The INSPIRE Group was formed by like minded Bahamians whose goal is to motivate, encourage and create opportunities for young Bahamians to succeed educationally, personally and professionally. Our group is comprised of successful Bahamian professionals committed to the mission of helping others reach their full potential.
Our members and volunteers are Bahamians who have been fortunate to realize a full measure of success in their business or profession which allows them to give back in service to our community. Passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of others, and recognizing the strength gained from combined and unified efforts, we have formed INSPIRE.
Our commitment is to give back through our time, our skills, and our resources, to help create pathways for success. We particularly hope to reach those limited by their personal circumstances, or whose development and success might be impeded by factors which they find challenging to overcome.
Our own success is a credit to those who encouraged, mentored and inspired us. As Warren Buffett famously stated, ‘We are sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.’ We believe it is now our turn to pay it forward.
We are pleased to feature throughout the year young Bahamians whose focus, ambition and achievement serve as great examples for other young Bahamians. Previously featured INSPIRING YOUNG BAHAMIANS can be found at the PAST FEATURES tab on the Home Page. Please contact info@Inspirebahamas.com if you would like to recommend someone to be featured.
Courtney Celeste Spears (Baltimore, MD) is currently a professional dancer with the world renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
Ms. Spears graduated from the Baltimore School for the Arts and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Fordham University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and degree in Communications. While at Fordham, she received the Denise Jefferson Memorial Scholarship for academic excellence as well as the 2015 Princess Grace Award for her artistic capabilities
She has attended summer programs at Cedar Lake 360, The Juilliard School, and American Ballet Theater where she was recognized consecutively for two years as The American Ballet Theater National Training Scholar. Ms. Spears has performed and taught dance all over the world in locations such as Japan, The Caribbean, The UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Greece, The Netherlands, and Germany, where she performed for Former President Barack Obama.
She has performed in a variety of works choreographed by Alvin Ailey, Matthew Rushing, Aszure Barton, Robert Battle, Donald Byrd, Rennie Harris, and Camille A. Brown. She’s been featured in publications such as VOGUE, SELF, ALLURE, The New York Times, New York Post, and Vanity Fair.
In 2017, Ms. Spears founded her own company, ArtSea Dance, (https://www.artseadance.org) which is a Caribbean based workshop aimed at bridging the gap between young island dancers and the vast dance world abroad by providing workshops taught by world class professionals and entertainment by international performers.
Most recently, Ms.Spears enrolled in Harvard Business School through their #Crossoverintobusiness program to further her business knowledge while continuing to dance with Alvin Ailey and use her platform to inspire the next generation of dancers.
1. What inspired you to pursue a career in your field?
Dancing has always been my passion. It’s what I want to do every morning when I wake up. I knew that if I were doing anything other than dancing every day, I wouldn’t be living my truth. There was no other option.
2. Why is your profession important?
Dance is one of the most beautiful and authentic forms of expression there is. It allows people of all backgrounds to come together. I had a teacher once tell me that dance is the universal language. It can be understood and loved by any culture, race, or ethnicity. It pushes boundaries, artistically and physically.
3. Did you have a mentor or coach who helped or encouraged you to pursue your dreams?
I’ve had so many people guide me along the way. My very first ballet teacher pushed me to go to a performing arts high school. I had a mentor who taught me all about arts administration. And currently I have a mentor who helps me with professional company life. I encourage everyone to find people in your life who can guide you in the right direction.
4. Did you encounter any obstacles along your path to this point?
So many. I’ve heard more NO’s than YES’s. I’ve gotten turned away from so many auditions that I can’t even remember. But giving up wasn’t an option. The NO’s only fueled me to be better and want to get stronger. There will always be bumps in the road, but you have to decide if and how they affect your course.
5. What is the most amazing experience you have had so far?
Traveling to Greece. My first stop with Alvin Ailey was to Athens, and I never thought I’d see that part of the world. You grow up learning about the Acropolis and the Greek Gods, so to see it in real life was priceless. And then to be performing at the same time, was just unreal.
6. What is your favourite written work (book/poem/quote etc) and why?
“She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future”- Proverbs 31:25
My strength and willpower all stem from my relationship with God. This verse reminds me that I am clothed and covered in his Grace, and also that the future is for me to work for and for Him to plan. It’s all in His plan.
7. What do you think is the most important issue facing the world today?
I don’t think I’ll be able to name just one, but I do believe that the majority of the issues stem from Hate. There is so much judgment and hate living inside of the hearts of the human race. We have to learn to love, regardless of class, race, religion, and all other earthly factors. We are all one and we must learn to truly love the person next to us, even if they are different from who we are.
8. Please complete this sentence: "If I could change the world, I would..."
Make sure that every child feels that Art empowers their voice and that their voice matters.
9. What three words of advice would you offer to young persons as they consider their future?
Above Photos by: NYC Dance Project
Enjoy these video features:
The INSPIRE Group thanks COURTNEY CELESTE SPEARS for inspiring excellence in the Performing Arts and for proving that a "NO" is not the end of a dream, rather the impetus that should strengthen us to push forward with determination to succeed. We wish you continued success!
SEE OUR 'PAST FEATURES' TAB ON THE HOME PAGE FOR PREVIOUSLY FEATURED INSPIRING YOUNG BAHAMIANS.
Denley Delaney, Program Specialist at National Geographic Society (NGS), Washington DC, spoke to some 50 students interested in Marine Science at CV Bethel Sr. High School. Denley is a graduate of Stanford University (MA in Environmental Communications, and BS in Earth Systems-Oceans). She is part of the NGS Labs team which is focused on technology and innovation.
A community minded Bahamian living and working abroad, Denley shared her personal experiences in ocean studies and research throughout The Bahamas which included an investigation of the impact of underwater shipwrecks on Bahamian marine ecosystems, the production of a podcast to retell the story of a local whale beaching incident caused by sonar testing, and supporting field research off the coast of Andros focused on assessing Nassau Grouper spawning aggregations. She also shared her academic experience, and her work experience with National Geographic Society, one of the world's largest non-profit scientific and educational organisations whose focus is on exploring and protecting the planet.
Two rising 12th graders and one rising 11th grader, each from CV Bethel Senior High School, enjoyed medical rotations between Center for Digestive Health and Family Medicine Center.
Two rising 11th graders from Anatol Rodgers Senior High School enjoyed an enriching internship with international accounting firm - KPMG Bahamas.
Two 2019 C I Gibson Senior High School graduates enjoyed technology internships with Cable Bahamas.
"It was absolutely amazing! I love it. I am learning so much, and I never realized how much I loved medicine until now."
"... truly the best experience and a sneak peak into what it’s like in the medical career field. ...I am forever grateful."
"My experience was great...This allowed me to get a taste of what a job is like and some of the dos and don’ts of a business."
Thank you Dr. Munnings and CDH (https://www.digestivehealthbahamas.com) for hosting three student interns in rotation with Family Medicine Center.
Thank you Dr. Cates and FMC (http://www.familymedicinecenter.org/about-us/ ) for hosting three student interns in rotation with Center for Digestive Health.
KPMG hosted two student interns. Thank you KPMG!
Thank you Cable Bahamas for hosting two student interns.
Thank you for providing the meeting venue and delicious student lunch for the internship orientation.
Student interns enjoyed gift bags of items including notebooks, pens, pencil cases, umbrellas and water bottles compliments of Commonwealth Bank. Thank you!
On 14th March 2019 The INSPIRE Group was thrilled to collaborate with D'Andre Wilson-Ihejirika of BrainSTEM Alliance (https://brainstemalliance.com) and Crachad Laing of Project Limestone (https://projectlimestone.org) for an exciting day of STEM workshops at RN Gomez All Age School, which involved all school grades.
Students in Grades 1-4 were introduced to aerodynamic concepts by making their own paper helicopters. They were able to grasp the concept of how air currents can affect motion and influence flight. The students had a lot of fun customizing their helicopters with different colors and patterns, and then watching them fly and spin.
Students in Grades 5-8 learned principles of chemistry and materials engineering by creating their own slime from borax, glue and water. Students discussed in groups the properties of their reactants and how those properties influenced how the material was used. After the reaction they discussed the material properties of their slime product and compared their slime with that of their classmates to see how different methods of making the slime affected the properties of the final product.
Students in Grades 9-12 were introduced to electrical design and the functionality of circuits using breadboards and micro-controllers. Students were tasked to make a variety of circuits that included resistors, fans and blinking LEDs, and were able to discuss the potential real-world applications for their designs.
The INSPIRE Group thanks D'Andre Wilson-Ihejirika and Crachad Laing for an exciting day of STEM workshop activities and we applaud them for their tremendous commitment to community service.
Thank you also to Berry Islands Association for sponsoring their air travel. Thank you!
On Tuesday 18th February 2019, INSPIRE Group organized a Careers Day presentation for a delightful and engaging 9th grade graduating class of DW Davis Jr. High School. Our Presenters enjoyed the experience as much as the students! Careers discussed included Architecture, Technology, Engineering, Law, Accounting, Finance, and Medicine.
After the event, Ms. Gabrielle Winters, Guidance Counsellor espressed - "The Career Day held by your team was an awesome experience for my students and teachers."
Thank you Ms. Winters!
Thank you DW Davis Jr. High 9th Graders!
Thank you Presenters!
Mr. Diveane Bowe - Partner, KPMG Bahamas (Also event moderator)
Mrs. Alecia Bowe - Managing Partner, Karam, Missick & Bowe
Dr. Patrishka Duncombe - ObGyn Department, Princess Margaret Hospital
Mr. Dwayne Davis - Chief Information Officer, Aliv
Mr. Conway Smith - Architect, Alexiou & Associates
Mrs. D'Andre Wilson-Ihejirika - Founder, President and Lead Program Consultant, BrainSTEM Alliance
TOPIC: PERSONAL BANKING AND FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
Mrs. Anna Degregory, former banking executive presented to the girls at the PACE SCHOOL on 7th February 2019. Thank you to Commonwealth Bank for their very generous donation of wonderful gift bags for the girls!
TOPIC: MAXIMIZING YOUR FULL POTENTIAL
Mrs. Daphne Delaney, former financial services executive presented to the girls at the PACE SCHOOL.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS
Mrs. Daphne Delaney - Director and President
Mrs. Delaney is a Director of Delaney Corp. (Bahamas) Ltd., a Bahamas financial & corporate services provider. She has enjoyed a long and successful career in international financial services having formerly served as President and Director of a private wealth management and trust company, Managing Director of the Chase Manhattan Bank (Bahamas) Limited, and Vice President and Manager of Client Services of Morgan Trust Company of The Bahamas Ltd., a JP Morgan subsidiary. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from George State University, an ACIB Trustee Diploma from the London Institute of Bankers, and a Masters degree in Law with concentration in Corporate and Commercial Law from the London School of Economics, London, England.
Mrs. Anna Degregory - Director and Vice President
Mrs. Degregory is a businesswoman who, in partnership with her husband Colin, owns and operates a daily air freight and mail service business including Post Poxes Etc. and Nine to Five Import Export. She is also a former banker having spent over 23 years in the financial services industry. In 1994 she was awarded a fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers (FCIB). Mrs. Degregory attained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with focus on Economics from Temple University in Pennsylvania. She spent Twenty years with Royal Bank of Canada in various roles, including Manager of Operations and Managing Director of RBC/Finco. She also served three years with FirstCaribbean International Bank as Retail Banking Director for The Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos Islands.
Mr. Diveane Bowe - Director and Treasurer
Mr. Bowe is a Partner of KPMG, Bahamas. He has had more than 23 years of audit, accounting and advisory experience in KPMG’s offices in Atlanta, Georgia and Nassau, Bahamas. His work has included providing auditing and advisory services for clients in the banking, investment and mutual funds industries, and for Government agencies. Mr. Bowe is also the KPMG Partner in charge of the Risk and IT Advisory Services, and People, Performance and Culture. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from the University of South Florida, is a Certified Public Accountant, and a licensed member of the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants
MEMBERS AND VOLUNTEERS
Our members and volunteers are professionals including business persons, physicians, attorneys, accountants, and others willing to give of their time with the goal of making a positive difference in the lives of others.
Our GLOBAL NETWORK of volunteers includes individuals and organizations, (Bahamians and others) who have agreed to, from time to time and in their respective areas of expertise, lend their knowledge and ideas to our initiatives. Each is successful in their field, and committed to community building. We are particularly excited to have a blend of both millennial and seasoned voices to ensure rich discussion from diverse perspectives. This includes persons blazing a professional trail both home and abroad. We are grateful they have agreed to be a resource to The INSPIRE Group and to lend their voices and time to motivate, encourage and truly inspire others.
YOU TOO CAN HELP
We encourage you to volunteer your time to mentor others. Develop a mentor program in your own organizations.
You can directly help INSPIRE by:
· Offering your company’s facilities as a venue for a Summer Session.
· Engaging a student in your company for a Summer Internship.
· Providing lunch to students attending a Summer Session.
· Offering your expertise on a pro bono basis to students and others in financial need e.g. eye exam, hearing test.
· Becoming a presenter for a Careers Day event.
· Becoming a presenter for a special workshop or Speaker Series.
· Becoming an INSPIRE volunteer!
Who will YOU inspire today?