Women dominate YCLA finalists

| 12/09/2014

(CNS): Chevala LaWanda Burke, Dr Katrina Jurn, Michael Ashley Lockwood, Kadi Merren and Lydia Warren will be battling it out for the 14th Young Caymanian Leaders Foundation award. The ceremony will be held on Saturday, 1 November when this year’s winner will be revealed from the group dominated this year by women. The nominations for Caymanians under the age of 34 come from the public and the finalists are selected via what is described as a rigorous process by the YCLA committee which narrowed the field and which will now go on to further examine the nominees and select a winner.

Roy McTaggart who as well as being a George Town MLA is the chair of the YCLA board, said selecting the finale five from the “stellar” nominees had been a difficult task.

“We are thankful to the community for embracing this programme and bringing these remarkable young people to our attention,” he said. “In the coming weeks, we will be revealing more details about the finalists, and helping the community to better know these five outstanding young leaders, who all deserve to be recognised as bright lights of hope and inspiration to the youth of Cayman."

The first of the nominees is Chevala LaWanda Burke, nee Tatum, 33, of Cayman Brac. Chevala holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Tampa, Florida. She is currently pursuing her MBA with St. Leo's University. Chevala is employed by the Cayman Islands Government as Marketing and Promotions Manager in District Administration, representing both Cayman Brac and Little Cayman both regionally and internationally. She has served as a Cayman PRIDE trainer for Cayman Brac and is an Advisor with the Junior Achievement Unit based there. She is also Group leader for the Annual Vacation Bible Schools for Fellowship and Ebenezer Baptist Churches and is Assistant Secretary for the Sports Association of the Sister Islands.

Dr Katrina Jurn is a graduate of John Gray High School; she was a recipient of the United World College Scholarship in 1999 and the Cayman Scholar Award in 2002.  She obtained her Doctorate Degree in Philosophy in 2013 from the University of Cambridge. Some of her previous experience includes serving as a senior policy advisor for the Ministry of Finance, Commerce and Investment; A senior lecturer at the University College of the Cayman Islands as well as a tutor and research analyst at the University of Cambridge. Katrina is Co-Founder of Sustainable Cayman, Committee Member, Protect South side project, Director-Fundraising, United World College Cayman Islands Foundation and Committee Member, Equality Cayman.

Michael Ashley Lockwood, 26, of George Town. A graduate of St. Ignatius, Michael holds a bachelor of Laws, with Honours, from the University of Liverpool (England), and has completed a Legal Practice Course, with Commendation, from UK-based BPP Law School. He is employed as an attorney with Maples and Calder. Throughout his youth, Michael was a lead Altar at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, mentoring and training other young men. He was a competitive swimmer for many years with the Cayman Islands Swim Team, and has served on the boards of the C.I. Swim Associations. He has also served for many years as one of the Head Pirates and organisers of Pirates Week.

Kadi Merren, 27, of George Town. A graduate of Triple C High School, Kadi went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Warner University in Lake Wales, Florida, with a BA degree in Business Administration. She also holds a Masters degree in Accounting and Taxation from Florida Gulf Coast University. Kadie is a Certified Public Accountant employed by PricewaterhouseCoopers and has been the lead Advisor in the company's involvement with Junior Achievement. She is President of the Kiwanis Club, wheere she has been active for several years and is a Co-Advisor to Triple C's Key Club. Kadie is also the driving force behind the "Join In Recycling” initiative in Cayman.

Lydia Warren, 34, of George Town. Lydia received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours from York University in Ontario, Canada and holds a Masters degree in Education from the University of Miami. She is employed as an educator at John Gray High School, where she is a member of the Senior Management Team and is Learning Mentor for some 300 students. She is a graduate of Leadership Cayman, a volunteer for the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, and former Chair of the Primary Literacy Task Force, the team that drafted Cayman's National Literacy Policy. Lydia is a member of the Cayman Islands Baptist Church.

Organisers said the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards programme was conceived to identify, celebrate and honour outstanding young people in the community who make a difference through their actions, behaviour and leadership, and who serve as role models for the youth of Cayman.

Foundation Director Jackie Hansen said the programme continued to attract incredible support from sponsors. “It is proof that the Cayman community understands the importance of positive role models for our youth,” she said, thanking them all.

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  1. anon says:

    YCLA- 34 year olds still qualify as "Young", what age is the cut off?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Let's hope the winner is someone who does not eventually fall afoul of the Law.

  3. Anonymous says:

    While I wish the finalists well, this award, like all awards given in the Cayman Islands, is given too frequently. We have to stop thinking we have a huge population of gifted and talented people. We simply dont'. When you give out these awards every single year, it's rare that a truly deserving person gets it. These awards, along with all the "hero" awards, should be given only once every 10 years.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I'm gladto see all of these candidates but fail to see any spectacular leadership achievements by any of the candidates. Yes they will serve as good role models for up and coming college students but beyond getting an education and being involved in civic duties how has their "leadership" changed Cayman for the better?

    • Anonyanmous says:

      To: 17:15

      In my opinion their leadership has changed Cayman for the better in many ways. One simple way that comes to mind is by being a a good role model for ALL young Caymanians. We have too many gangsters and lawbreakers because those are primarily the images that our young people see and read about on the news of late. Neither have yet found the cure for Aids, Cancer, The Fountain of Youth and the ability to stop world hungry and poverty but we are still hopeful….. in the mean time I am one Caymanian that  is very proud to say they have changed Cayman for the better and I hope that for every young Cayman coming behind them they will emulate their actions, then close and lock the door being them.  Hater! go get a life and I hope one of these young person will have a change of heart and run for political office in the next election and change Cayman forever.  

      • Anonymous says:

        They all from what I have read are bright young professionals giving back to our communities, but there are also many others just like them not nominated.

        Nothing about being a hater, just stating facts. i agree with the comment prior, there should be something exceptional that makes them stand out. Then again its not their faults that the others havent been nominated.

        Keep up the good work!

        • Anonymous says:

          This is the same valid point as made below about the short-list being too long.  I would rather see some people nominated who are working at the coal face of community issues rather than an identikit list of academically gifted soon-to-be accountants and lawyers with a few bits of community work on their resumé.  I agree it is not a "hater" point, as alleged.  I tend to find that people who use the term "hater" tend to be as dull as they are stupid.

          • Anonymous says:

            The award is not for community work, per se. There are already plenty of awards for that. It is for showing leadership and being a role model. We need all the positive role models we can get.

        • Anonymous says:

          LOL. Well whose fault is it if you are aware of many other deserving people who are not nominated? Yours, idiot.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The awards would be more meaningful if there was a shorter short-list, maybe three candidates at most.  By the time you get this many the ordinariness of the individuals undermines the value of winning.

    • Anonyanmous says:

      Speak for yourself,  go shortlist and nominate your own. Cayman and Caymanians are happy with the selection and process.  You people are never happy what is your agenda to have the whole cow too?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Great candidates. Now it’s just a matter of booking an American right-wing nut to be the keynote speaker at the awards banquet. Who shall it be this year? Sara Palin? Louis Gomert? Ted Cruz? Ted Nugent?

    • Anonymous says:

      I vote for Ted Nugent.

    • Anonymous says:

      13:56, I think Alex Salmond or Kanye would have a lot to say.

    • Anonyanmous says:

      I hope they try to get Harry Belafonte or Larry King, would that make you happy? Although I suspect that you would be happier with Bill Mahr or Michael Moore.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to the nominees. Expect women to dominate these and similar awards in future as they continue to be celebrated for doing the things men did thanklessly for millenia.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Can the public vote? 

    • Anonymous says:

      No, it is not a popularity contest.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thought it was.  Everytime a candidate is nominated it is based on the 'popularity' of the individual.

        • Anonymous says:

          No, it isn't. It only takes one person to nominate you. You are then judged on merit.