SERVING HUMANITY WITH PASSION AND PURPOSE
HR Consultant, Artistic Director & Philanthropist
“I am moving in alignment with my purpose. I’m making a positive impact on those whom I serve and I’m loving every minute of it.”—Stacy-Lee Abrahams
Imagine a day when you rise early, ready to start the day because you feel passionate about everything you’ll be doing throughout the course of the day. You’re elated and rightly so because your passion and purpose are in alignment.
For some people, identifying and living their passion seems to come naturally, but for others it is not so easy. Still, to have multiple passions in life isn’t unheard of and VBD Magazine is honored to feature leaders who embody the full spectrum of this experience. That’s why we are excited to highlight the incredible achievements of purpose-driven leader Stacy-Lee Abrahams, who is serving others through her many gifts and talents.
Stacy-Lee combined her multiple passions into one vision, and everything fell in place. Today, she serves as a Human Resource Management professional who works with multiple brands operating in Jamaica and lends time as an HR Consultant to start-ups and small businesses. This gifted leader is also the Founder and Artistic Director of the Ycats Dance Studio, and Founder of the From the Arts with Love Outreach project. Stacy-Lee is motivating and equipping others to rise above their fears to leave their marks on the world. “Every individual has gifts and talents that can have a positive impact on humanity,” says Stacy-Lee.
Whatever stage you are on in your journey, our interview with the multi-talented leader will be beneficial to you. Stacy-Lee gets candid about aligning her personal values, purpose, and passion with her career, business, and relationships. Best of all, she demonstrates it pays to dream big.
Stacy-Lee lives and works in Kingston, Jamaica but spent her early years with her grandparents in the countryside. Her childhood experiences played a significant role in shaping her path and influencing her passion for helping others.
“I have watched as my grandparents Robert and Mabelle Johnson graciously opened their home to others and showed kindness and compassion to everyone they meet. They were a principled couple who never failed to underscore the importance of living life with purpose. As their first grandchild, I am one of the beneficiaries of their awesome legacy, and I chose service to humanity as my passion and purpose.
“I find that establishing your core values and doing the things that truly matter produce rewarding life experiences. A purpose-driven life embodies motivation, resilience, strength, enthusiasm, and passion. I deliberately combined my passion for people development and love for the performing arts so that I could serve others and live a fulfilling life.”
A CAREER IN HUMAN RESOURCES
“My childhood dream was to become a star – dancing and singing on television. I soon found out that I was denied the gift of vocals, but I had the capability to dance. However, life had other plans for me so pursuing my childhood dream took a back seat.
“After high school, I interviewed for a human resources summer internship position at the National Export-Import Bank of Jamaica (Ex-Im Bank) and was successful. The opportunity at the Ex-Im Bank sparked my desire to pursue a career in HR. After I completed the internship, I was offered a temporary position and subsequently a permanent position in the human resources department where I continued to gain more knowledge and experience in human resources.
“My first course of study at University of Technology, Jamaica, was in marketing management, which had a HR Management module. It was through this module that I came to appreciate the benefit of developing competence in others for them to realize their potential. After completing a second course in business management and HR, I was convinced that human capital is the most valuable resource in business, and that a solid HR foundation is key to harvesting the true potential of people.
“My career as a human resources professional is truly satisfying, and it’s aligned with my personal values to support and develop others, while giving me an opportunity to influence innumerable aspects of any organization for which I work.”
LEADING WITH HEART
Stacy-Lee is known to hold herself and others to the highest level of accountability and professionalism. While quick-witted and humorous, Stacy-Lee also has a fiery side, but is quick to apologize and take responsibility for her actions.
“In the early years of my HR career, I struggled with the dilemma of maintaining a high-performance standard and being understanding where others fell short. I quickly learned that managing relationships is a key ingredient for my own success, and this meant taking into consideration challenges which individuals are facing. For me, it meant exercising patience and direction, and providing support to ensure the overall success of the team.
“One of the most effective personal development courses that I have undertaken is a version of heart style leadership. This experience has set me on a journey to becoming the best version of myself, developing habits that are characterized by love and humility, while avoiding behaviors associated with pride and self-limiting fear.”
A PASSION FOR THE ARTS
Despite her busy schedule as a human resource practitioner, Stacy-Lee’s childhood dream to be a dancer started to emerge when she began attending Meadowbrook United Church in Kingston and became a part of their dance ministry. As a member of Meadowbrook United Church Dance Ministry, she got a chance to manifest her dream as the group travelled the island and overseas to minister at various events.
A natural dancer and choreographer, Stacy-Lee enhanced her competence through training received from the Tony Wilson School of Modern Dance, Praise Academy of Dance, and the Edna Manley School of Dance. After honing her dance skills for over 20 years, Stacy-Lee co-founded BASIS Performing Arts Ensemble, and to build something that would last beyond her lifetime, she later founded Ycats Dance Studio which caters to children and young adults.
As the Artistic Director of Ycats, Stacy-Lee specializes in teaching modern and contemporary techniques but also enjoys jazz, creative folk, and reggae choreography. Her accomplishments are numerous but some especially worthy of mention are:
● Over 20 years producing theatre productions and workshops including initiatives in the Bahamas, Maryland, USA, and Florida, USA
● Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Festival Competition –Awards in creative folk, modern, praise and jazz choreography
● World Championships of the Performing Arts (WCOPA), USA – 2009 Gold and Silver medal awards for modern, creative folk, jazz, and pop choreography
● WCOPA – 2008 Opening Ceremony guest choreographer (reggae fusion), Universal Studios, Hollywood LA
● WCOPA – 2008 Junior Grand Champion of the World award for pop choreography; Gold medal awards for modern, jazz, and creative folk choreography
● WCOPA – 2007 Silver medal award for lyrical and open category choreography
Highly regarded in the performing arts landscape, Stacy-Lee's artistic creativity, skillful ingenuity, and choreographic originality have thrilled her appreciative audiences at home and abroad. She has distinguished herself as an exceptional choreographer in Jamaica. Stacy-Lee is deeply committed to unlocking dreams and empowering her aspiring and established dancers. “As a teen and young adult, dancing was the channel through which I expressed my emotions and built confidence,” says Stacy-Lee. “Now as an adult, it is my ministry and the means by which I help others to grow.”
Stacy-Lee was quick to praise her team. “I have the most amazing team who work alongside me and share in this passion. They understand the purpose, mission, and the level of commitment necessary to achieve excellence.”
Stacy-Lee’s service to humanity is not limited to her work or her dance studio but reaches into the wider society to provide support for children who are less fortunate. She embodies the true essence of a philanthropist, giving of her time, talent, and resources to those who are less fortunate. Through her outreach project From the Arts with Love, Stacy-Lee is committed to exposing children in homes and places of safety to the performing arts and engages friends locally and overseas to join her as she spearheads projects aimed at supporting the children through the donation of food, clothing, books, and toys.
The COVID-19 virus and all its variants present unprecedented challenges for businesses and individuals. “While lives and livelihoods across the globe were severely impacted by this disease, the situation also presented an opportunity for reflection, flexibility, creativity, and sharing,” says Stacy-Lee. “The pandemic stretched my imagination and through faith, I was able to identify creative ways to continue dance classes and the outreach projects.”
When speaking with Stacy-Lee about overcoming obstacles, she likened challenges to making lemonade when served with lemons. “I like to picture my obstacles as lemons and then work hard to create my best glass of lemonade. It however takes the key ingredients of prayer, perseverance, self-will, and a deep commitment to achieving success.”
IDENTIFYING YOUR PURPOSE
Finding your purpose is the key to a happier and healthier life. Here are Stacy-Lee’s tips that can help you identify your purpose:
1. Go to the source. You have a creator who knows your purpose.
2. Determine your personal value system.
3. Explore your passions and assess how they are aligned with your personal values.
4. Be authentic so that your purpose and passions are real.
5. Practice self-compassion so that you can give the best of yourself in every situation.
6. Find a way to transform challenges into purpose.
7. Simplify your life and focus on the things that really matter.
8. Spend time with people who are positive and purpose-driven.
9. Help someone, it will bring you immense joy.
10. Ignore your critics, especially your inner critic.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
“I intend to take advantage of the opportunities of operating in the virtual space so that my work can be shared to a wider audience. I’m working to build a virtual dance program called YcatsLive, as well as a platform where individuals and organizations can easily access the benefit of my extensive HR experience. I would also like to form stronger partnerships to improve the lives of children who are less fortunate.”
Click & Visit: Ycats - Soul of Dance