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National Hotel and Tourism Association
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The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association is celebrating the launch of its new Young Leaders Forum (YLF) at the recent CHIEF conference in Miami.

Held under the aegis of CHTA President Patricia Affonso-Dass’s People Development Initiative, the goal of the program is to develop the next generation of Caribbean leaders, while supporting their professional development within their local companies and national associations.

“As part of our focus on capacity building, I am pleased that we have now launched this forum,” said Affonso-Dass, who says the program will ultimately strengthen the work of the regional trade association across the Caribbean.

“They will act as ambassadors in their respective destinations for CHTA,” explained Affonso-Dass, “and hopefully through their engagement, new ideas and thinking and different points of view help us to grow and continue to revitalize our association.”

The program allows motivated professionals to engage with industry leaders in discussion and learning opportunities. As well as attending CHIEF event, the young professionals took part in a Springboard Caribbean-led training session and a mentorship breakfast. As well as special recognition as the inaugural class at CHTA’s Annual General Meeting, beyond the conference they will join in quarterly discussions on leadership and industry topics, and benefit from annual training and mentorship from industry leaders.

During the conference, the professionals were advised about the need for effective leaders to make hard, adaptive, decisions when managing organizational change. They were also urged to get involved with local communities, and not only to encourage colleagues to volunteer for community programs but to incorporate lessons learned into hotel activities.

The program offers rewarding mentorship, training, exchange and networking opportunities to those selected, but will also require their input into special projects related to tourism awareness, communication, membership development and other association outreach.  The forum is led by People Development Initiative’s Chair, Paul Collymore with support from CHTA Board Member, Sanovnik Destang.

This year’s participants included:

  • Alona Greenidge, Executive Assistant, Marigot Bay Resort and Marina (St. Lucia)
  • Anice O’Neil, Reservations Manager, Bay Gardens Resorts (St. Lucia)
  • Carey Turnquest, Associate Director, The Cove and Reef at Atlantis (Bahamas)
  • Gia Saunders, Executive Director Front Office, Atlantis (Bahamas)
  • Issia Thelwell, Sales & Marketing Manager, Round Hill Hotel and Villas (Jamaica)
  • Jamal Griffith, Sales and Marketing Manager, Bougainvillea (Barbados) and Sugar Bay (Barbados)
  • Judith Guerrier, Reservation Coordinator/Administrator, The Hartling Group (Turks and Caicos)
  • Kamille Huggins, Executive Assistant, The Landings Resort and Spa (St. Lucia)
  • Karen King, Human Resources Manager, Point Grace Resort (Turks and Caicos)
  • Khalil Keddo, Resident Manager, Rose Hall Villas by Half Moon (Jamaica)
  • Laudra Maurille-Willie, Human Resource Manager, Bay Gardens Resorts (St. Lucia)
  • Llana Ewing, Executive Housekeeper, Grace Bay Resorts (Turks and Caicos)
  • Lea Rojas, Events Coordinator and Office Manager, Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA)
  • Lesley Taylor, Director of Revenue, Comfort Suites Paradise Island (Bahamas)
  • Merricka Dyer, Group Sales Manager, Half Moon (Jamaica)
  • Mikael Doumeng, Digital Marketing Manager, Bolongo Bay Beach Resort (U.S. Virgin Islands)
  • Namene James Rodgers, Guest and Team Relations Coordinator, COCOS Hotel (Antigua)
  • Nicol Alexander, Wedding & Events Manager, Bay Gardens Beach Resort and Spa (St. Lucia)
  • Nicola Roberts, Sales and Marketing Manager, CocoLaPalm Resort (Jamaica)
  • Snjezana Andrews, CEO/ Owner, Clearwater Capital (The A Team) (Turks and Caicos)
  • Sonia  Simmons, Member Associate, Turks & Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association
  • Tanya Williams, Revenue Manager, The Somerset on Grace Bay (Turks and Caicos)
  • Yatsuri Marshall, Marketing Manager, Bay Gardens Resorts (St. Lucia)
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