Organizers of the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards on Monday announced 2017’s five finalists ahead of the Nov. 4 awards ceremony at the Kimpton resort.
This year’s finalists are Faith Gealey, Matt Brown, Alice Ramos, Yental McGaw and Stacie Sybersma.
Ms. Gealey, 34, is a speech therapist in the Physiotherapy Department at the Cayman Islands Hospital alongside 2016 nominee, Kristina Maxwell.
Ms. Gealey, with a master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from Florida State University, is chairwoman of the hospital’s Staff Welfare Association, board member of the Special Needs Foundation, deputy chairwoman of the Cayman Islands National Disabilities Council and a founding member and chairwoman of the Caribbean Speech and Hearing Association.
“Seek mentorship in all areas of your life,” she says, “and be open to the guidance you receive. Every experience … and piece of advice you receive will help … you to be a valuable member of our community … Use your experience to mentor others, so that the circle of mentorship and support remains an ever-present part of your life.”
Mr. Brown, 32, is a recording artist and performer, and in 2014 created George Town TV production and sales company Geezum Entertainment. It is a subsidiary of Mr. Brown’s film and television producer Sands Ltd, founded in 2014 with partner Ben Hudson.
With a professional recording arts degree from Canada’s Art Institute of Vancouver, and an associate of arts in social studies from the University College of the Cayman Islands, Mr. Brown’s “core message to youth” is “don’t dwell on the past; don’t fear the future. Happiness is in the present moment.”
Ms. Ramos, 29, is manager of operations and redemptions at Saxon Pensions, and a leader of the Saxon Investment Club, teaching youth about markets and the value of saving and investing.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in health administration with a minor in business from Florida International University, where she was a member of the Delta Epsilon Iota Honor Society. She is currently studying for a Cayman Islands Monetary Authority certificate in business accounting.
As 2015-16 president of Rotaract Blue Cayman Islands, she created the “Put your best foot forward” program, providing school shoes for children whose families face financial difficulties.
She has mentored young Caymanians as part of the Cayman Finance Student Education and Work Experience Program, raised money for Meals on Wheels, volunteered with Junior Achievement and serves on its board of directors.
“Believe in yourself, you can achieve anything you set your mind to,” Ms. Ramos says. “Your age doesn’t matter. Your past doesn’t matter. And the amount of times you’ve picked yourself up and started over again, definitely doesn’t matter.”
Ms. McGaw, 26, is immigration manager and human resources consultant at Baraud International with more than four years of human resources experience, which enabled her to lead the Ritz-Carlton Caymanian recruitment drive in June.
Previously with both the hotel and accounting firm Ernst & Young, Ms. McGaw led a number of community initiatives and projects for each organization.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing management from the University College Birmingham, U.K., and will pursue an MBA in 2018.
In 2009, she founded the Youth Community Excellence Award program, nominating candidates for two-year government overseas scholarships. In 2013, she was a Proud of Them recipient. In 2017, Ms. McGaw led a drug prevention conference for 1,000 students in Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac and helped raise more than $13,000 for the Francis Bodden Girls Home the same year.
Ms. McGaw has served with the NCVO, Meals on Wheels, ARK and the National Drug Council, and helped organized initiatives such as an Earth Day cleanup, an “end polio” fundraiser with the Rotaract Club of Grand Cayman and food drives through the Women’s Believers Ministry. She also mentors high school girls for NextGen Cayman.
“Your character and reputation will oftentimes make the first impression long before someone meets you,” she says. “It’s the most important investment you can make in yourself to ensure you are nurturing and investing in your future. Be kind to everyone you meet, stay humble, stay focused and stay hungry for the goals you have …. ”
Ms. Sybersma, 27, is an environment, health and safety specialist at Caribbean Utilities Company, and a volunteer on the National Trust’s Environmental Advisory Committee.
She lectures students on environmental topics, including a 2015 marine biology course at the International College of the Cayman Islands.
She has delivered two TedX talks, one in 2016 on “Ocean Potential,” and in 2017 on “The Ten Years after you Graduate High School.”
She said, “As a woman working in science, I understand how intimidating it can be to pursue your dreams, and do what you love. However, don’t let anyone or anything hold you back. Find a way to put your passions into everything you do. Share what inspires you, share your talents, and most of all share your kindness.”