Jamaica Diaspora Day Live Online-Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony

Presenter Bios in order of appearance


Dervan Malcolm – MC

Dervan Malcolm – Communication Specialist, Broadcaster Power 106 FM, RJR Gleaner Communications Group, Public Speaker, Master of Ceremonies & Motivator

Dervan Malcolm’s career as a Broadcast Journalist was spurred by his outstanding achievements in the Performing Arts. It was one of his performances in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s Festival of the Performing Arts that propelled him onto the media landscape on October 24, 1993, while he was still a student and Headboy at Calabar High School.


Kimiela “Candy” Isaacs:  Visual impairment need not be a disability, and certainly not for this dynamic achiever.  Kimiela was born blind but lives and thrives as a VIP – a Visually impaired Professional.
Candy, as she is often called, is a graduate of the Edna Manley  College, School of Music with a degree in Jazz and Popular Music Studies.

Her talent became evident when at 10 months old she began to sing and talk clearly.
Her education began at the Salvation Army School for the blind and later at Wolmer’s Girls school where she demonstrated her musical potential.
Notably, when she was 12 years old she appeared on stage with gospel star Ron Kenoly.  As a JCDC Festival Competition Performer and composer, Candy gained many awards..

She made her mark at the Edna Manley College, School of Music with a degree in Jazz and Popular Music Studies, being the first visually impaired student in Jamaica to graduate with a degree in Music.  While there she received the Pamela O. Gorman Trophy for the Most outstanding Music Student.
She shares her knowledge with students at her alma mater Wolmer’’s Girls School and has taught at various basic and primary schools. A highlight of her career is as founder and director of Sweet Sounds, a group of dynamic young singers who have earned various medals at the JCDC Festival Competitions.


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Leo Gilling, Chairman, Jamaica Diaspora Taskforce Action Network  (JDTAN)
Leo Gilling is a Small Business Owner, Media Personality and Diaspora Engagement advocate with over 30 years of dedicated community service to Jamaica. He is the founder and Chair of the Jamaica Diaspora Taskforce Action Network (JDTAN) a network of  15 sectorally focused Jamaica Diaspora Taskforces. Taskforces have been operating for the past seven years as a collaborative approach to engage, and mobilize the Jamaican Diaspora to join forces and support Jamaica in achieving Jamaica Vision 2030 and UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.)  Leo also co-authored the Diaspora Task Force Playbook, a how-to guide for engaging Diaspora communities. The Playbook was highlighted as a best practice for Caribbean Diaspora engagement. He is originally from Oracabessa Jamaica and currently resides in Miramar Florida

Ms. Lesleyann Samuel is the President of the Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations (USA) Inc.  A leader of vision and passion, Lesleyann is  dedicated to enhancing education in Jamaica and to encouraging collaboration and growth for all organizations that she supports. Born in St. Andrew, Lesleyann has over 30 years of leadership experience in several non-profit organizations and currently serves on the Executive Committee of her alma mater – Immaculate Conception High School. Lesleyann has been employed in various leadership capacities in the telecommunications sector for the past 35+ years, and since 2001, has been an adjunct professor with University of Maryland Global Campus in the Business Management department.  She currently teaches Organizational Leadership. Lesleyann holds M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering – Technology Management from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Kevin Thurm is the chief executive officer of the Clinton Foundation. He previously served as a senior counselor at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where he worked with Secretary Sylvia Burwell and HHS senior leadership on a number of cross-cutting strategic initiatives, including continuing implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Prior to that role, Kevin held various leadership positions at Citigroup, including chief compliance officer and deputy general counsel. Before joining Citigroup, Thurm served as the deputy secretary and chief of staff for the Department of Health and Human Services under Secretary Donna E. Shalala. He received a bachelor’s from Tufts University in 1983; a bachelor’s/master’s from Oxford University in 1986, where he was a Rhodes Scholar; and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1989..

YEARS AFTER helping to draft a bill to designate June as what is now widely celebrated in the US as National Caribbean Heritage Month, Jamaica-born development engineer and founder of the US-based Institute of Caribbean Studies (ICS), Dr Claire Nelson remained the visionary behind such flagship events as the White House Caribbean American Community Briefings; the Annual Legislative Forum on Capitol Hill; Invest Caribbean; and the Caribbean American Heritage Awards. Ladies and gentlemen,  a Futurist, Engineer, Social Entrepreneur, Storyteller Jamaican, Dr. Claire Nelson

SUSAN LYCETT DAVIS – DR SUE – “British by birth, Jamaican by choice and American by naturalization.”
I teach…empower…facilitate learning….I EDUCATE
I write…perform…act…I ENTERTAIN
I support…volunteer…assist…I ELEVATE

After seventeen years of service and recent retirement from Nova Southeastern University (NSU), Dr. Susan Lycett Davis has been awarded the honor of Professor Emeritus. This honor speaks to her outstanding career as a HR Practitioner/Educator, and exemplary service, facilitating learning as a subject expert in organizational leadership; conflict resolution; and Human Resources development.
A community Activist, Entertainer, Writer, Author, Philanthropist, and Speaker, Dr Davis (aka Dr Sue) is positioning herself to continue to live her passion, of serving wherever and whenever needed, in her varied roles and areas of expertise!
Photo by David I Muir
Sons of Mystro. Born in South Florida to a Jamaican father and Barbadian mother, Malcolm, 23, and his 20-year old brother Umoja learned to play violin through South Florida’s public school system, and attended Dillard High School for the Performing Arts. Together, these brothers are Sons of Mystro.
Photo by David I Muir
Dr. Grethel Bradford is the Vice Chair of JDTAN and the Chair of the Behavioral Health Taskforce

Published by Jamaica Diaspora Taskforce Action Network - JDTAN

Jamaica Diaspora Taskforce Action Network - JDTAN

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