Jamaican media executive Yvonne Wilks-O’Grady has been named on the British King’s 2024 New Year Honours List.
She is to receive an Officer of Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her contributions to media, publishing and charity.
The Orders of the British Empire is awarded in grades or ranks and are awarded for prominent national or regional roles in the UK, as well as persons making distinguished or notable contributions in their own specific areas of activity.
The grades in descending order are Commander (CBE), Officer (OBE) and Member (MBE). These are awarded without restrictions on number.
Wilks-O’Grady’s decades-long career has left a major impact on the UK and Jamaican media landscapes.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Wilks-O’Grady started her media career in the UK in 1984, working with several publications, including Honey Magazine, Reader’s Digest Association, and the Voice Media Group.
A statement from the Jamaican diaspora community, which lauded Wilks-O’Grady on her latest achievement, said after she returned home to Jamaica in 1998, she spearheaded the transformation of Radio Jamaica into the RJR Communications Group.
She was also instrumental in relaunching JBC/Super Supreme TV as Television Jamaica.
Wilks-O’Grady served as Director of Marketing at RJR Communications Group until March of 2005, when she took on the role of Deputy Managing Director at the UK’s Voice Media Group.
She is considered a pioneer in the media industry, having co-founded Root Magazine and contributed to publications like The Weekly Journal, Pride Magazine, Readers Digest, TV Guide, among others.
She currently serves as a consultant for corporate affairs at the RJR/Gleaner Group, her LinkedIn profile stated.
Beyond media, Wilks-O’Grady is said to have championed some charitable causes, most notably as a supporter of the Genesis Academy for children and young adults with disabilities.
The Jamaican diaspora community, in its statement, said it “stands united in celebrating Yvonne Wilks-O’Grady’s well-deserved recognition”.
It added that, “Her contributions have not only elevated the representation of Jamaican heritage in the media, but have also made a tangible and positive impact on society.”