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2023 Mentoring Cayman Closing Reception

Local News 24 Jul, 2023 Follow News

Chamber President Nelson Dilbert

Mentee and Mentor

The closing reception at the Grand Pavilion

The Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Mentoring Cayman programme celebrated another year of successful mentoring partnerships during its Closing Reception at the Courtyard of the Grand Pavilion, West Bay Road, on Saturday 15 July. The event, which took place in the courtyard of the Grand Pavilion, was a great opportunity for everyone – mentors, mentees, parents, and family - to meet once last time before the official close of this year’s programme, which began in November last year.

While it was the official close, many of the mentee/mentor partnerships between top-achieving high school students and business leaders continue, developing into lifelong friendships. The programme therefore really represents a support network constantly nurturing and developing each succeeding generation of top professionals, business leaders and entrepreneurs, since it began as the first systematic mentorship programme for young people more than three decades ago.

Welcoming the attendees, Chamber President Nelson Dilbert said: “Students, I hope you benefitted from the knowledge, experience, and advice of your mentors. Mentors, thank you for volunteering your time to assist our future leaders. “It is my hope that some of the students with us this evening will in the future give back to the programme by serving as mentors yourselves.”

Mr. Dilbert reflected on his own time of being a mentor in the programme, and how it developed into a lasting friendship with the mentee who still stays in touch. He thanked the Ministry of Youth, Sports Culture and Heritage for its ongoing support and sponsorship, along with sponsors Cox Lumber, Rocky’s Diamond Gallery, Aquilae Consulting, and Butterfield: “Your financial support provides the funding that we need to ensure the programme continues to improve from year to year,” he said. “Life is a journey, and it is a blessing to have someone who is interested in your future wellbeing - someone ‘in your corner’ - who will be there to guide and support you.”

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Youth Sports Culture and Heritage, Tunisia Barnes thanked the Chamber for its unwavering support of Mentoring Cayman: “This programme has been invaluable in providing opportunities for our youth to grow and thrive,” she said. “We are particularly proud to support mentoring Cayman as it aligns with our ministry’s goal, and this enhances the youth and empowerment our core of our mission. This programme has been a shining example of how mentorship can play a vital role in achieving these objectives.” 

Then it was time for some of the mentor/mentee pairs to come to the front and tell the stories of how much they had learned, changed and grown during the last eight months.

Mentor Mary Reynolds, manager of a large local store, had been paired with Mikayla O’Connor, who is interested in architectural design. “I said, ‘Ok, I’m not really understanding how that goes together,’” she told attendees. “But the funny thing was, as we actually got talking, we quickly realized that Mikayla and I had very similar interests.”

Mentor Diandra Shand-Ogbe had been paired with Mentee Ashley Banks. Ashley said, “My I am very grateful for all the experiences at Grace Kennedy Money Services where I learned about what it takes to work in the financial services industry. Also, I have improved my communication skills and found out what it means to work as part of a team. And I was also provided with the opportunity this summer to do an internship which I am so grateful for, and I am sure that I will be using everything I have learned through this programme as I prepare for the world of work.”

Diandra in turn, praised Ashley: “This journey for me was very powerful. Ashley also taught me a lot. She was very calm, and her demeanor is so welcoming. In our office it can get a bit overbearing so to see how she handles things really taught me a lot as well.’

If you would like to find out more about Mentoring Cayman and how you could get involved, please don’t hesitate to contact us by phoning 7439124 or emailing swan.sandoval@caymanchamber.ky . The new Mentoring Cayman programme for 2024 starts in November this year.

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