Our Graduates

UWI graduates are everywhere – politics, business, the arts, and as public intellectuals. In the coming months, UWI TODAY will profile some of our high achieving alumni who have made or are making a positive impact on society.

When UWI alum Jody White first graduated from university, his future seemed set in stone. After graduating with first class honours from UWI St Augustine’s Management Studies and Finance undergraduate programme in 2008, he was offered a postgraduate scholarship and envisioned himself “working in finance in the Twin Towers”, happily reporting to work at his desk job in long-sleeved shirts every day for the rest of his professional life.

Thankfully for Jody, life conspired to put him on a different path – one which he has since been boldly committed to carving out himself as a food and fitness enthusiast and agri-business entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs are steely risk-takers with a clear vision of how their ideas and innovations can solve specific problems. Jody is no different. But he credits his ability to take his first roll of the entrepreneurship dice at 21 to having the freedom to take a chance as a young man who still lived with his parents at the time.

After graduating, he opted not to take up his scholarship offer and worked as a brand manager for a major pharmaceutical company for 18 months, before a merger of the company made his job redundant. Rather than search for another job, Jody opted to find some way to utilise his passion as a fitness enthusiast, and took a leap of faith by launching Slimdown 360, a catering company that provided healthy meals to the local fitness industry.

“Nobody in Trinidad had a business that would provide meals for the fitness industry, so that's pretty much what I did,” he recalls. “The search for healthy foods naturally led to a search for the healthiest ingredients around, and that is how I got into agriculture: for the business.”

Since its launch in 2010, Slimdown 360 has become one of the largest prepackaged meal production companies in Trinidad and Tobago, boasting more than 1 million items delivered to date.

Jody began to design agri-products which, in addition to being used to supply Slimdown 360’s meal production operations, could also be uniquely branded, and exported to foreign distributors. This strategy grew into a business model that saw the production and distribution of healthy root crop pastas, made from sweet potatoes and cassava, into American markets.

The proper way to search for answers

Without knowing Jody White’s full story, if one had to guess his field of study at The UWI, one would be forgiven for assuming that he pursued a degree at the Faculty of Food and Agriculture. While he did not, he credits his time at UWI for inculcating him in the crucial skills of problem-solving, knowledge application, and dynamic learning.

As he tells it, “The knowledge obtained from UWI was in the field of Management and Finance, but my degree helped me to search and figure out answers beyond what I learned. It's the process of figuring out an answer to a challenge that’s important. And I have had to figure out answers to challenges beyond my field of study.”

He adds, “This is where I believe a university degree helps. It's not simply about what you’re taught, because you can’t be taught everything. It’s about the proper way to search for the answers to the challenges that you're faced with. This is where a university degree is invaluable.”

This approach to learning combined with his penchant for applying new knowledge in ways for the benefit of specific target groups has been core to Jody’s success in fields beyond agribusiness. While he has an appetite for learning, he has also been magnanimous in sharing his perspectives with mentees and the public at large.

As a media contributor for the past 10 years, Jody has worked in television, press, and radio, sharing his knowledge on health, fitness, food and agriculture. He currently hosts the Agribusiness Innovation weekly radio show on Freedom 106.5 FM – a programme which, as the name implies, highlights innovative aspects of agriculture, such as modern farming techniques, agricultural technologies, and trends in the agri-business sector.

Through this programme, Jody has been able to bring the world to his audience, as the show has featured guest experts from around the globe, discussing topics as far ranging as the growing of tomatoes in space by NASA, to the ethical considerations involved in technologies enabling the 3D-printing of meat from animal cells.

Broadcaster and Author

When he isn’t introducing his listeners to the world of agri-innovation, Jody is opening the eyes of his youngest readership through his line of children’s books, which he has jointly written with his wife, Tova Satnarine. The series, titled Jaxon’s Playground, features books such as The Boy Who Saved a Planet and The Boy Who Saved a Leatherback Turtle, and tackles topics of sustainability in a kid-friendly format meant for ages 3 to 7.

Ever the entrepreneur, the idea for creating this series came from a need to innovate within Jody’s own household, when he and his wife grew wary of reading books to their young son that they believed he could not relate to. Jaxon’s Playground became a creative outlet to solve this problem and the series is available locally and internationally through e-commerce platforms.

Jody’s list of accolades and awards is as long as his interests and business endeavours. In 2018, he placed third (out of 42 Commonwealth nation candidates) at the Royal Family’s Entrepreneurial Competition and, as a perk of this honour, had the privilege of opening the London Stock Exchange. In 2020, he won the OECS-Republic Bank Business Model Competition, and in 2022, he won the National Award for Agriculture in the youth category.

While his career path is anything but linear, his commitment to advancement and enlightenment for himself and others remains a constant feature of his success.

David Riley is a communications and digital marketing specialist with a passion for human rights advocacy and international affairs.