On March 18th, 2015 over 100 persons gathered at the Balmoral Club for the first ever Future Leaders Forum, hosted by the Bahamas Millennials Society (“BMS”), a voluntary membership based association comprised of young persons between the ages of 21 to 35.
The Hon. C.V. Hope Strachan, Minister of Financial Services, gave the welcome address urging attendees to ”foster a spirit of excellence.” Aliya Allen, CEO and Executive Director of the Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB) said of the event, “It was an inspiring afternoon for all in attendance. In an industry that requires constant change and evolution in order to thrive, it struck exactly the right tone and resonated with the audience.”
The international guest speaker was Lisa Chau, Founder of Alpha Vert Enterprises, a private consultancy focusing on social media and cross-platform marketing. Ms. Chau addressed the topic of the importance of “soft skills”, networking and relationship building. She urged attendees to push past their comfort zones when networking and to develop a short elevator pitch to neatly encapsulate the value they can bring to the relationship.
Three interactive and informative panels followed Ms. Chau’s presentation. The first was moderated by Taran Mackey of IPG Family Office and led by Atul Lele, Chief Investment Strategist of Deltec International Group and Jane Siebels, Owner of Green Cay Asset Management. Attendees were given the opportunity to pose questions to the two panellists, on a wide variety of topics. To one such question, Mr. Lele responded “Hard work is the one thing I’ve found that can consistently get you ahead.” Ms. Siebels stressed the importance of leading with integrity and creativity, and said “to be a leader you have to think outside the box”.
Another popular segment was the “Risking It All” involving a panel of three successful millennial entrepreneurs, including Alanna Rodgers, Founder of Tru Bahamian Tours; Mervin C. Sweeting, CEO of Switcha Bahamas Ltd.; and Khalil Braithwaite, Director of Business Development of Leno Corporate Services. Moderated by Zachary Lyons of BSI Overseas (Bahamas) Limited, panelists shared their unique insights on the challenges and opportunities in entrepreneurship in The Bahamas and the key attributes necessary to succeed in this environment.
Rounding up the event was the Cross Generational Roundtable with Millennial Dr. Iyandra P. Bryan, Managing Director, Lyford Tree Legal; GenXer, Kevin Burrows, Senior Vice President of CFAL; and Boomer Suzanne Black, Managing Director of Black & Associates Limited. All shared the wisdom gained in the course of their respective diverse and interesting careers.
Concluding the programme was a networking cocktail reception at which millennials were able to meet with speakers, moderators and peers in the financial services industry. Said one attendee of the forum, “This is a fantastic initiative and as you can visibly tell by the attendance today, so many bright, ambitious young Bahamians are so hungry to have a forum for these types of discussions and simply to be all together in the same location for a few hours.”
BMS is the brainchild of BFSB and according to its CEO “a key initiative for developing people, the single most important resource in a knowledge-based industry like financial services.”
Bahamas Financial Services Board (BFSB)