THE EMILE ELIAS GROUP OF COMPANIES
Over 50 years, Emile Elias and his team built a group of companies that today includes the number one indigenous construction company in the Caribbean (NH International).
This story starts with his parents who, like many other migrants searching for someplace better, left their home in Lebanon in the 1920s with little more than their stuffed cardboard suitcases and a will to re-create their life an ocean away.
This book captures the intertwined narrative of key players and the historical events that shaped Emile, and by extension, the company. It also looks to the future, and sets out the unique culture and values that will help the company strategise for the next 5 decades.
"Plantain's passion fuels their ability to listen deeply to the many facets of a story, and their sheer determination and unwavering integrity bring these stories to life in a way that they can be accessed by all. This is done with immense humility and they use creative insight to make these unique interpretations in many mediums. It has been an honour to have known and collaborated with them over the last three years, and our family applauds their work."
Charlotte Elias - Director, NH International
PAULA WILLIAMS MADISON
Paula’s story is one that typifies our modern global society: born in Harlem, New York, her family history is defined by a mix of African, Chinese, and Jamaican heritage.
In 2011, she left her position as the Executive Vice President of Diversity at NBC to chronicle her exploration of her Chinese ancestry (Finding Samuel Lowe). Paula's search encouraged her to expand her ancestral journey, and Plantain had the pleasure of helping her learn about her Jamaican grandfather. The oral history about him painted a fascinating picture of business savvy, wealth, complex relationships, and obeah (West Indian folk magic).
Our research also informed an innovative, interactive online report that allowed Paula to share these stories with the rest of her family.
"Felicia, after so many years of wondering about and seeking more information on my Jamaican grandfather, your Plantain team has successfully located information and provided me with documents and insight into my family's past. The process has been so satisfying and collegial that I have and will continue to recommend Plantain to my friends and colleagues. Now that you've proven to be so skilled in locating my paternal grandfather's genealogical information, I'm happily anticipating similar results as you look for more records regarding my Chinese grandfather's life in Jamaica too! You and the Plantain team are The Best!"
Paula Madison - Former Journalist, Businessperson
Cargo Consolidators Agency Ltd.
In 1976, Ronald Patience started Cargo Consolidators as a one man show in a small office that was described to us as a "cubby hole."
With his foresight and business acumen, Ronald grew his company into a globally respected player in the shipping industry, particularly in the oil and gas sector.
We were commissioned by his son and Managing Director, Sean Patience, to help capture 40 years of the business' values and legacy in a way that was intimate, and yet corporate.
"The team at Plantain have the amazing ability to transform the ideas and thoughts in your head into visually appealing productions. They not only captured the storyline accurately, but also managed to effectively relate our story’s emotions to the audience. I definitely recommend working with them!"
Sean Patience - CEO, Cargo Consolidators
HARTS: A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES
The Harts, a family of Portuguese, Amerindian and African roots, is expansive both in size, personality, and influence in Trinidad and Tobago’s national history, being particularly well known as a key player in one of the most important regional cultural festivals: Carnival.
When Glenn approached us, the challenge lay in condensing the sheer number of wonderful stories he had into one beautiful, coherent book.
In the end, we helped him transform the colourful stories of his ancestors into this unique package that combines family art with hilarious stories, and fascinating historical context.
Click on the image to take a look at a short film created by Plantain that was an Official Selection for the Caribbean Tales International Film Festival (Toronto, 2015) and the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival (Port of Spain, 2012).
It is the story of Popo who, at 82, recounts her escape from a war torn village in Guangdong, China to meet her future husband on a small faraway island called Trinidad.
"The experience of recording my family’s story in a beautiful and unique way was so amazing that we started a company to share it with others!"
Felicia Chang - Co-Founder, Plantain
Mrs Edrisse Perkins' story is one of a brave, young Caribbean woman who came into herself when many countries were gaining their Independence from the UK.
It takes us through the eyes of a young Antiguan woman who decided, in the 1950s, that she wanted to forge a career in the medical field. She travelled by ship to England and overcame personal and social obstacles that allowed her to achieve a level of success atypical of a woman at the time.
"I engaged the folks at Plantain to document a family tree for my husband’s side of the family as a Christmas gift to my children. With their expert advice, guidance, research methods and attention to detail the simple concept of a family tree became a well illustrated and thoroughly researched book filled with interviews and photos of eras past."
Sandra Perkins - Daughter-in-law of Edrisse
When Mrs Hazel Kinsale-Manning approached us, the challenge lay in piecing together a story than spun all the way back to the early 1800s. Our hunt for her Afro-Caribbean ancestry led us to archives in Trinidad, London and Canada, and an exploration of the family’s roots using DNA testing.
This book is a chronicle of how we managed to connect two branches of the Kinsale Family, who always knew they were family, but did not fully understand how.
"Have you ever wished that you could get a clear understanding and explanation of the past and assess its impact on the present? And then attempt to predict the future? The Kinsale family did, and Plantain helped us to answer a lot of questions just in time for our family reunion attended by people from all over the world. The deep history the team helped us to uncover has led us to not only honour the past, but more importantly to spread the news to the next generation."
Hazel Manning - Former Minister of Education, Trinidad & Tobago
DR. GABRIELLE HOSEIN: IN SEARCH OF SYED ABDUL AZIZ
Read Dr Gabrielle Hosein’s poignant accounts in the Guardian newspaper of our search for traces of her great, great grandfather – Syed Abdul Aziz – who was 21 when he arrived in post-slavery Trinidad in 1883 as an indentured labourer.
Of Afghan heritage, and literate in Arabic, Urdu and English, he eventually became a prominent Muslim leader. Our search led us to the original copy of his indentureship records, interviews with people who were able to recount incredible stories of Indian social history, and rich information about his journey from archives in the UK.
“Like Abdul Aziz’s original indentureship record […], which one day Zi [my daughter] can touch for herself, such dusty papers are a richer inheritance than gold.” - Excerpt from newspaper article
Gabrielle Hosein - Head of the Institute of Gender and Development, University of the West Indies
TED x port of spain
A large part of how we help our clients tell their stories is through meticulously thought-out, fun and thought-provoking design. For three years, we applied these principles as we led the Experience Design team at TEDxPortofSpain.
As with our other products, we placed people at the core of our process.
Scroll through these images to check out some of the fun spaces we created for the annual conference...
MY STORY - We want to make reminiscing fun! In 2015, we were awarded a national grant to develop the prototype for a gaming app that will encourage intergenerational dialogue. Take a look at some of the first sketches!
PLANTAIN CLIPS - soon you’ll be able to listen to snippets of stories as told by our clients...
Contact us if you need help telling your story!
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