a PhD from Ivey Business School, Western University; an MPhil in management studies from Oxford University; and SM and SB degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Chan has received the Commerce Teaching Excellence Award and the Commerce Professor Student Life Award – awarded to the professor who has contributed most to the student life of the graduating class over their four-year term in the bachelor of commerce programme.

Her work has been published in numerous academic journals, including MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, Journal of Management Information Systems, Journal of Strategic Information Systems, Journal of Information Technology, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, and MIS Quarterly Executive. Chan is entered in the Canadian Who’s Who, the Who’s Who of Canadian Women, among others.

Chan says she has great memories of Jamaica and also visits the island every year. “Jamaica is a big part of who I am. It holds bitter-sweet memories for me and I do not hide my Jamaican roots, I wear my Jamaican heritage proudly,” she said.

According to her, no one should take Jamaica for granted.

“We need to understand what we have at home (Jamaica) and give it our best. There is so much to be proud of,” she said.