Announcing the YCLA 2009 finalists

The much-anticipated list of finalists for the 2009 Young Cayman Leadership Awards is finally out! The Journal speaks exclusively to the five – Marilyn Conolly, Raquel Solomon, Chris Duggan, Elroy Bryan and Sean Parchment – to hear their thoughts on Cayman’s future in 2009 and beyond.

Chris Duggan
Private banking manager,
Butterfield Bank

What is your own personal life philosophy and how do you apply it to your everyday life?
I believe that ‘the purpose of life is to live a life of purpose’. While this is not an original maxim it does neatly summarise what it is to be a functional part of any community. My life’s purpose is to contribute more than I take and to carry out everything I commit to with energy and zeal, for if it is worth doing it is certainly worth doing properly.

What traits and skills do you think a young person in Cayman will need in order to navigate the current threats to global stability (economic recession, environmental & terrorist threats, etc)?
As a nation we have achieved the successes which are well known to us through visionary and energetic political, business and community leaders who were prepared to make tough decisions about initiating and implementing significant change and who challenged the establishment where it was right to do so. It is the perpetuation of this heritage, combined with education and a global outlook that will see us through current and other troubles.

How do you see the future of these islands in 20 years time?
I am optimistic for the future of the Cayman Islands – as an economy, as a tourist destination and as a society – though we are at a crossroads and 2009 will be crucial to how my vision unfolds. This year is one of great opportunity for the people of these islands to make critical decisions that will determine the future of our country, decisions that I am confident will ultimately validate my optimism.

Raquel Solomon
Training manager,
Fosters Group

What is your own personal life philosophy and how do you apply it to your everyday life?
I’ve never considered what my personal life philosophy would be! I’m pretty sure that I have several! The one thing that I try to adhere to in my everyday life is the principle of respecting and being kind to others. God demands that we love one another and I make an effort to ensure that as many people as possible that I interact with in my daily walk feels “loved”.

What traits and skills do you think a young person in Cayman will need in order to navigate the current threats to global stability (economic recession, environmental & terrorist threats, etc)?
A few of the traits that may prove invaluable to young persons in Cayman is resilience, determination, adaptability and a positive outlook. The current global conditions may mean the loss of jobs, financial distress, risks to safety and harmful to life as we know it, but with the ability to rebound from setbacks, a determination to succeed, the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and a positive outlook on life, no obstacle is insurmountable.

How do you see the future of these islands in 20 years time?
At times, I think Cayman’s future is bleak. Too many of our young people have become apathetic and desensitized to humanity. But then I think about the many, many young people who are actively working to improve their circumstances and that of their fellow man and I am reassured that it may not be easy but we will make it.
With the intelligent, passionate young people of the Cayman Islands, I am certain that the Cayman of 2029 will not be perfect but definitely a country where people continue to care and support each other and strive to improve themselves.

Sean Parchment
Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers

What is your own personal life philosophy and how do you apply it to your everyday life?
Hard work, loyalty (especially to family) and service to others are some of my guiding principles. Hard work and perseverance can overcome a multitude of personal flaws. My career success is a testament to putting my head down, getting the job done and developing a long-term, trusting relationship with my employer. Along the way, I try to balance work with family and service commitments.

What traits and skills do you think a young person in Cayman will need in order to navigate the current threats to global stability (economic recession, environmental & terrorist threats, etc)?
As the world faces some of its most significant challenges in a generation, Cayman’s youth should focus on the principles of our forefathers: strong work ethic, ingenuity and faith in God. We need youth who have the ambition of a Norberg Thompson, the financial savvy of a Vassel Johnson and the faith and determination of a John Gray. Empowered, educated youth who possess these traits will be able to effectively compete on the world stage.

How do you see the future of these islands in 20 years time?
I see a Cayman which falls somewhere along the continuum of continued growth and prosperity or cataclysmic decline and failure. Where Cayman falls (and hopefully this is towards the former end) depends largely on the ability of its citizens to proactively and competently deal with the many challenges that we now face. Also, we need to actively position our youth to take advantage of whatever opportunities and challenges that lay ahead.

Marilyn Connolly
Managing director, Innotiva

What is your own personal life philosophy and how do you apply it to your everyday life?
My life philosophy is based on Rabbi Hillel’s words, distilled as: “If not me, then who? If not now, then when?” Since the inaction of good people allows negative elements to thrive I choose to take action at an individual and community level, following Gandhi’s call to “Be the change you want to see in the world”. This applies to how I raise my children, operate my business and interact with my community.

What traits and skills do you think a young person in Cayman will need in order to navigate the current threats to global stability (economic recession, environmental & terrorist threats, etc)?
We in Cayman need the ability to translate sensational headline news on CNN to see the real global threats such as poverty and inequity, and their relevance to Cayman. We need to have resilience, tenacity and foresight to safeguard our wellbeing while understanding the underlying causes of such global threats. Traits such as confidence, and strong ethics, along with the ability to think critically, use the imagination and remain positive will always prove useful.

How do you see the future of these islands in 20 years time?
Through our action or inaction we will determine the state of our future. With a willingness to sacrifice short-term economic growth for long-term prosperity, in 20 years these islands will be a socially, economically and environmentally healthy, and sustainable community with a literate and civic-minded population. Our young people will have hope and self-respect, our senior citizens will be treated with dignity, and women and men will be equal partners in society.

Elroy Bryan
Senior teacher / PE teacher, Lighthouse School

What is your own personal life philosophy and how do you apply it to your everyday life?
When I made the Carifta team and received the Who`s Who Award I realised that with hard work all things were possible. Later, I was drawn to the passage of scripture that says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. As a teacher at a special needs school, I try to instil in my students that despite many physical, mental, and social challenges they may be faced with, they can too!

What traits and skills do you think a young person in Cayman will need in order to navigate the current threats to global stability (economic recession, environmental & terrorist threats, etc)?
Our young people need to be strong, caring, and Godly people not conforming under pressure but standing for what they believe despite the odds. They should be goal orientated persons capable of adapting when necessary. They need good oral, interpersonal and technological skills. They need a strong self-esteem along with a love for country that will keep them motivated and determined to keep our country secure. In short, our young people have to be leaders.

How do you see the future of these islands in 20 years time?
In 20 years I see an education system that will invest more in metal detectors than books. I see families needing social services and families no longer seeing the need to pray. I picture three islands with more empty rooms than people if we do not make a stand now. Our young people must be made to realise the vital role they play in the shaping of the future and the survival of our nation.

 

YCLA-LEAD

The five finalists for the 2009 Young Caymanian Leadership Awards from left to right are: Marilyn Conolly, Raquel Solomon, Chris Duggan, Elroy Bryan and Sean Parchment. All five young leaders will be celebrated and honoured at the gala event and Cayman27 telecast on Saturday, 21 February at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. For more information, email [email protected]

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