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Bahamian Talent Finds Success At Sandals In Jamaica

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – It is said that opportunity knocks only once but if Leslie Lightbourne’s story is anything to go by then we have ourselves the perfect oxymoron, as that statement would be a true myth.



NASSAU, BAHAMAS – It is said that opportunity knocks only once but if Leslie Lightbourne’s story is anything to go by then we have ourselves the perfect oxymoron, as that statement would be a true myth.

Lightbourne, born and raised in New Providence, Bahamas is the entertainment manager at Sandals South Coast in Jamaica where he is gleaning a wealth of exposure, experience and accomplishment.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me. It is actually one of many that I have been afforded courtesy of Sandals. I had no idea that I would end up here but it has been very fulfilling so far,” he shared.

A trip down memory lane will reveal how Lightbourne got started in entertainment and how he ultimately landed his dream job at Sandals.

From a very tender age, his family recognized that whenever he sang, he was an aural delight. His mellifluous tenor could lull anyone to sleep. As a student of the Doris Johnson Senior High School, he joined the National Boys’ Choir of the Bahamas, a prominent singing group. This saw him traveling throughout the United States of America.

But after high school, a career in music seemed more idealistic than anything else. Lightbourne ended up taking on jobs that he had little or no passion for, including the very first job for which he applied at Sandals.

“I flew from Nassau to Exuma to see if I could get a job with Sandals in the housekeeping department and I did. I remember on the first day of orientation, they asked for a show of hands if we were there for entertainment,” he explained.

By Lightbourne’s account, in that moment he fought with the idea of whether he should stay in housekeeping or take a chance at raising his hands.

“I raised my hand and the general manager asked to speak to us one on one. I admitted to him that I was not one of the playmakers but I really wanted to move into that department. I told him of my experience in the world of performing arts and without hesitation, he called in the entertainment manager and told him to give me a chance,” he said.

Lightbourne shared that from the time he became a playmaker, he was given opportunity after opportunity and he began experiencing exponential growth, personally and professionally.

In 2016, he was promoted from a playmaker to the entertainment supervisor and then in 2018, he received a letter that he was selected to be part of the Management Training Programme, the company’s premier leadership development initiative.

“I was handpicked by my director. When it happened I was pleasantly surprised as I had no idea that, a plan was in the works. That showed me that the company recognized my value and that they were invested in my growth and development,” shared Lightbourne.

“I was sent to Jamaica for my first leg of training. I was an understudy for some of the most talented, creative minds in the company. I spent about nine months working with Entertainment Manager, Gareth Bailey who taught me a great deal,” he said.

“Under his tutelage I learned event planning, décor, props and lighting. Back in the Bahamas I was exposed to a lot but through the programme I was exposed to far more especially on the production side of things,” he continued.

He would later travel to Sandals Grande St Lucian where he spent eight months acquiring even more knowledge of the entertainment operations within the company.

By the end of 2019, a few months prior to the end of the training programme, Lightbourne was presented with yet another opportunity. This time it was for him to move into the role of entertainment manager for one of the resorts in Jamaica.

“I was extremely elated. Before I even graduated, I had a job waiting for me,” he recalled with glee.

But then in 2020, the unthinkable happened- a pandemic, which saw businesses all over the world closing. As a result, Lightbourne’s plans to go to Jamaica were deferred and so he managed the entertainment department at Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma.

In January, 2022 Lightbourne transferred to Sandals Royal Bahamian as the entertainment manager where he played a pivotal role in the grand opening of the entertainment beach club.

A year later, Lightbourne was selected to be the entertainment manager at Sandals South Coast in Jamaica, his biggest feat to date. He now manages 25 internal team members plus those he outsources for different productions at the resort.

“This is a major step forward for me. It can be daunting but it shows that this company believes in me and my talent. I am happy to be here and Jamaica definitely feels like home. The people are like family,” he shared.

And there’s no doubt that the team feels the same way about him. Corporate Manager for Entertainment, Heather Effs, lauds him for the synergy he has with his team at Sandals South Coast.

“He is a very dedicated individual. He is open to change and he is really talented. I think one of his greatest strengths as a leader is his ability to forge solid relationships with his team,” she said.