Nailah Gordon-Decicieo leads by example through her advocacy and commitment. She is a Canadian with Jamaican heritage who is a multi-jurisdictional Attorney-at-Law that has been admitted to practice law before the various levels of courts of Ontario, Canada and Jamaica, West Indies.
With over a decade of experience serving as an advocate for social justice issues in various capacities, Nailah is a capacity-builder that pragmatically applies her business and legal knowledge with cultural competence to challenge the status quo by taking a multifaceted approach in making visions a reality. By collaborating with stakeholders, she creates high value for any organization she serves through offering sound strategic development. As a visionary leader, Nailah combines her global experience from living and studying in Canada, Jamaica and the United Kingdom to intuitively offer trustworthy advice with a focus on innovatively solving complex issues while promoting a sense of cultural inclusiveness that has earned her international respect.
As a community steward, Nailah focuses on making a positive impact on the lives of others and is always willing to go the extra mile to serve. She is passionate about youth issues and is an active mentor and public speaker on interdisciplinary topics concerning education, empowerment and development. She has served as an Executive member on several associations including the National Black Law Students Association and as President of the African Caribbean Association at McMaster, ultimately earning her a seat at the table wherever she serves.
Empowered by her first-hand experiences from Canada and Jamaica, Nailah possesses a well-rounded awareness of the issues facing the Jamaican-Canadian Diaspora (“the Diaspora”). This heightened sensitivity, guided by principles of integrity and fairness, enables her to holistically assess situations, prioritize and effectively address the Diaspora’s needs while motivating others to broaden their thinking and promote action for positive change.
As an Attorney-at-Law admitted to practice law in both Ontario, Canada and Jamaica, Nailah is fluent in interpreting and applying rules and regulations to advance issues of advocacy within governance frameworks to socially and economically advance the Diaspora’s well-being.
Nailah was internationally recognized as one of the Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40 by the National Bar Association in 2017; being one of the first two recipients from Canada to receive this prestigious award for exemplifying high achievement for advocacy in the legal field. Nailah then went on to obtain a Legal Education Certificate from the Norman Manley Law School at the University of the West Indies (Mona Campus) (“UWI”) in 2018. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Windsor as of 2012, and an Honors Commerce Degree with a Minor in Economics from McMaster University (“McMaster”) in 2008. She fearlessly represented McMaster and Canada as a student during a Business Exchange Program at the Manchester School of Business and eventually GraceKennedy Limited as an Intern during the GraceKennedy Birthright Programme (“Birthright Programme”) in 2008 and serving its Legal and Group Secretariat Department in 2018.
Q: What is your connection to Jamaica?
My family has been committed to the promotion and preservation of Jamaican culture irrespective of where they have geographically migrated to. I was born in Canada to a British mother of Jamaican parents and a Jamaican father whose family hail from St. Elizabeth and Kingston respectively, both sides have been strong proponents of Marcus Garvey’s teaching that, “[a] people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.”
Accordingly, this upbringing led me to immerse myself in the educational and cultural fabric of Jamaica to further the capacity for building the bridge between these two cultures. During my travels, my awareness was heightened to better understand the duality of our “Afro-centered” and “Euro-centered” cultural traditions, the cultural complexities of the land of wood and water, and exposed me to societal norms and confounding issues that affect the people of Jamaica including our values, customs, beliefs, cuisine, the arts, recreation and industrious nature.
Q: Have you been involved in the Jamaica Diaspora Movement or Jamaican related organizations before?
My identity as a second-generation Jamaican stem beyond the title. The essence of my dedication to Jamaica and the prosperity of the Diaspora movement is embodied in my commitment to professionally developing myself in both countries to help build a sustainable platform in addressing challenges facing Jamaica and the Diaspora. As a life-learner, I continuously seek ways to broaden my understanding of and strengthening my connection to Jamaica. My transformational shift to appreciating Jamaica’s socio-economic climate and institutions formally began through my selection as the Canadian Intern for the Birthright Programme in 2008. The Birthright Programme grounded my understanding of our history, roots and culture as Jamaican people and inspired my involvement as a Youth Leader representing the Canadian Delegate during the Future Leadership Jamaican Diaspora Conference held at the University of the West Indies in 2009. These opportunities positively highlighted Jamaica’s leadership in some areas of corporate and social responsibility and heightened my cultural aptitude to pursue a career that paid a balanced homage to my Jamaican-Canadian heritage. After becoming an Attorney-at-Law in 2014 in Ontario, Canada, I went on to successfully obtain my Legal Education Certificate from the Norman Manley Law School at UWI (Mona Campus) and was admitted to practice law in Jamaica in 2018.
Q: If elected what will be your main goal in this role for your constituencies?
My vision is to help facilitate an inter-generational and sustainable connection between both countries. In addition to becoming qualified to practice law in both jurisdictions to help address issues facing the Diaspora, I have begun formulating my own original preliminary framework I coin the ‘5C-Concept’ (“the Concept”) to act as a foundation when streamlining the execution of the goals we, as a community, wish to set and achieve for the advancement of Jamaica and the Diaspora.
Guided by the wise Jamaican proverb “victory nu come from lie dung inna bed” [meaning success requires hard work], I have begun curating and implementing the 5C-Concept to focus on “Cultivating Community Commitment through Cultural Competency” before securing my election. Founded on empowering and mobilizing the Diaspora, the 5C-Concept is designed to educate, nurture and promote a positive reconnection between Jamaica and the Diaspora and foster a healthy, holistic and sustainable relationship that celebrates and invests in our rich culture by engaging our vast and skillful capabilities.
I have wasted no time in applying the 5C-Concept by using my social media platform on @nailah.gd on Instagram to inspire and promote Jamaican-Canadians nationwide to showcase their commitment to Jamaica, the land we all love by participating in the GJDC Elections though registration and voting.
Q: Many in the Jamaican community abroad don’t know much about the Jamaica Diaspora movement and its goals. What will you do to change this perception and get all Jamaicans in the Diaspora involved?
My commitment to shifting poor perceptions of the Jamaica Diaspora movement and its goals has already started through the promotion of my visionary thoughts and action. From its conception, the 5C-Concept is intended to reinforce positive representations of Jamaica. My actions further exemplify the 5C-Concept through my personal dedication to Jamaica as a leader, student and professional.
As a selfless leader of my generation, I utilize existing technological systems such as social media to globally reach and generate awareness on and illustrate the relevance of key issues affecting the Diaspora, and to inspire individuals to get involved to make a difference in shaping the future of Jamaica, both at home and abroad. One of the purposes of the 5C-Concept © is to foster civic engagement. To date, the Concept has been the essence of my social media content creation, fueling content ‘likes’ and its’ sharing daily over the course of the GJDC Elections to engage and mobilize a wider Jamaican-Canadian audience to reconnect with and celebrate their Jamaican heritage by using their voice to exercise their right to vote by participating in the GJDC Elections.
One of the valuable features of the 5C-Concept is that it is sufficiently broad to encompass new goals while remaining specific to our community and flexible to gradually develop overtime as the needs of the Diaspora are continuously identified. The breadth of the 5C-Concept captures one of the objectives of the National Diaspora Policy, which is Diasporic engagement. On the other hand, the 5C-Concept remains fluid to respond and grow with the framework as the Diaspora, especially the younger generation, develops a greater understanding and deeper sense of identity and connection to the Jamaican community to develop a sustainable and engaging platform
Q: Recently there have been some who have expressed concerns about not having a voice and too much government involvement in the new The Global Jamaica Diaspora Council format that is being adopted. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Despite the political history of Jamaica, it is important to acknowledge that progress in any society is a process. A government, irrespective of which political party is in power, is a form or system of rule, that among many things, has a view to ensuring a stable environment that enables the citizens of the country to better themselves.
Accordingly, I encourage the Diaspora to focus on the primary objectives of the establishment of the GJD Council including a clearer institutional framework that fosters a greater understanding of and response to issues facing the Diaspora. The GJD Council’s creation is also intended to be a sustainable means of Diasporic engagement, especially among the younger generation.
Marcus Garvey said, “[t]he ends you serve that are selfish will take you no further than yourself, but the ends you serve that are for all, in common, will take you into eternity.”
Therefore, if we can commit to leaving or setting aside the aspects of our political past that encourages our historical divide and focus on the goals of the GJD Council, irrespective of which political party has implemented it, and truly embark upon a unified mission that carries out its work to serve the greater good, there is a hope for a sustainable GJD Council that serves the genuine concerns and interests of its constituents.
Q: Is there a cohesive goal for the Jamaican Diaspora that people can rally around?
Let us not just acknowledge the national Jamaican motto but instead, work consistently through daily steps to embrace and practice through the manifestation of our thoughts, words, and actions that “Out of Many, [We Are] One People.”
Q: Do you have any closing thoughts?
All Jamaican-Canadians, please do not delay, and vote for me, Nailah Gordon-Decicieo, today to serve you as your Canadian Representative on the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council starting in 2020. For those individuals who have registered to vote, please check your email inboxes (and junk or spam mail) for your ballot to vote for Nailah Gordon-Decicieo.
Please join and support my leadership journey by following, liking and sharing community content found on my Instagram account @nailah.gd and should you have any questions, please feel free to email me directly at [email protected].
It takes a village to raise a child and I thank every individual and organization worldwide that has influenced and supported me along the way. A special thanks to the individuals who nominated my candidacy for the GJD Council, as this journey would not be possible without you. Your efforts and encouraging words are appreciated.
I wish my fellow GJDC candidates all the best during the campaign and their future endeavors.
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