YCLA Foundation names five 2016 finalists

YCLA finalists, from left, Alexandra Bodden, Tedrick 'Ted' Green, Kristina Maxwell, Brianna Ebanks and Shena Ebanks

The Young Caymanian Leadership Foundation has announced its five 2016 finalists, four women and one man, ranging in age from 27 to 34, and each professionally employed.

The group comprises:

Kristina Maxwell (nee Bramwell), 30, who has a doctorate in physiotherapy from the University of Miami, and is employed at the Cayman Islands Hospital. She has been a lecturer at the Department of Community Rehab, the Health Services Authority’s volunteer training program, the Cayman Islands Hospital, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and Be Fit Cayman, and has conducted screenings for the Grand Cayman Special Olympics team.

Brianna Ebanks (nee Wilkerson), 27, who has an MBA from the University of Tampa, is employed as a regional finance senior associate at PwC. Active in her George Town Church of God Chapel, she is a member of the worship team and a member of the PwC corporate social responsibility committee.

She is a certified public accountant, qualified by the Georgia Public Accounting Board, and in July gained a health coaching certificate from Manhattan’s Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

Alexandra Bodden, 30, has a postdoctoral degree in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. She is the daughter of lawyer, former Leader of Government Business and MLA Truman Bodden.

She holds a doctor of psychology from Nova Southeastern University and was previously an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences at the University College of the Cayman Islands. She is now a psychologist at Behavioral Health Associates Cayman. She coordinates Radio Cayman’s “Mental Health Matters” show and is president of the Young Business and Professional Women’s Club.

Shena Ebanks, 32, has a master’s in Human Resource Management from UCCI and is employed as human resources and freedom of information manager at the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Development.

She is president of the Cayman Islands Society of Human Resource Professionals, a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and a director of the UCCI board of governors.

Tedrick “Ted” Green, 28, has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UCCI. Next year he hopes to complete a master’s in international business administration at Nova Southeastern University. He is employed as an office manager at State Street Cayman Ltd.

He is a founding member – and currently curator – of Cayman Hub, a World Economic Forum organization seeking to improve communities globally. He is also a Kiwanis volunteer, treasurer of the Cayman AIDS Foundation and last year’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

Candidates’ comments

“I really can’t express how this feels,” Ms. Maxwell said. “You do not go into healthcare for fame and fortune; you do it to make a difference.

“We see so many negative things [in healthcare], so it’s nice to make a positive impact,” she said.

If selected as this year’s winner, she said her message would be to promote “healthcare and wellness.”

“We so often put healthcare and wellness on the back burner, almost as though it‘s not important, as though we have no time for exercise or eating right. But you can be healthy without spending a lot of time. You need a strong base or you can’t really do anything that’s going to make an impact. You can’t fire a cannon from a canoe,” Dr. Maxwell said.

Brianna Ebanks said, “With this nomination, I have already resolved to make it my goal to understand the needs of young Caymanians and to do whatever is in my power and influence to serve them … in greater ways than I have already, and to empower young and old Caymanians to fully be who they are and do what they are called to do.”

If chosen as Young Caymanian Leader, she would pursue “a desire to empower [young people] … in seeing their dreams become reality.

“To … stand up for what you believe in and feel in your heart … is worth it. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the ability … to step up and stand out in the midst of that fear.”

Dr. Bodden welcomed the nomination, saying, “It’s always been something special and I have always admired the YCLA. This is huge for me and my family, and especially for the mental health community.”

Dr. Bodden’s chief sponsor is Marc Lockhart, mental health advocate in Cayman, who called her “an ideal candidate, a gifted and dedicated psychologist with exceptional character” who “dedicates many hours to various community organizations, often taking the lead on projects, working hard to raise awareness, create strategic partnerships, and inspire change.”

If selected, she said, “I’m interested in education, and want to help young people understand who they are and their potential. I encourage young people to take chances, and I want to let them know that someone believes in them.”

She would use the Young Caymanian leadership platform to battle the stigma of mental health: “I want to help people understand mental health and what it is.”

Shena Ebanks said she “was taken aback” by her nomination, crediting the support of her family, friends and church.

If named Young Caymanian of the year, Ms. Ebanks said, she would use the position to aid young job-seekers.

“My passion is training and development of young people,” she said, “and I would use the organization to help pull them up, provide career coaching and how to fit into the country and get a foot in the door.”

Describing herself as a one-woman “Passport2Success,” a Ministry of Education training program for job-seekers, Ms. Ebanks said she had assisted with the course, saying that “people don’t always appreciate the ‘soft skills,’” such as interview techniques, social interaction and presentation.

Mr. Green said, “To be celebrated in this way for things that I would happily do for free, means everything to me.”

Mr. Green, who will turn 29 just after the YCLA awards, said if he were chosen as the Young Caymanian of the year, he would use the position “to bring some attention to issues and causes that are important to me and our community.

“I am a huge believer in our youth and the concepts of Caymankind. My messages would likely be embossed with calls of action for my audiences to: get involved; believe in themselves and their abilities; to be proud of where we are from; and to be community-minded, as we can do a ton more together than we can accomplish on our own.”

This year’s YCLA awards ceremony, themed “step up, stand out,” is scheduled for Nov. 5 at the Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa.