George Town, 17 March 2016 — YCLA recipient Kellie McGee-Sandy is actively fulfilling her mission as a role model and mentor for the youth of Cayman. Since receiving her award last November, Kellie has addressed more than 6,800 people in Grand Cayman alone, and has reached countless others in all three islands via radio and TV. She is currently preparing to make a trip to Cayman Brac to address school children there.
Assessing her time since being chosen to receive the YCLA Award, Kellie says,
“Being selected as a YCLA recipient, along with planning a wedding, have made for a very busy four and a half months. Each engagement I speak at enlightens me to the sheer potential our youth have. I continue to speak about the importance of mentorship, and encourage each and every one of them to find someone they can trust to help guide their path, the same way I did at a young age.”
Young audiences are clearly inspired by Kellie’s message.
She describes a few examples of her recent talks:
“At John A Cumber Primary School , I gave the children some key pieces of advice from my own experience. The first was to never be afraid of hard work, and to never put a limit on the size of one’s dreams. Hard work and dreaming big are what fueled my leadership journey of studying, working and giving back in numerous countries, and at two of the world’s top 20 universities. I shared with them my passion of giving back, one I’ve had since the early age of 11, and encouraged them to be curious and figure out their own passions early on. I also shared with them the fact that I got my dream job working at the World Health Organization at 25 years old, but that it wasn’t your traditional dream job as it paid me ZERO dollars! However, it opened up so many doors to me, including a wonderful job back in Cayman, which allowed me to meet my mentor, with whom I co-founded a company – Healthy Futures Ltd. My final piece of advice was to always be thankful for what God and your family have given you.”
At Hope Academy Kellie gave a leadership talk to twenty Grade 11 and 12 students, who will soon be moving on to the next stages of their lives, whether it is entering the workforce or going to university. “My talk was on the ‘Imperfect leader,'” she says. “I told the students that every one of the world’s greatest leaders have had their own unique struggles, and that there is no such thing as a perfect leadership journey. The common factor, however, is the persistence in never giving up, and rising above life’s tough challenges as a stronger, more compassionate leader who is ready to keep moving forward. I spoke of Nelson Mandela, who was able to rise above his 28 years in apartheid prison, and –at 72 years of age – begin a new chapter in his life. He went on to achieve his greatest accomplishments in his later life. Finally, I shared a short story on my own ‘imperfect leadership’ journey, and encouraged the students not to be discouraged by the tough situations that life is inevitably going to throw at them, but rather to stay strong, keep working hard, and find a mentor who can help them along the way.”
In addition to her many media appearances and school talks, Kellie was chosen as Keynote speaker for the recent luncheon held by Mentoring Cayman, a youth development initiative jointly supported by the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment. Kellie completed the same programme 12 years ago, and in her remarks emphasized the importance of mentoring through several examples from her own personal story.
Kellie will be flying off to Cayman Brac on March 21 to meet with and address school children there.
To book a speaking engagement with Kellie McGee-Sandy, please contact Tara Godfrey, Young Caymanian Leaders Foundation co-ordinator. Tara@ycla.ky
The YCLA extends special thanks to its Sponsors . These committed organisations make the porgramme possible. Major sponsors are Dart and PricewaterhouseCoopers; Other loyal sponsors are: CNB; KPMG; Pinnacle Media; Progressive Distributors; Baraud International; Scotiabank; Celebrations; The Ritz Carlton; and the Tibbetts Family Foundation (JEM).
Celebrating its 16th Anniversary this year, the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards programme has as its mission to identify, celebrate and honour outstanding young leaders in the community who, through their actions, behaviour and leadership, serve as role models for the youth of Cayman.
Candidates are nominated each year by members of the public and are open to any Caymanian between the ages of 20 and 35. Nomination forms and more information can be found at www.ycla.ky
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