YCLA finalists announced

The long awaited announcement of the five finalists for the 2011 Young Caymanian Leadership Awards has finally been made and can now be released to the public.

The five finalists for the 2011 Young Caymanian Leadership Awards are Richard Christian, Ventisha Conolly, Natalie Urquhart, Chantal Whittaker and Shari Whittaker.

“While there is a distinct diversity with the 2011 YCLA finalists, the five young leaders are very similar in possessing the attributes that build the foundation for true leadership,” said Melissa Wolfe of YCLA.

She said a review of the individual nomination forms showed all five YCLA finalists displayed attributes including “commitment, integrity, action, love, ability, comfort, tradition, challenge, citizenship, morals, helping, grounded, community and spirituality.” Each year, the foundation behind the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards calls out to the entire community to put forth names of effective young leaders for the foundation to showcase and celebrate.

From those submissions, the members of a YCLA nomination sub-committee are challenged with a selection process that weighs each candidate in various categories, including personal, profession, leadership, community, ambassadorship and their ability to identify with youth.

The details of the nomination forms show that the values instilled in the finalists came through the love and support of their families with grounded foundations.

Fittingly, the gala event theme this year is entitled “Family: Building the Foundation”.

The winner will be announced at the gala event at the Ritz Carlton on 6 May.

Mr. Christian represents the district of Bodden Town; Ms Conolly represents Cayman Brac; Ms Urquhart represents George Town; and the two Ms Whittakers represent North Side.

Professionally, the five finalists positively contribute to a wide variety of respected industries, including banking, education, arts and culture, legal and banking, respectively – industries moving effectively forward with such enthusiastic leadership and positive role models.

Those who nominated the five finalists describe them with pride, enthusiasm and in great length, as evidenced in these short excerpts from the submissions:

“Richard has a strong commitment to public service and is a voice for the youth of the Cayman Islands. I think this is what makes Richard stand out. He is a person of integrity and a great spirit, giving of his time and is supportive of others and their challenges. He takes action and makes things happen, but in a very inspiring and motivating way.”

“Ventisha has proven that the one parent’s love can enable a child the ability to be everything and reach for everything, she is now able to return the favour to many of the kids in Cayman Brac by passing this love onto them, through showing them that there are people who will sit and listen, or who will go and kick a football, or take them swimming, if it means providing them with the comfort of always knowing that they can come to her for anything.”

“Natalie feels strongly that the increasing disconnect between youth and traditional values is one of the greatest challenges we face as a community. Her goal is to use the arts to help create positive social environments and strong role models that inspire the next generation to be creative, civically responsible citizens with a deep understanding of their heritage and culture.”

“Chantal has blossomed into an outstanding young professional who has maintained the strong moral and social responsibility taught by her family. She has developed and honed her skills in community outreach and is not afraid to immerse herself in activities to assist North Side in maintaining its strong community spirit. She sets a very good example of what can be achieved through hard work and by helping others.”

“Shari comes from a family whose foundation has been grounded in strong Caymanian values based on sound moral and spiritual upbringing and an emphasis on education. She demonstrates that service to her community is an important part of who she is and she therefore consistently finds ways to be actively involved in programmes.”

The foundation behind the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards is proud to present these young role models to the community and particularly to the youth of Cayman.

Anyone interested in attending the 6 May black-tie televised YCLA gala awards ceremony 
can email [email protected] or 
call 916-8335.