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A Dream Deferred but Not Denied

 Beaches Turks and Caicos’ Human Resources Manager, Owenta Cindy Coleby, Shares Her Story

Beaches Turks and Caicos resort Human Resources Manager Owenta Coleby shares her signature smile at her desk at the World’s number one all-inclusive family resort

Born in the picturesque Bahamas, raised in the beautiful by nature Turks and Caicos Islands, and educated at Banneker High School in the United States, Owenta Coleby’s journey through life has been as multilayered as her work experiences.

Owenta has worked in several sectors – including a short stint at a police station and two telecommunications companies.  She worked for three years at the airport as a ticketing agent for Sky King, three years at Beaches Turks and Caicos as front desk agent and operator and continued in the hospitality industry as an employee welfare assistant then recruitment and training coordinator. She also served as deputy chairman of the Immigration Board in 2019.

Despite her busy schedule, Owenta always found time to pursue her passions. From assisting with makeup artistry for destination weddings to exploring her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse, her journey was marked by a relentless pursuit of personal and professional growth.

So strong was her passion for nursing that she made numerous visits to the Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital, formerly the Myrtle Rigby Hospital, where she observed medical procedures. During the early stages of her career, she recalls taking some time off from work to enroll in a nursing programme at the College of Bahamas. However, she did not adjust well to dorm life and soon opted out of the programme. This discontinuation of her studies was to be a redirection of her passion.

Beaches Turks and Caicos Human Resources Manager Owenta Coleby (seated) pauses from her conversation with Fitzroy Virgo, Human Resources Administrator, to have her image captured

When Owenta learnt of an opening for assistant human resources manager at Beaches, she seized the opportunity to rejoin the team in November of 2018. “Beaches is the largest company in the Turks and Caicos, second only to the government. Therefore, I considered the fact that it provides wonderful opportunities for professional growth. Within the human resources department, I also have an opportunity to improve the work experience of my team members.”

Her empathetic nature, shaped by her experiences of living abroad, fueled her dedication to supporting the diverse team member population. “When I joined the HR team, my objective was to put smiles on people’s faces by helping to create a positive and inspiring work environment through various initiatives that would boost staff morale.”

In her line of duty, Owenta recognised that there are many people who are overwhelmed and so through her management of the human resources department, she helps to provide the necessary support for team members to help them heal, grow and flourish.

In reflecting on one of the most impactful periods of her time at the resort, Owenta shared her experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The pandemic brought unprecedented challenges, but Owenta’s unwavering dedication shone through in the efforts she made to ensure that anything for her team members was done in a timely manner in preparation for the resort’s reopening.

This, she says, was a sacrifice worth making as she knew that many were depending on her. This commitment did not go unnoticed, and she was nominated by Beaches as a Pandemic Hero for the Star Awards in 2021.

Owenta Coleby, Beaches Turks and Caicos resort Human Resources Manager continues to lead the team of almost two thousand team members at the World’s number one all-inclusive family resort

Owenta is inspired by individuals like Julianna Musgrove, whose perseverance and dedication led to remarkable career advancements within the company. “Hearing her story of how she started as an intern then worked her way up to Regional Director of Learning and Development, is very encouraging.” She emphasizes the importance of hard work and humility, citing Julianna’s willingness to start from the bottom and work her way up.

Owenta further noted, “No job or department was considered below her and so she was able to take all that she had learnt, and she worked her way to the top. I admire that.”

While being motivated by others, Owenta has also been an exemplary team member to many. Managing Director, James McAnally noted, “Owenta has continued to be a source of inspiration for her peers as well as a beacon of guidance for the team members. 

“Having worked several positions in our large resort, she has been integral in assisting all levels of our team from the beginning of the recruiting process, orientation of our standards, accountability for performance, staff recognition, celebration and providing guidance for future development.  Assisting nearly 1,800 team members is no small feat, and she continues to lead the HR team with care and consistency.”

Owenta also encourages her team members to capitalize on the training that is provided through the Sandals Corporate University (SCU). “I have known of many who have worked their way up through the ranks based on the experiences gained on the job and their completion of the very practical and content rich courses offered.”

 Throughout her tenure at the resort a few of the courses she has completed are: Leadership Excellence Level 2, Professional Communication, Professional Leadership and Art of Selling. Additionally, Owenta is in the final stages of completing her Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management and Development with the University of Salford in Manchester. She is a certified recruitment and compliance specialist, and she attained her certification in Hospitality Management from Florida Atlantic University.

Outside of her professional endeavors, Owenta finds solace in listening to music. She is also a very talented singer, trumpet player, and baritone enthusiast.

In Owenta Cindy Coleby’s journey, we find a testament to the power of perseverance, compassion, and unwavering dedication. Her story serves as an inspiration to all who dare to dream and strive for excellence in every facet of life.


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