Women leading the way

Rotary celebrates all-female leadership.

From left, Johnae Moss, Kourtneigh-Michelle Nicholson, Alanna Warwick-Smith, Gina McBryan and Stacy Parke. Photo: AJ Conolly

Women are leading the charge across all Rotary clubs in Grand Cayman for the first time in its history.

All presidents of the five service clubs on-island are headed by women. There are three Rotary clubs in Grand Cayman, along with two Rotaract clubs, the youth arm of Rotary.

“Although these are unique times, I am confident we will succeed in making an impact in our community, and we seek opportunities of partnership with other service clubs and companies to do so,” says Stacy Parke, president of Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Sunrise.

Along with Parke, presidents for the 2020-21 Rotary year include Gina McBryan of Rotary Club of Grand Cayman and Johnae Moss of Rotary Club of Central Cayman Islands. Rotaract presidents are Kourtneigh-Michelle Nicholson of Rotaract Grand Cayman and Alanna Warwick-Smith of Rotaract Blue Cayman Islands.

The clubs are taking on the challenge of serving the community in a time that many are referring to as ‘the new normal’ as the COVID pandemic continues to impact the islands.

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“We embrace this year’s Rotary International theme ‘Rotary Opens Opportunities’ as we now have the opportunity to reflect and become innovative in how we can assist with making the world a better place through service and dedication,” says Kourtneigh-Michelle Nicholson.

McBryan is serving as the 55th president of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, the first club established on-island.

“Each year our clubs welcome change which strengthens, diversifies, and connects us all for the betterment of our community and our people,” she says. “I am happy to lead a wonderful club and continue a legacy of community service within the Cayman Islands.”

WATERSHED MOMENT

In 1989, the Rotary International Council on Legislation voted to admit women into Rotary
clubs worldwide, a watershed moment for the service club.

“The Cayman Islands has been fortunate to have had many women join and take up leadership positions within the various clubs on island,” says David Kirkaldy, assistant district governor, who holds responsibility for the Cayman Islands clubs.

“Our demographics now are roughly 50/50 men and women and it is truly inspiring to see that every Rotary and Rotaract Club on Grand Cayman is presided over by a [woman] Rotarian or Rotaractor,” he says. “It certainly is a historic development for our region in terms of club leadership.”

Alanna Warwick-Smith says: “The aim of our club is to continue to instil the spirit of community service in our members and community in a manner that lasts a lifetime.”

The presidents are encouraging other women to advance to leadership roles in their professional and personal lives.

“There will be many who say you can’t do it,” says Johnae Moss. “There will be many telling you how to do it. However, there won’t be many actually doing it. Don’t be distracted by the talkers. You are a doer. And doers will always find a way.”

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