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Lead, Jamaica Diaspora Education Task Force, USA

Leo Gilling a proud Jamaican, by birth, and has lived in the United States for most of his adult life, since migrating from Jamaica in 1984. He is an entrepreneur who has operated successful businesses as a restaurateur and in the insurance industry where he currently runs his own insurance brokerage under the All State banner.

Leo’s first love is teaching. He holds a teaching certificate from Sam Sharpe Teachers College, Montego Bay. He is also a trained accountant by profession and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from the National University in San Diego, California.

Leo is particularly passionate about education and giving back to Jamaica and dedicates a significant portion of his time to the Diaspora movement, where, having served as Diaspora Advisory Board Member for the West/Mid-West USA 2013-2015, he is the convener of the Jamaica Diaspora Education Taskforce, a model for Diaspora engagements, which focuses on making a significant imprint on the Jamaican education landscape. He is currently leading an initiative in the Diaspora to raise $2 million towards improving education infrastructure at the basic and primary levels in Jamaica, through the Pledge2build Campaign launched last November 2016.

Leo is an avid philanthropist whose life has been one of service to the Jamaican Community, starting in California where he resided for over 30 years, more recently in the State of Florida which he has now made his home since the last 3 years. He is regarded by those who know him as a mentor and role model who, having come from humble beginnings has not forgotten his roots. His outstanding contributions to community have been made through his membership, leadership and involvement in several Jamaican community organizations, some of which he has initiated himself.

Leo serves currently on several Boards, including the Issa Trust Foundation; the Broward Alliance of Caribbean Educators (Florida); and the Partners for Youth Foundation, Florida. He is also a member of the Kiwanis Club of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. He was recently appointed to the City of Miramar Parks & Recreation Advisory Board and currently working a sister school project to twin schools in Jamaica with schools in USA.

Mr. Gilling is the recipient of several awards including the:

• Jamaica Teachers Association (JTA) Award – Work in Education
• Union of Jamaica Alumni Association Award of Excellence (2015) – Leadership in Education
• Jamaica Awareness Association of California Award- Community Relations

When Leo is not busy working, he likes to play around in his studio where he live-streams his own music and talk show programme mostly promoting Jamaican music and discussing contemporary issues. He also likes to offer his services as a photographer and as a compere at parties, banquets and community events.

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