Sunday, April 21, 2024

SEEN UP NORTH: Bajan Great Genes

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Many successful organizations that have blossomed into dynamic institutions trace their origins to a simple idea: how to bring people together behind a noble cause or mix of goals.
Those interests can run the gamut from education, health, national economic development and guiding the youth to a combination of all or some of those factors.
So it is with the Young Barbadian Professional Society, a seven-year-old association whose mission, according to its website and Renee Cutting, a co-founder and leader, “is to garner the intellectual capital of its members to further advance positive transformations in the global Barbadian communities, through the society’s economic development, education and philanthropic programmes”.
Its members are an interesting group – attorneys, investment bankers, corporate executives, educators and other professionals. They were either born in Barbados, have family roots there or are “Barbadians by choice”.
With a growing network of professionals in Boston, Connecticut, Washington DC, North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Virginia and Maryland, the New York-based Young Barbadian Professional Society has earned a reputation for sponsoring events that place Barbados and Barbadians on centre stage in a positive fashion.
One such function was its Bajan Great Genes celebration held a week ago at Scholastic, a prominent national education corporation in Manhattan, when at least 200 guests assembled in the corporation’s auditorium on Broadway.
Actually, the event had a dual purpose: to launch the society’s seven-part series honouring Barbadian families and to focus attention on the public service work of several members of the society and others deserving of the accolades.
“The society must be applauded for its educational initiatives and mentoring programme and for this wonderful event,” said Lennox Price, Barbados’ Consul General in New York. “The project [seven-part series] deserves full support.”
Rupee, one of Barbados’ best known entertainers who stirred the well dressed Bajans from their seats and had some of them waving the Barbados Flag and singing along to some of his popular numbers, agreed.
In all, 17 awards were presented. Included on the list were Francesca Harewood, director of business affairs for Disney ABC Television, who negotiates production and talent deals for ABC’s daytime and syndicated television programmes; and Rawle Sealy, vice-president and information risk manager at JP Morgan/Chase, each of whom received the In Plenty And In Time Of Need Award.
Juliana Dawson, a former project manager at Newsweek International who is now publication director of Clinical Oncology News, received the Fair Land Was Young Trailblazer Award. Verna Holder, vice-president in the Strategy Division of Optinuity Alliance Resources, and Dave Dowrich, vice-president of risk management and capital markets in the Financial Institution Group at Goldman Sachs, the large Wall Street investment bank, were the recipients of the Binds Our Hearts Anthem Award.
Colga Hylton Springer, a retired executive of the New York State Office of Mental Health, and her son, Christian Hylton, an attorney and acting chief general counsel for the Land Use Division of the New York City Council, were presented with the Loyal Sons And Daughters Award.
In addition, the Expectations Great Genes Award went to Linda Gadsby, a founder of the Young Barbadian Professional Society and Scholastic’s vice-president and deputy general counsel, and Gregory R. Worrell, president of Scholastic Classroom and Community Group.
The Guardians Of Our Heritage Award was presented to Jessica Odle-Baril, a former Barbados Consul General in New York City; Linda Watson-Lorde, the Consulate General’s cultural and community liaison officer; current Consul General Lennox Price and Campbell Rudder, Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) vice-president in the United States.
Next was the Firm Craftsmen Of Our Fate Award, which was earned by Michelle Daniel-Robertson, an educator and executive board member of the New York City Association of Assistant Principals of English, and Matthew Mugo Fields, co-founder and president of Rocket Learning, a national education company that provides learning products and services to kindergarten through high school students across the country.
Rupee received the Barbados Entertainment Legends Award while Dennis Walcott, chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and head of America’s largest public school system with 1.2 million students, received the Barbados Legends Award.
Walcott, who was born in New York City, is the grandson of Bajans and a regular visitor to the island.
The event was sponsored by the BTA, the Nation Corporation, the Barbados Public Workers’ Co-operative Credit Union, JetBlue and Mount Gay Rum.

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