Wilson Jn Baptiste, CEO of Gems of Saint Lucia, starts a new journey as an Adjunct Instructor at New York University.
Gems of Saint Lucia would like to congratulate our CEO, Wilson Jn Baptiste, on his latest adventure into academia. Starting today, September 3rd, 2015, he will start a new journey as an Adjunct Instructor at New York University, to teach Hospitality and Tourism Accounting.
“I feel honored that I have been given this opportunity to join the Faculty of New York University’s School of Professional Studies. I do believe that we both made the right decision, offer and acceptance, and I look forward to giving the world of academia my very best.”
It was his passion for tourism, preservation of the environment and love for academia which caught my attention when I first met him. His love for St. Lucia and his commitment to making a difference in the tourism sector in Saint Lucia and the Caribbean, has driven him in search of excellence. His entrepreneurial spirit inspired him to develop Gems of Saint Lucia, a company uniquely designed to market the cultural and heritage sites of Saint Lucia through his marketing brand ‘Marketing is everybody’s business.’ In his quest to better understand the tourism industry, he completed his Master’s Degree in Tourism Management at New York University, an institution which he has the highest respect for. Within this safe haven of academia, he was able to excel and defend his ideas with conviction with special emphasis on the development of Small Island States. Now, he will be able to teach at this prestigious university.
Wilson, the last child from a family of seven, has a special love and deep regard for this mother, whom he refers to often as ‘Ma McPhail,’ who was a well-respected woman in the small town of Vieux-Fort where he was born and lived for most of his young life.
“My mother instilled in us the values of education, integrity and hard work, because she wanted us to be successful. However, she defined success, not from a material perspective, but from a perspective where we will be adding value to mankind and ensuring that we leave this planet better than we found it, for the next generation. As a result, we were left to choose that area of work which will allow us to achieve these goals.”
Wilson’s has excelled in all areas which he has ventured into. As a young boy he was noted for his intelligence at school as well as his athletic abilities in sports. He represented his town, Vieux-Fort, In Soccer matches against various teams on the island and also coached Vieux Fort to earn the title of National Soccer Championship in 1994. He was the vice-captain of Saint Lucia’s under 18 national soccer team at the Caribbean level. He trained as a hotel accountant and reached a point where he asked himself, ‘Can I see myself being a hotel accountant for the rest of my life?’ The answer to this question was ‘NO.” This was the turning point which caused him to seek educational opportunities in the United States. He has been the recipient of several scholarships and awards which includes: Partners of the Americas/USAID Scholarship, where he studied for one semester at the Dominican College in New York. In addition, he also studies Food and Beverage Management and Cost Controls in Venezuela through a scholarship from INCATUR, Venezuela. Further, he also studied “Train-The-Trainer” in Barbados through a Canadian International Development Agency scholarship. Finally, Wilson received from New York Life Insurance the Career Success Award and the Career Life Producer Award where he worked as an Agent and Financial Advisor.
“I have given my best and enjoyed every stage of my life.” He says to me proudly. “As a result, I am looking forward to passing on that culture to my daughter, Eartha Abbygail Jn. Baptiste, who is a university graduate in New York. I am aware that my legacy could have an influence on her life because when I informed her that I had accepted the position of Adjunction Instructor at New York University, to teach Hospitality and Tourism Accounting, her response was: “Congratulations. NYU and academia have always been high points in your life. I hope you make the best of it.” These words are priceless as they indicate to me that my passion has not gone unnoticed by my daughter."
Wilson believes that his life experience plus completing his Masters degree in his fifties puts him at an advantageous position in teaching at New York University. “I have engaged in the creation of a hospitality and tourism marketing concept aimed at increasing the involvement of Caribbean nationals in the marketing of the Caribbean’s destination under the theme “Volunteerism Is Everybody’s Business” and “Marketing Is Everybody’s Business.” These concepts were also designed to reduce on leakages in the Caribbean’s tourism industry. I believe that one day this concept will be embraced by the Caribbean and will form the platform for the marketing of the Caribbean’s tourism and hospitality products.”
“I will bring with me to this opportunity, knowledge from one of the leading learning institutions in the US, which also has global name recognition, New York University (NYU). As an NYU alum, with a Bsc in Hotel and Tourism Administration and an Ms in Tourism Management, this opportunity will present me with the environment to impart new and evolving knowledge to the next generation of tourism and hospitality leaders. In addition, this opportunity will also allow me to share my NYU experience and culture with these students with the intention that by the end of the semester they would have earned greater knowledge in accounting than me.”
Wilson knows how difficult it is to break into the employment market especially in the current economic situation worldwide. His advice to students is to find that area of work that they are passionate about and that will allow them to solve some of the world’s pressing problems through the creation of new products, the elimination of old products that are not working and increased efficiency of those products that are yet to meet their fullest potential.
In addition to working in the tourism industry, Wilson has a diverse range of work experiences across different sectors and cultures. Through his Consultancy, he worked with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which allowed him to communicate with over 50 different Country Offices. This experience, also added value to his exposure to different cultures in the US, Canada and the Caribbean, in both the professional and academic fields. He has worked on a number of assignments where he has partnered with airlines, hotels and major stakeholders in moving projects from vision to reality.
Wilson has very specific advice for the youth in the Caribbean, especially in his home country Saint Lucia. “This is your life and you have a limited time to achieve your goals. However, whether you achieve your goals or not, spend your time with those people who will motivate you, read the books that will inspire you and take personal responsibility for your decisions, including their consequences. There is nothing like failure in this life.”
Written by: Magdalene Cooman
Director of Operations, Gems of Saint Lucia
Wilson Jn. Baptiste is currently the Chief Executive Officer and founder of Gems of Saint Lucia/Caribbean. He developed the name brand, “Gems of Saint Lucia/Caribbean” for Saint Lucian/Caribbean tourism products (hotels, festivals, conferences, cultural and heritage sites), under the theme “Marketing Is Everybody’s Business.” The goal of this concept is to engage Saint Lucians and Caribbean nationals and Friends of St. Lucians/Caribbean nationals, in the diaspora, into marketing teams for the purpose of marketing the island’s/Caribbean’s tourism products. He has also been a guest lecturer at New York University. In addition, he has also appeared as a guest on radio and television stations in Saint Lucia to discuss the impact of tourism on Small Island Development States. Jn. Baptiste has also published a number of articles on tourism in newspapers in the Caribbean.
Wilson is a member of the New York University Alumni Association which engages in educational, networking and voluntary activities for the less fortunate and is also a member of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Planning Committee for Diaspora Programs, since 2012. He is also a member of the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), which is headed by Dr. Roy Hastick, whom Wilson describes as a mentor and inspirational friend.