Local Entrepreneur shares Secrets to Success

Interview with Debbie Questel by Kimberly Castillo, Freelance Journalist at the Trinidad Express Newspaper.

Date: 16th September, 2019

Debbie Questel is an enthusiastic and passionate soul. She walks along the hallways at Active Leaders Academy smartly outfitted in a tailor-made, purple and black dress, assertively radiating an air of confidence to those she interact with. She acknowledges both the teachers and students in each room who she describes as an extension of her family. She kindly introduced me to them with a warm and welcoming smile.

We were soon seated at a round wooden table in her beautifully decorated executive office to which I conducted the interview.

Kimberly: First I must say that you look very lovely; that purple really suits your skin tone.

Debbie: Awwhh Bless, thank you very much

Kimberly: Ok, well lets begin. So we are here in your office at Active Leaders Academy, which by the way is an exceptional learning environment, so tell us how did it all get started?

Debbie: Well you would think that having a profession in the Education sector as a Mathematics teacher would have been a natural progression to having my own school but for me that was not the case at all. Actually, while working as a teacher in an inner London school back in the UK, I was very much opposed to the idea of managing a school. It was only until I had my daughter Makayla and relocated to Trinidad that I really considered having an educational institution of my own. I was generally passionate about the process of learning and had ideas of how learning should be especially for the 21st Century.

My daughter inspired a whole new level of my thinking. As I considered how she should grow and develop, subconsciously I was also designing the principles to which Active Leaders Academy are established upon. It then became a natural process where people and circumstances would eventually move in my favor to manifest the idea.

Kimberly: So explain to me your vision for the Academy

Debbie: Well in essence, the academy is a leadership school. So with that in mind the vision is to develop leaders, thus leadership starts from within. I took the word LEADERS and used it as an acronym that contains the 7 core characteristics that we aim to foster in every student namely, Life Long Learners, Enthusiastic, Achievers, Decision Makers, Entrepreneurial, Resilient and Self-Sufficient.

Kimberly: I heard that the Maths Maniacs Master Classes has gone viral across the Caribbean….was that your initial plan?

Debbie: That was not the initial plan. In fact if memory serves me correctly, Maths Maniacs was just a business name I used when I tutored students. So it went from privately tutoring students one to one, then in a class room, then to an on-line platform which then made its way across the Caribbean.

Kimberly: You mentioned your daughter earlier, tell me a little more about her.

Debbie: Wow…..where do I start. She is such a talented, confident and creative child. She is a joy to be around and a very caring and loving soul. At times I think I have made my very own best friend. Well I guess to sum her up, I would simple say that she is my love heart.

Kimberly: What about your partner? What is it like at your home? Are you like a director at home as well?

Debbie: Ha, ha, ha (laughing)….no, not at all. I leave that director title here in the office. He is actually very easy going and appreciates me for the diverse person that I am. At home its a very chilled and relaxed environment with lots of laughter.

Kimberly: I was told that you had achieved great success on your weight loss journey. Tell me a little more about that.

Debbie: Oh yes…sure. Now I have to admit I love food and for a very long while food really loved me too and everyone was able to visibly notice. Tee-hee, hee (giggle) So I had to learn how to obtain the balance. I always had the tools and resources at hand especially as I am an Independent distributor for Forever Living Products who manufactures an excellent weight management program. So I eventually disciplined myself and was able to shed over 60lbs.

Kimberly: 60lbs?? Wow….Congratulations!

Debbie: Thank you!

Kimberly: So tell me more about the business behind those products.

Debbie: Well this particular business is quite dear to me because it not only changed my life but also a lot of other peoples’ lives as a result of me actually getting started. Basically it is an opportunity extended to anyone 18yrs and older who truly desire to live an exceptional life. Forever Living Products is essentially a vehicle for someone to obtain better health and wealth. For me it was the catalyst that spurred me along my journey of self-discovery.

Kimberly: So you seem to have a well-balanced life. You are a mother, an educator, business woman and a friend to all….what would you say is the secret to your success?

Debbie: Hmmm, well I personally view the term success to mean ‘a plan well executed’, but you first have to go within to determine what is that plan. What really help me was learning and applying the principles of the Master Key System while on the MKMMA course back in 2014. So I truly believe that there is no ‘secret’ because what you are normally searching for could be found within you.

Kimberly: Would you say that you are living the life of your dreams?

Debbie: Well I am where I would like to be at this present time, with the people who I choose to be with doing what I love; so I guess the answer would be Yes.

Kimberly: And lastly, what advice would you give others, especially women who would like to follow their bliss?

Debbie: I would tell them to be easy on themselves. We women could sometimes be our worst enemy especially when we compare ourselves to the perception of others. So my advice would be, do the best you can do with the information and resources that you have at the time and when you know better; do better. And always be true to your burning desires.