Kelsie McLean: Dart Scholar and Beyond

In 2011, Kelsie McLean became the first Dart Scholar recipient. Beginning her career with Dart as an Administrative and Human Resources Work-X student while attending St. Ignatius Catholic School; Kelsie then went on to complete her undergraduate degree at Johnson & Wales University in Hotel & Lodging Management. Upon graduation, she accepted a job at Kimpton’s EPIC resort in Miami which eventually led to her becoming one of the first employees at Grand Cayman’s Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa where she assisted with the recruitment of over 300 employees. Another door opened for Kelsie and today she is once again at Dart, thriving and growing professionally as a member of the People and Culture team. Read on to learn more about Kelsie and her experience as a Dart Scholar.

You were the first Dart Scholar. How does it feel to see how much the programme has grown?

It is amazing to see how much the programme has evolved since I was awarded the first Dart scholarship. Since the programme began, it has become one of the most competitive and prestigious awards within our community. It is a great feeling to have been afforded that opportunity and to work with a company that is continuing to extend this opportunity to other young Caymanians. 

You were recently promoted at Dart to Specialist – Resourcing where you partner with the business to attract, source, engage and secure quality talent that supports the business needs. In what ways has your career path changed from your original plans?

When I went to university I studied Hotel & Lodging Management and had hopes of graduating, returning home and working in the hospitality and tourism industry. I wanted to give back to my country and play a part in attracting people to the Islands. While I am not technically in the hospitality and tourism industry, Dart has invested in the hospitality industry in Cayman with the development of the Kimpton Seafire and the acquisition of The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and Comfort Suites, so my current role allows me to help and support the industry from a different perspective.

What advice would you give to current Dart Scholars?

My advice to current Dart Scholars? Take advantage of the Minds Inspired Work-X programme. It is important to excel in their studies and it is an added benefit to be able to gain hands on work experience within the organisation and to build working relationships.

As a Dart Scholar, were there any defining moments during your scholastic journey that were made possible because of being in the programme?

My university offered me the option to complete a second internship or participate in a study abroad programme during the summer term. As a Dart Scholar I was fortunate to have the support that enabled me to travel to Italy and fulfill the final requirement for graduation. This was an unforgettable experience and a great end to my scholastic journey.