Nipissing University's iLEAD program is proud to have the opportunity to send a team of 11 advanced business students and faculty members for the 5th consecutive year on a special international project to Jamaica. The The trip departs on Sunday, February 14 and returns on Sunday, February 21, 2016. This year, they will be offering consulting work to an Eco-tourism resort called Fern Forest Eco-Village. For more information on iLEAD program, please visit our website.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

2nd Annual Business Showcase and Awards

The students presented their work from the 2016 Jamaica Expedition at the 2nd Annual Business Showcase and Awards. The groups discussed in depth the obstacles they had to overcome while working in Jamaica, as well as demonstrating the benefits of applicable outside the classroom learning.      
Jenna Turcotte, Tealia Carriere and Zack Filipov presenting their
work at the 2nd Annual Business Showcase and Awards. 
Katie Benson, Jessica Tabbert, Courtney McColeman, Chantal Ouellette, Brenden Benoit
 and Andrew Holland presenting their work at the 2nd Annual Business Showcase and Awards.

The students represented the iLEAD Expedition with great professionalism and enthusiasm. The posters will also be on display at the 9th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference, this Friday April 1st, 2016.

Congratulations everyone on your wonderful achievement!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Post Expedition

Well, it’s been one full day since we’ve been back in the great white north. I got in my car to drive to work today, and needed to remind myself that we drive on the right side of the road, not the left. Not to mention I took a three hour nap today. You would think after a vacation, you would be well rested, but due to our early mornings, and busy days I was exhausted. 

I have spent most of my day today looking at all my pictures from the past week and reminiscing about all the amazing adventures we experienced. These included climbing up water falls at Dunn’s River Falls, to jumping off cliffs at Blue Hole, bringing the school supplies to the children at Breadnut Hill Elementary School, or when all 13 of us climbed the mountain at Fern Forest Eco- Village. Just thinking and writing about these experiences puts a smile on my face. Although all these experiences were incredible, it was my 10 other classmates, along with Linda Piper and Natalya Brown that truly made this trip so memorable. I have made many friendships that will last far beyond the ending of this course.

Courtney McColeman

Post Expedition

Throughout my university career I have been fortunate to experience a multitude of events that have contributed to my growth and shaped me as an individual. This past week’s trip wit the iLEAD Jamaica Expedition is just one example of this type of event. Traveling to other countries is life altering in many ways; the culture, geography, struggles and ingenuity of the people bring about perspective in one’s own life and conjure the need for self-reflection. 

Shortly after departing from the airport on the way to our hotel, the social and economic divide present in the country became apparent. To the side of the highway were makeshift shacks and shelters, small roadside vendors with dilapidated carts and old cars in a state of disrepair. In the far off hills were stately houses on large plots of land surrounded by fences and walls. It was clear early on into our travels that there was a need for assistance in these communities, a place for our expertise, an opportunity to make a difference.
The visions of, and goals created by the owners of Fern Forest Eco- Village reflected their kindness, generosity and caring towards the people and welfare of their community. The village itself is being constructed in a manner that honours the need for sustainability, and the protection of our environment. There is a conscious effort to substantially reduce the ecological footprint not only during the construction phase of the business but also for when business becomes operational. There is an understanding that, to improve a community, job opportunities must be available. The business already employs local men to assist in the cultivation of the grounds and the construction of the living quarters. The desire is to one day be able to employ other members of the community to fill the variety of job positions that will be created. Lastly, there is a commitment to the future of their community in the form of camps for local children, provided free of charge. These weeklong camps educate children as well as their parents on positive health practices and ecological awareness, while building self-esteem and creating a safe learning environment. These business owners have an abiding commitment to helping their community and, with our group’s input originating from knowledge obtained through various streams of study, we hope to assist these owners to explore options available to help them realize the short and long term potential of our suggestions and feedback.
Although we are still in the beginning stages of development regarding the creation of a business plan/suggestion package for this business, the ideas presented by group members, and our desire to understand the needs, and overcome the logistical challenges of the Fern Forest project, gives me confidence that our final product will benefit these owners and ultimately, the community as a whole.
Our journey to Jamaica left indelible memories and impacted us personally. The joy on the children’s faces at Breadnut Hill Elementary School will remain etched in our memories.  Overcoming our fear of jumping into a pool at the base of a waterfall at Blue Hole gives us confidence we can overcome many of life’s obstacles.  The respect and kindness exhibited by the Jamaican people inspires us to live our lives in a similar fashion, and the vision of the Fern Forest resort owners reminds us to be generous towards our community while honouring the planet we call home. Traveling opens our eyes to the world around us and lets us experience, if only for a short time, the struggles of those less fortunate than ourselves. We are privileged to have had this opportunity to be part of an educational institution that places value in experiential learning and to have the means to share our journey with all of you. Thank you for following us and providing us with your continued support.

Andrew Holland


Monday, February 22, 2016

Day 8

Flying out of beautiful Jamaica was one of the hardest things to do. Of course the day we fly out is the most beautiful of the entire week and made us wonder why we had to go. But, every good thing must come to an end and it sure has been an amazing experience here in Jamaica. We were all packed and ready to go at 9:30 am this morning, having missed time to sun bathe before packing, when island time kicked in. The bus ended up being over an hour late meaning we could have snuck in one last kayak trip or swim in the ocean waves, but there is always our next visit! Once aboard, our 2-hour journey to the airport begun as we soaked up the last of the heat, and sight saw the palm trees. We were able to get our tickets and get through customs quickly leaving more time to shop in the duty free! Many of us stocked up on last minute souvenirs for everyone back home and out way to the food court for a bite to eat before take off. Our plane was able to leave early and we caught the last glimpse of the sparkling ocean from the airplane windows. The airplane take-off was surprisingly easy, and we were treated to watching ‘The Intern’.

We watched a beautiful sunset from above the clouds, and when coming into Toronto, saw the city lit up brightly against the darkness. We past through customs with ease and found our suitcases soon enough. Many of us changed into warmer clothes before facing the dreaded winter we originally escaped. 

Everyone then started their drive home to North Bay where we were greeted by large snow banks and cold weather. One thing I did miss was the smooth, large roads unlike my countryside roller coaster back in Jamaica! I have learned a lot and feel more culturally broadened and feel I will someday return to my island where being late is, ‘ya mon’.

Tealia Carriere