Gallery boss takes leadership prize

| 08/05/2011

(CNS): After several years of men dominating the awards, a woman finally took away the Young Cayman Leadership title for 2011. On Friday evening Natalie Urquhart, the Cayman National Gallery director, beat out Richard Christian, Ventisha Conolly, Shari Whittaker and Chantal Whittaker to take the award at a glitzy event at the Ritz Carlton. Urquhart accepted the award from last year’s recipient, Collin Anglin, as she paid tribute to her fellow finalists. Urquhart began her career with the gallery as a volunteer before joining full time as an education officer. After spending time out doing her Master’s degree in London and working at the Tate Gallery, she returned to Cayman and took the gallery’s top job in 2009.

A passionate promoter of the arts, Urquhart, who turns 35 this month, has already created a number of projects aimed at encouraging young people into the sector. Her latest venture is the creation of a specialised mentorship programme for young artists and performers with like-minded adults, giving young talent the opportunity to take advice from those who have been before. The programme is scheduled to be launched in September.

This year’s theme was "Family – Building the Foundation". This year’s key note speakers for the evening were Mark and Susan Merrill, founders of the Family First charity, who say their passion is placing the role of the family back in everyone’s lives.

The annual award was started in 2000 and recognizes young Caymanians who are making a significant contribution to society and are role models to other young Caymanians.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    To all the young Caymanians out there that are working hard and are not connected well socially or sons and daughters of rich people able to send them for a good education, or able to get your composed picture published in the media, it is you I congratulate and encourage you to keep working hard.  Just because someone is recognised does not mean they are the best, do not be discouraged.

    I hope that the ones that are recognised will do their utmost to ensure that you are one day also.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is a myth to infer that receiving an education is reserved for those born into a life of privilege.  There are full scholarships available to qualified Caymanian applicants of any and all social backgrounds (but they must qualify and remain qualified).  Get off your bonkie and do some research!  There are litterally dozens avail via Gov't, private sector, and family donors with Cayman ties.  

      • Anonymous says:

        Is it not somewhat contradictory to state the first post has inferences while you 'infer' the writer is on his 'bonkie' whichI believe is meant to be 'bunky'.  It is well established both with empiracal and statistical evidence that those born into wealth are privileged with education.

        Scholarships do exist but not near enough to accommodate those deserving of one. 

        Why is it then you apparently wish to seek to disparage the writer when in fact the writer has not offended or criticised anyone directly, but merely pointed out that there are those that go unrecognised and are as deserving as the recognised.

  2. anonymous says:

    People in Cayman will always complain and criticize no matter what,i bet if it was Richard Christian winning you would hear that it's because he is a YUDP and big Mac saw to it that no one else would win .Congrats to Natalie and may you have a wonderful and blessed year ahead.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon 12:00, you sound like the only one complaining, so lay off it for a change. Try be positive instead of always negative Anon 12:00 (that's obviously what you are thinking)

    • Anonymous says:

      I'm amazed that no one has said she isn't a born generational etc etc Caymanian. Maybe we are making a little progress.

      • Anonymous says:

        There have already been recipients who were not born generational Caymanians, e.g. Canover Watson.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not that I'm any fan but he does his fair share of community service around here…. just saying….

          • Anonymous says:

            I wasn't disputing that, but instead making the point that this is not the first recipient who is not a born, generational Caymanian. But of course the award isn't for community service although that is one aspect that is taken into account.

      • Anonymous says:

        Someone did make a comment on another forum site that it was good to see a non-indigenious Caymanian win.

  3. petermilburn says:

    Well done Natalie but let me just add that ALL the finalists are winners and must continue to go about your daily work with heads held high.

  4. Islander says:

    I am sure she is dedicated to her profession and extra projects, however, when viewed against the deeds of some of the other nominees, the selection of this year's winner of the award strikes me as odd.

    Moreso when one considers the roles that the two previous winners (Mr. Elroy Bryan and Mr. Colin Anglin) play in our community.

    This is not an attempt to tear her down – I was simply very surprised to learn of the chosen winner.

    Congrats nonetheless.

    (Maybe someone could better inform the room of her achievements and efforts, for there appears to be some degree of confusion all around.)

  5. Anonymous says:

    XXXX apart from doing her job which she has been paid to do – what additional contribution has she made to society to warrant this award. The award reads "young leadership award" – I thought it was to reward/award young people who have demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities and gone above and beyond what would normally be expected of them in the community with service- not just doing your job and doing it well. An explanation please.

    • Anonymous says:

      What Natalie has achieved in her short life is way above and beyond what is expected of her in her job. 

      Keep up the exceptional work Natalie.  You inspire us all.  And that make you a leader!

    • Anonymous says:

      I'd be interested in hearing a reply from the YCLA committee because I believe this poster is misunderstanding the purpose of the award.  As I understand it, the YCLA is to recognize excellence in young Caymanians and thus inspire others.  It is not necessarily an award for doing the most community work.

      Community work is of course important, but showing excellent leadership skills and being a positive role model for young Caymanians is what this award is all about.  Natalie has certainly done that, as have the other finalists, and I congratulate them all for "just doing their jobs".  If everyone just did their jobs to an excellent degree, such as these young Caymanians, what an incredible nation we would be!

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for your very good post/response to my comment "apart from" it was much appreciated. I guess the problem does lie in not knowing exactly what is/are the requirements for this award however, once this is known then it makes it better to understand how the awardees are selected. The comment was not intended to insult or hurt Natalies feelings or to demean her achievement and apologies if it did – it was just that clarification was required. Congratulations on a job well done and this fine achievement.

        • Anonymous says:

          The YCLF has always published the requirements. They are not a secret.

      • Anonymous says:

        From the YCLA website


        "Who is the Ideal Candidate?

        Each year the YCLA will identify and honour one outstanding young Caymanian between the ages of 20 and 35.

        The nomination process will target young people who excel in both the professional and personal arenas of their lives. Through their many accomplishments, YCLA candidates will have demonstrated their ability to act as leaders in both the workplace and in the community. They have used their aptitude and talent to advance their own positions, but also for the greater good of those around them.

        The chosen YCLA Award recipient will be a well-rounded individual who has consistently demonstrated a healthy and positive attitude and has endeavoured to motivate and inspire younger persons by his or her actions. In essence, the selected winner will have demonstrated the strength of character and solid moral fibre of a natural leader.

        Selection Criteria

        Personal Values

        High Moral and Ethical Standards, Goal Oriented, Results Oriented, Role Model, Concern for Excellence – in all areas of life, Inspiring Communicator, Willing to Assist Others, Civic Minded, Committed to Lifelong Learning.

        Achievement within Profession

        Outstanding Accomplishment in own Field, Recognition of Excellence by Peers and Co-Workers, Mentoring of Others and Co-workers, High Ethical Business Values.

        Civic Service

        Demonstrates Concern for Others, Leader in Community Efforts, Involved in Local and/or Charitable Organisations."

    • Rorschach says:

      I think if you go back and look at ALL the past winners of this award, only a handful actually would actually fit your narrow qualificaitions of "Deserving"….

  6. Anonymous says:

    To someone who has always inspired me and encouraged me to be a better artist and hence a better person.  To someone I admire and I think is well deserving of this award.  CONGRATS!