Speaker Biographies

Jacinth Henry-Martin

Jacinth Henry-Martin is currently the Chief of Staff to the OAS Secretary General, General Luis Almagro, a position that she has held since May, 2015.  She is the first Caribbean Woman to hold this position.

In 2011, she was appointed Ambassador of St. Kitts and Nevis to the USA and Permanent Representative to the OAS.   In 2013 she became her country's first Ambassador to Mexico and in 2014 Ambassador to Paraguay.  Prior to these appointments she served as Deputy High Commissioner in London.

She is a former elected parliamentarian and Minister of Culture, Youth, Sports & Information, under which she organized and hosted the Seventh Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA VII), and 2007 Cricket World Cup, both first for her country. Worthy of note she is one of only 3 women elected to Parliament in St. Kitts in 56 years.

Jacinth Henry-Martin is an artist at heart who gives expression to her love for traditional sayings and customs through the spoken word and performance poetry. Her commentaries in verse, testify to the indomitable spirit of women, and are often a platform for confronting serious issues through the prism of humour. She has penned lyrics and produced artistic performances for pageant contestants throughout the Caribbean.

She is the mother of three young men and is married to Michael Martin.  Besides her native tongue English, she is fluent in Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Michele Brathwaite

Ms. Michelle Brathwaite is the National Human Rights Officer in the Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the OECS.  Ms. Brathwaite serves as the primary United Nations human rights focal point for Barbados, the countries that comprise the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, Trinidad and Tobago, and Suriname. In her role, Ms. Brathwaite works with Caribbean governments and civil society organizations to be more responsive to the United Nations international human rights system, to implement international human rights obligations, and to increase awareness around human rights issues in the Caribbean region.

Ms. Brathwaite was raised in Barbados where she attended primary and secondary school.  She earned an International Baccalaureate from the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, U.S.A. and a law degree from the University of Southern California.

After graduating law school, Ms. Brathwaite worked for a number of years as a corporate transactional lawyer in California and worked as a legal consultant in Barbados, California and Toronto.

Nicole Jo-Ann Alleyne-Phillips-Ayikpa

Educated in Canada, the USA and Barbados, Nicole is currently pursuing her BSC in Nursing and holds an Associate Degree in Rehabilitation Therapy, a Diploma in Esthetics, Certificates in Family Law, Leadership, Health Coaching, Project Management and NGO Management from various nationally, regionally and internationally accredited educational institutions.

Her extensive work experience spans from Health Education and Communications Consultant; to coordinating major Health Fairs or presenting to organizations and schools. With over nine years’ experience in the Pharmaceutical Industry; her job involved the promotion of pharmaceuticals and coordinating CME events. One major professional achievement has been the creation of the Adult Vaccination Booklet. She was also employed as the Rehabilitation Therapist for the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Whether as Class Representative, President of the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados and Member of the Barbados Family Planning Association, she has developed professionally and personally, honing her public speaking and team player skills. Her career goal as a Nurse Educator is to play a pivotal role in capacity building among the national nursing workforce, through mentorship, leadership and coaching to inspire excellence for career development through academic and continuing education.

Ambassador Harriet Lee Elam-Thomas

Ambassador Harriet Lee Elam-Thomas, is currently director of the University of Central Florida Diplomacy Program and author of Diversifying Diplomacy: My Journey from Roxbury to Dakar. Elam-Thomas' stellar career with the U.S. Department of America's Foreign Service spanned forty-two years, during which time, President Bill Clinton appointed her to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal.

As a speaker, Elam-Thomas enthralls audiences each time she steps up to the podium.  She is the epitome of grace, a quiet storm whose powerful messages are delivered with great optimism and truth, her words are informative, strategic and inspirational.

Elam-Thomas, the youngest daughter of two very caring working-class parents, grew up in one of Boston's poorest neighborhoods. During the harsh realities of her youth, she became painfully shy, overweight and insecure. Yet, the little Elam girl, as she was called as a child, fought back by refusing to allow lack of resources, racism, or sexism to poison her soul, or limit her potential.

Ambassador Elam-Thomas is fluent in three languages. On world stages she delivered speeches in French, Greek and Turkish, having learned the latter at the age of 47.  She has lectured at numerous venues across the U.S. and offers customized speeches on a broad range of categories.

Ambassador Elam-Thomas talks the talk, because she has walked the walk.  She is one of those rare human beings whose greeting immediately fills one with a sense of confidence that they matter. Not everyone is in need of such affirmation of self-worth, but those who are, as well as those who don't, will benefit tremendously from her pearls of wisdom; especially at this juncture when civil discourse and kindness are less common occurrences in our society.

The combination of Elam-Thomas' warm smile and unflinching gaze into the eyes of those she meets, speak volumes about her indomitable spirit and deeply-rooted belief in establishing a genuine connection with the person standing in front of her. The moment is intentional, and it is pure.

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