Young Caymanian Leadership ’08 finalists

Editor’s note: The Caymanian Compass will feature the five finalists for the YCLA this week. The winner will be announced via live television Saturday night.

Winston Connolly

1. What was your initial reaction to the news of becoming one of the five finalists for the 2008 Young Caymanian Leadership Awards?

I was shocked but elated. It was definitely unexpected, especially since I thought I had passed my best sell by date as a young Caymanian.

2. Who has inspired you most in your life and how did they do that?

Historically many people, including Martin Luther King, Bill Clinton; but in every day life, my parents. They have shown me that with hard work and perseverance, no matter where you start in life, you can be anyone and anything you want to be. They did so by example, encouragement-sometimes punishment- by most of all by always sacrificing their personal needs and facilitating all my endeavours.

3. Define Leadership.

Leadership is having the courage and the ability to stand out from the crowd, to make hard decisions and being able to take on constructive criticism, and apply it to better yourself. It is also being able to problem solve and being empathetic to those under you whilst showing them, by example, how to achieve goals and targets. It is also learning from those who have gone before you after identifying and appreciating their leadership skills.

4. What does it mean to you to become a finalist for the 2008 YCLA?

It means that members of our community have recognized five out of so many other capable people, as being role models by how they carry out their daily lives. It means that from now on, no matter what happens on 16 February, 2008, people will associate you with YCLA and expect greater things from you and continued giving back to the community.

5. How do you spend your spare time?

What spare time! I like reading and travelling in my spare time; reading to escape from my reality and travelling to expand my understanding of who I am and appreciate why and how other people are who they are.

6. Favourite book

The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography by Sir Sidney Poitier

7. Favourite movie

Remember the Titans, it was such a powerful movie in all respects and you cannot walk away uninspired by it.

8. Favourite pastime

Watching and playing American football. It is such a technical game that when executed correctly is a symphony of movement and aerial mastery. It is s beautiful violent play.

9. Favourite place visited

Machu Picchu in Peru. It was an amazing and spiritual experience. Viewing an ancient civilization, which was in many ways superior and more advanced than our own in such a beautiful setting, and seeing what was accomplished by a determined yet in many ways primitive people is both humbling and amazing.

10. Place you would like to visit most and why

China. With so much of the world’s population and its cutting edge position in technology, architecture and the automotive industry, I imagine that it would be a sensory overloading experience.

Susan Barnes Pereira

1. What was your initial reaction to the news of becoming one of the five finalists for the 2007 Young Caymanian Leadership Awards?

I was surprised; taken aback. I also felt a sense of pride, not because I need public recognition for what I have done but because it means that the way I choose to live my life has had a positive impact on others. My life extends beyond self, which is very important to me.

2. Who has inspired you most in your life and how did they do that?

I have had the fortune to have been inspired by so many people. I can’t say that there has been one sole person. I have met a number of truly amazing people in my life and I have learned and taken something positive from each one of them and adopted it into my life. I believe that we meet people for a reason and that reason is to learn something that will in turn make us better people; better people who will positively impact others. Even a negative experience can be motivating if we take the right lessons from them.

3. Define leadership.

A leader is someone who can see outside of the box, someone who has incredible vision and is not afraid to follow that vision. A leader is someone who listens and has the ability to gain the respect of others, who is not afraid to make and admit mistakes, take responsibility for their actions and find a way to move forward, above/below/around/through obstacles. A leader is someone who sees obstacles as a learning experience and not an excuse to give up.

4. What does it mean to you to become a finalist for the 2007 YCLA?

Becoming a finalist for the YCLA is truly an honour because the YCLA provides an opportunity to put a face to words our youth may think as abstract terms such as leader, success, passionate, drive and determination.

The YCLA provides a tangible definition, if you will, of all of those things and more. This face allows our youth the ability to identify with any or all of the above terms. It provides a positive light that that they can use to guide and direct them along their individual paths. There are so many young Caymanians out there who are making an important contribution to our society. It is very rewarding to have been selected as someone who has successfully used all of the lessons learned from the many roles models I have chosen to model my life and in turn have something positive to offer our youth.

5. How do you spend your spare time?

I am learning to spend more time with myself, which is very important in my definition of health. I also spend a lot of time talking/sharing with my family because I feel that it is important to all of the young children and teens in my family to know and feel that I have a presence in their lives, that there is someone who loves and supports the beyond mom and dad. I also spend time with students at Maple House, assisting in anyway that I can and sometimes that means doing absolutely nothing other than being a presence.

6. Favourite book

I have many but for very different reasons and for many different periods of my life. While going through my treatment for breast cancer I read a great deal of the Bible, finding all the verses that would help me to remain strong and empower me. I am currently reading and in love with A Cure for the Uncommon Life – Living in Your Sweet Spot by Max Lucado. I like this book because it teaches you the importance of seeing value in being yourself and to recognise that you have a great deal to offer. It helps you to emphasize all of your strengths or gifts and to understand why it is so important to share those strengths or gifts with others. It is a wonderful book that makes your spiritual self such a natural part of who you are in a slight comical and light-hearted manner.

7. Favourite movie

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation because it makes me laugh. I watch it every year. I love Christmas and the movie takes such a fumy look at Christmas holidays with family. It has become a Christmas tradition for the family to get together and watch it because it makes us all laugh and laughter is so very important.

8. Favourite pastime

Going to the movies!!!!

Being creative, either with movement, arts and craft, my home.

9. Favourite place visited

Sedona, Arizona, because of the beauty of the earth. It is so very grounding the reminder that we are but a very small part of a much larger picture when you view the Grand Canyon

10. Place you would like to visit most and why

Australia, because I would love to meet an Aborigine. I have always been fascinated with their culture and the fact that they are living history. I don’t have to read about them in the history books to learn from and about them I could speak with one in person and I would love to do that.