Lisa-Mae James is the epitome of youthful leadership and though she could easily qualify as a beauty ambassador for Guyana, this final-year University of Guyana student is building a reputation for herself as a serious academic.
The selfless work that she has put in over the years as a volunteer has also set Lisa apart from most young people her age. At 21 years, she sits on the Board of Directors at Lifeline Counselling Services - the youngest member of the board; she is a peer educator and peer counsellor; a member of the University of Guyana History Society, alumni of the Universite des Antilles (French Guiana) and more recently alumni of the University of the Virgin Islands (St Thomas).
To mention that she was named 'most outstanding volunteer' in 2004 and was awarded by President Bharrat Jagdeo might come over as a little too much but she has earned very minute of recognition she gets. Lisa's modest nature almost got in the way of the interview with The Scene.
Within the last five years Lisa has been busy with her studies at UG where she is pursing a degree in History with a minor in French. Things have been going well for her at UG and a few weeks back she won a two-week scholarship to the University of the Virgin Islands Summer Institute to be part of a training session for Future Global Leaders of the Caribbean.
"It was an intense two weeks but it was exciting and the experience was amazing and unforgettable," she said during an interview on Wednesday. The two-week programme focused on leadership for tomorrow, culture and education.
Lisa was one of two students from UG who were selected for the training session but she was the only one who attended and she did Guyana proud. She was awarded best speaker at the forum during a presentation session on Caribbean countries.
In the two weeks that she was in St Thomas, Lisa said, she was exposed to quite a lot of interesting things and people and was afforded the opportunity to study Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic. She also learned sign language.
All of what she learned during those two weeks Lisa plans to follows through with as she continues studying. She said the whole experience was a valuable one and she could not see herself being there and standing out if she had not built a good foundation while growing up.
"I owe Lifeline Counselling Services a great deal for shaping me into the person I am today. Lifeline provided me with excellent training, guidance, sound mentoring, they have been an anchor," she related.
In addition to Lifeline, Lisa said, she has benefited a lot from the School of Education and Humanities and the Cacique Toastmasters Club. She said Professor Tota Mangar and Dr Marlene Cox and many of her lecturers in the History Department at UG have all helped her greatly.
While at the University of the Virgin Islands Summer Institute, Lisa had to write prospectus of her life, sort of plan it 20 years ahead and her presentation was one of the more impacting ones. If things work out as planned, she sees herself as the first female Secretary-General of CARICOM in 2028.
She may have a very good shot at it. Given her impressive track record thus far and her compulsion for high achievements, Lisa seems well on her way. firstname.lastname@example.org