Over the past six months, 18 people have been working toward bettering their leadership skills and their community at Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 Leadership Cayman programme. Their graduation from the programme took place on 15 June at Ristorante Pappagallo.
The graduates included Dayne Brady, David A. Chestnut, Collin N. Anglin, Aubrey Bodden, Lillian Curbelo-Bush, Mark J. Edmunds, Michael Keesee, David Kirkaldy, Steve McIntosh, Michele Miller, Ruth A. Myles, Neil M. Rooney, Martin Alexander Ruben, Jane van der Bol, Sheena Marise Thompson, Christian van der Bol, Elaine Anderson and Christina McTaggart.
The course is designed to give professionals a chance to enhance and develop their leadership skills, while offering an opportunity to learn more about the issues that the community faces and it teaches the class members how they can use their skills to meet the needs of the greater community.
One of the aspects of the course is that the participants get to hear the experiences of people who are leaders with in the community, something that graduate Steve McIntosh found extremely useful.
“Leadership Cayman connected me with other leaders from all walks of life, grew my understanding of the issues facing our community and inspired me to become a more effective leader. There could be no better foundation for anyone that aspires to make a difference in the lives of others,” he said.
During the six month course, the graduates were given the chance to gain a deeper understanding of the social, economic, business and political issues that the Cayman Islands are faced with. A trip taken to the Sister Islands gave the graduates and opportunity to discover the issues that are faced in our smaller communities.
For Jane van der Bol, Leadership Cayman opened her eyes to the various social, economic, business and political issues in the Cayman Islands and helped her make valuable relationships.
“The biggest asset to being involved in Leadership Cayman is the dynamic relationships I have made with fellow members in the programme. We have created a fellowship of community leaders who help each other with open arms; therefore, helping the growth of our community and country.” van der Bol says.
In addition to the guest speakers, every year the Leadership Cayman class members will select a non-profit organisation and design a project to benefit that organisation. After the planning and fund-raising, class members join together on Project Day to create immediate and tangible results for their chosen charity. This year’s project was the Hope Foundation where the group completed a number of tasks including:
Added roofing insulation, replaced incandescent lighting with fluorescent bulbs, blinds and purchased water heater timers in order to reduce utility costs.
Outfitted the manager’s cottage with shower faucets, a permanent kitchen counter top and screens (including a retractable screen door).
Removed debris from the site, including a derelict car.
Removed ficus trees, the roots of which were threatening the plumbing of the women’s facility.
Installed shelving to assist with the organisation of donations.
Flower box and a grow box with vegetables to aid in their self sufficiency. Vegetables include carrots, bell peppers, onions, scotch bonnet peppers, tomatoes, amongst others.
Opened up the doghouse so that the dogs would be more inclined to take shelter there during the rain. Previously, it had small windows and the dogs disliked it and instead took shelter elsewhere – usually on the front porch.
While Leadership Cayman has been an incredibly useful and educational tool for residents, it’s also a great way for newcomers to the Islands to learn more about the community and to develop a local network and new friendships.
“As a newcomer to the Islands, I have found Leadership Cayman to be an immensely useful way to network, understand the workings of Cayman and make friends. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the programme,” says Chestnut.
All of the graduates were pleased with the outcome of the course and felt that it was a very valuable tool in each of their own personal development.
“This experience has opened my eyes to the challenges of leadership and the numerous ways we each can become leaders in the community. I hope to carry all that I have learned forward and be an example for my children, showing that individually and together we can effect change,” said Myles.