Ren-Neasha Blake Gilmore
Mentor, educator, doctoral student, wife, coastal resilience specialist, co-author and lifelong learner
"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved” - Helen Keller
These are Ren-Neasha’s guiding words. She knows what trial and suffering look like but she has never used this as an excuse or reason to dampen her goal-getting spirit.
A cosmopolitan country girl: from poverty to the Ph.D. Her story is one of a country girl from rural St. Mary, Jamaica who moved to Kingston, Jamaica in her late teens in search of a better life. Her mother, father (external of the home), and grandmother made it their duty to provide for her, but it was never easy. Ren-Neasha is the epitome of resilience and she can further highlight why this is so.
Did her struggles hold her back? Let’s see. Ren-Neasha was successful in her qualifying exams and moved on to the sixth form. She was later admitted to the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she graduated top of her class with a BSc in Sociology and Social Anthropology specialization. She began teaching and started her own research business at that time. More recently, she completed a MSc in International Public and Development Management. In 2019, Ren-Neasha was awarded the Fulbright Foreign Graduate student Scholarship. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Policy with a focus on coastal adaptation and resilience at Old Dominion University In Norfolk, Virginia.
Ren-Neasha serves as a mentor to her peers and younger women. She has served as mentorship coordinator, resident advisor, and has volunteered in organizations such as Rotaract, United Way of Jamaica, and Chosen Stars Foundation. She’s also received excellence awards in culture, and resident advisorship. She empowers everyone that comes her way and continues to press for greatness.
This young woman’s story and lessons have motivated many. Her experience is real and she is willing to tell it. As a researcher and educator, Ren-Neasha is keen on topics of international relations, public policy, e-government, coastal adaptation and resilience, and development studies. She can prepare a presentation on any of these topics. She’s flexible, well-read, and will empower women through speech and hands-on activities. Ren-Neasha is also action-oriented, doing speech and drama throughout high school and recently in the Festival Queen Competition in Jamaica. Whether it’s through speech and drama, her writings, or a one-on-one conversation, IWD 2023 can benefit greatly from what Ren-Neasha has to share. Poverty is not insurmountable! Resilience is a must! Self-motivation is necessary. Ren-Neasha is proof of this.