Forum inspires women entrepreneurs

Turning passions into enterprise was a major theme at the recent Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs Forum.

The evening’s event at the Marriott, hosted by the Cayman Islands Investment Bureau, offered a nexus between successful business women and those aspiring to commercial success.

Attended by around 130 participants, the forum included three local guest speakers and a dynamic keynote speaker from St. Maarten.

The impressive roster of local panelists was further enriched by input from contributors including: Lynn Bodden of Bodden & Bodden Attorneys at Law, Cathy Williams of Alfresco Advertising Ltd., and Kerry Horek of Island Rental Real Estate.

Following a welcome and introduction by Executive Director of the CIIB, Dax Basdeo, opening remarks were made by the Investment and Commerce Minister, Charles Clifford.

The owner and director of Barnes Dance Academy Limited, Susan Barnes-Pereira, was the evening’s first panelist. A founding member of Dance Unlimited and stalwart of the local performing arts scene, Mrs. Barnes gave a Power Point presentation on her path to entrepreneurship.

The next speaker was Annie Moulton, President of the Cayman Islands Professional Women Business Club. The owner-operator of Annie’s Bed & Breakfast, and two other businesses, shared insights into how she made her mark in not one but three sectors.

Donna Myrie-Stephen was the last local speaker. The former Miss Cayman and current owner of Le Classique outlined her personal philosophy as an entrepreneur and community leader.

The founding member of Batabano and chairperson of the grief support group Our Angel’s Foundation advised how she combined her businesses with long-term, non-profit community projects.

All the presentations, combined to give engaging insights into how three different women with different backgrounds thrive in local business.

Guest speaker

The guest speaker was Nerissa Golden, founder of the Young Entrepreneurs Symposium also known as YES.

The businesswoman, motivational speaker, journalist and community activist quickly won over her audience. Rather than dwell on her business successes over the past two years, she first shared her turbulent life story and showed how she used the flight from an abusive marriage, while pregnant and with children, as a catalyst for positive change in her personal and professional life.

Ms Golden shared motivational tips and what she had acquired over the years in terms of business acumen to inspire the forum’s participants.

‘I hope you will have the courage to listen to yourself and be honest. Do not allow other people’s fears to be your own. It is OK to take risks after you have assessed them and determined that you can manage the outcome. Go for it,’ she said.

‘Coming to a place of acceptance that entrepreneurship is the path you must take will be the start of an exciting journey you will not want to miss.’

Closing remarks were delivered by the Director of the Women’s Resource Centre, Tammy Ebanks-Bishop, as event was organised in support of Honouring Women Month.

Attendees swapped business ideas and sought advice during the half-hour question-and-answer session that followed. A networking reception followed.

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