Two new recipients have been awarded the Gordon "Butch" Stewart Tourism, Hospitality and Service Scholarship as the 2022 school year begins.
Jeniffer Laltoo-Greenridge, weddings manager at Sandals Grenada, and Shanana Green-Daye, Sandals Ochi Beach Resort's Club Sandals concierge, were selected after a rigorous interview process from applications submitted since June.
The scholarship was created by the Stewart family, Sandals Foundation, and Sandals Resorts International, through its Sandals Corporate University (SCU), to honour the company's late chairman and is open to team members across the Sandals and ATL Group.
Recipients are able to pursue a bachelor's degree in tourism, hospitality or a service-related discipline.
"We are extremely proud to announce Jeniffer and Shanana as this year's scholarship recipients, joining last year's inaugural awardees," a company release quotes Sandals Executive Chairman Adam Stewart.
"Our company is built on the ethos of people development coupled with myriad training options provided through our SCU. This scholarship is a continuation of our belief in investing in our over 15,000 team members. We remain committed to creating opportunities to enhance their competencies and fulfil academic dreams to realise their full potential," added Stewart, who is also executive chairman of the Jamaica Observer.
Still in awe and appreciative of the investment in her future, Laltoo-Greenridge reflected on the impactful interview she had.
"In the interview, we were asked to share our favourite characteristics of Gordon Butch Stewart, and the one I mentioned is the fact that he gave freely; he shared his vision, his passion, his wealth and it made all the difference for those who came in contact with him. Likewise, I believe when you have something special, you should share it because you never know where it could take you and how you can positively impact others," she said.
"I'm ready to further my education and offer even more of my skill sets to the tourism and events industry here in Grenada. I thank my family, friends and co-workers for their constant support and encouragement," she added.
Laltoo-Greenridge, who will be pursuing a bachelor's in hospitality and events management at Florida International University, disclosed that she had always wanted to further her education.
"Despite the uncertainties, I never gave up, and the timing of this scholarship is a true testament to remaining steadfast. Having been with Sandals for over nine years, I am grateful for the professional and personal development I have received and look forward to gaining more knowledge to invest in the development of our brand," she said.
For Green-Daye, the move to pursue further studies has been forthcoming and a constant conversation between her husband and herself, especially in the months leading up to receiving the scholarship.
An excited Green-Daye said, "I am extremely grateful to God and express my sincere gratitude to the team at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort for guiding, mentoring and believing in me. I have been afforded the opportunity to further my studies. It is a very humbling feeling and I strongly believe that you get out of life what you are prepared to put in. I know I have put in the work and will continue to do so. I will do my utmost best in all areas at school and continue to provide exceptional service at work, all while being a mentor to others. Being an awardee of this scholarship has taken me a step closer to fulfilling my dream of obtaining a first degree in human resource management."
Especially thankful for the financial assistance after the uncertainty caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic as well as global inflation, Green-Daye added, "To our Executive Chairman Mr Adam Stewart, thank you for continuing to pave the pathway to success for team members. To the committee members, I appreciate the time spent reviewing my application and selecting me as one of the recipients. Your words of encouragement will resonate with me forever, and to Jeniffer my colleague and fellow 2022 scholarship recipient, I know, like me, you will do your utmost to make everyone proud."
This year's recipients were part of an impressive cadre of applicants, described by Sandals Foundation Executive Director Heidi Clarke as "true inspirations, not only for their commitment and outstanding contribution to the company, but for the resilience they each showed navigating personal challenges all while never hesitating to be of service to others."
Following the passing of Butch Stewart in January 2021, Sandals Foundation, in a move to preserve and honour his legacy, announced the intention to create a scholarship to serve the company's team members and welcomed donations to further this vision. Five months later, the scholarship was launched with a call for applications and to date has now awarded five recipients.
"Shanana and Jeniffer have made us proud over the years through their commitment to their own development and contribution to the Sandals brand," said Adam Stewart. "We know for certain that they will continue to make us proud as they pursue their studies. We are committed to our team members and investing in their growth as that's what maintains the world's best team. My dad always believed in sharing knowledge and even before we had a Sandals Corporate University or an ATL Academy he was passionate about learning and development and about empowering people to become their best selves."