Meet The 2015 BVI Office & Operations Staff
written by Social Media Coordinator, Ryan Smith
Emily Aylward, Office Manager
Emily works behind the scenes performing all the administrative duties inside the Tortola office and acts as the main link between the New York office, Tortola office, fleets, and parents. Emily comes to us for her first year all the way from the town of Naas right outside of Dublin, Ireland. She graduated from University College of Dublin in 2014 with a degree in chemistry. Emily is extremely friendly and loves helping people, and is strongly dedicated to keeping the program running smoothly and highly organized. What the Sail Caribbean vision stands for is what really resonates with her. She says, “Not a lot of kids get the opportunity of coming to a place like this to learn, sail, and become independent. What the staff and Mike do helps them grow immensely, which is necessary for every person, no matter what walk of life they come from. Kids turn into leaders and take on responsibility.” It has and will continue to be a summer of firsts for Emily, including first time on a boat, sailing, diving, and wake boarding. When Emily is not at Sail Caribbean, she is very passionate about music, playing guitar and singing, and loves going to concerts. She also loves reading, and has read the Harry Potter series over 20 times!
Jason Hart, Operations Director
Jay is from the small town of Favershan, England. He has been with Sail Caribbean for 4 years now, initially interning as a dive instructor for a year, and then working as OPs for two years. He is now OPs director and in charge of logistics coordinating our land activities, watersports, and all equipment used during our adventures. The Sail Caribbean program originally attracted Jay with scuba diving as he has been scuba diving since he was 18, influenced by his uncle. Jay says, “I love the philosophy of the program, of what Mike believes in, trying to change the negatives to positives, and working as a team.” Jay’s favorite part of his job is having such beautiful drives when his responsibilities are needed throughout programs, such as to the North Sound in Virgin Gorda. His proudest memory is his record speedy 24 minute RIB ride from Hodges Creek Marina to the Bitter End Yacht Club.
Aoife Smeaton, Operations
This is Aoife’s second year with us. She comes from the small village of Malahide in Dublin. Aoife graduated from University College of Dublin in 2014, earning a degree in zoology. She was also the captain of her university’s surf club and a member of the ski team. After thriving as last year’s British Virgin Islands’ office manager, she will be a member of this year’s OPs staff. Known for her loving and compassionate nature, Aoife says the best thing about Sail Caribbean is the people because they are all enthusiastic, doing something they love. She is known for her diligent work ethic that never prompts her to abandon the smile on her face. As the true animal lover she is, prior to this season she was working at a wolf research center in Indiana for eight months, helping to look after socialized wolves and foxes. She was the head trainer of the foxes. Following this season, Aoife will be returning to work at the center, hand raising wolf puppies.
Brad Stephens, Operations
Brad grew up in Chicago, but has more recently been living in Costa Rica! On a whim to change up his surroundings to a place more suitable to a beach bum like himself, Brad moved to Costa Rica in 2013 and became a scuba diving instructor the following year. As a first-year staff member, he resonates with Sail Caribbean’s objective to create experiences that can possibly kick off a person’s passion. He says, “It’s great to get out there and try new things.” As a member of OPs, he has enjoyed learning a lot about boat mechanics. As a trustworthy hard worker with a loud goofy edge, Brad enjoys scuba diving, paintball and just about every sport. He even parkours!
Ryan Smith, Social Media Coordinator
Ryan is excited for her first year with Sail Caribbean, as she joins us from King of Prussia, PA. As social media coordinator, she works at making Sail Caribbean’s extraordinary adventures visible on social media platforms, and keeping everyone connected by informing parents, relatives and friends with daily trip blogs and photos. Ryan graduated from Penn State University in 2015 with a degree in public relations and French. There, she also participated in Penn State’s IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, affectionately known as THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, which is an effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. Ryan says the best thing about Sail Caribbean is everyone’s common goal, whether it be staff or students, to have tremendous adventures, try new things, learn, and grow. Her favorite part of her job is all the sights, not only those of the beautiful islands, but of students’ and staff’s constant smiles, hard work and teamwork. An avid sun bum, Ryan sees herself relocating to as many warm places as possible in her life, with her trusty sidekick, her black fluffy cat named Lucy!
The greatest challenge during the program was staying entertained during the quarantine period. Not being able to leave your boat and not having a phone, which was a crutch against boredom, it was difficult at first to stay entertained.