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On Island Profile: Sylvia Brady

June 5, 2005 — Sylvia Brady describes herself as friendly and outgoing. Over the years she has perfectly matched her personality to her chosen professions. Born in New York City, Brady came to the Virgin Islands in 1977. Armed with a degree in psychology, she landed a job at Mental Health and worked for five years at the Charles Harwood Complex, counseling at-risk juveniles. Today she is the director of development for the St. Croix Landmarks Society, the organization that oversees Whim Plantation Museum, the Lawaetz Museum and the St. Croix Heritage Trail.
Brady says when she arrived in St. Croix she "landed in heaven." She was enamored with the landscape, the lifestyle and the people. She met her husband through a co-worker at mental health. According to Brady, a coworker told Brady that her son was coming down for a visit and asked her to take him around. A year later they were married. This coming December, Sylvia and her husband, Neal, will celebrate their 25th anniversary. They have three children, Neal Jr., 24; Andrew, 20; and David, 18.
Brady said she and her husband have a great relationship, and they grow closer as the years pass. "Sometimes it seems like we have always been together," Sylvia said. She said her husband would ask her if she remembered things that happened long before they met. "I would tell him, honey, that happened when you were in the third grade."
Sylvia and Neal have both been bitten with the entrepreneurial bug and have collaborated on several business ventures. They have operated their own boutique and have been distributors for Shaklee products for several years. Recently they have ventured into Noni juice products. "We like the idea of working for ourselves," Sylvia said, adding that the couple focuses on products that make people feel better and build wealth.
Sylvia feeds her creative side by designing and fashioning crafts. She makes one-of-a-kind jewelry made from semi-precious stones, crystal, glass and bone. You can find these creations at any craft fair held on the island, and on Saturdays Sylvia has a kiosk at the Sunshine mall. Another unique item Sylvia makes is the island angel. The angel comes in sizes from 6" to 12," and each is distinctive. These unique pieces can decorate your home or office all year long, or can be used as a Christmas decoration. "I make heavenly angels with wings and earthly angels without wings," Sylvia said.
While Sylvia passes her time at the kiosk on Saturdays, her outgoing nature attracts both serious buyers and window shoppers. She always has a kind word to say to everyone and never gives a "hard sell." They'll be back," she says. "They always come back."
Sylvia loves her life. When asked if she could do anything in the world, what would she do? "The same thing I am doing now, but I would travel while doing it." She said she loves having the freedom of picking up and going when she wants to. Last year she took a trip to China with a group. "My next trip will be an exotic place," Sylvia said. "Maybe Ethiopia."
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