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The Bermudian

Nine shining Gen-Yers who have set their sights high in the business world and are working their way to the top.

Damian Pitcher

As an underwriter at Freisenbruch Meyer, Damian Pitcher has been turning heads as one of the most ambitious young employees they have in their ranks. Pitcher completed his CPCU exams so quickly - in an unheard-of three exam windows - that he cannot be recognized until November when he will have completed two years experience. His supervisor believes Pitcher is, at 23, the youngest underwriter he has met to have achieved this qualification.

"Once you have the education, the network and the focus, you have the tools to go as far as you want," says Pitcher, who has set his sights on being among "the leading thinkers and innovators" in Bermuda's insurance industry. He loves working in Bermuda and would not dream of moving away from home for work. As a sports fan, he compares the Bermuda insurance market to "playing in a football league with the Premier League right next door. Some of the world's largest companies are just a few doors down. What better place in the world to ply my trade?"

Although precocious in his insurance career, Pitcher is no stranger to setbacks. As he came to the end of his biological-sciences degree, which he had hoped would lead to a career in medicine, he found he had not been accepted to medical school. However, he quickly picked himself up and completed a minor in business while waiting to reapply. Pitcher is living proof that when one door closes another one opens. He says he has found "a new avenue that I really excelled in and enjoyed."

Timeline:

2006  Graduated from Saltus Grammar School

2006-10  Attended University of Guelph, receiving a bachelor's degree in biological sciences with a minor in business

2011  Employed with Freisenbruch Meyer Group as a customer service representative

2012  Completed Associate in General Insurance (AINS) examinations

2012  Completed Associate in Insurance (AIS) examinations

2012  Promoted to underwriter at the Freisenbruch Meyer Group

2013  Completed Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) examinations

2013  Completed Associate in Reinsurance (ARe) examinations

 

Andrew Tavares

In the tough economic climate of the last few years, landing a first job can be the greatest struggle young people face. In 2012, Andrew Tavares managed to stand out from the pack of roughly 350 to 400 other applicants who applied for the customer-service position at Argus that would be his first job. Tavares suggests the greatest obstacle in winning the race for a job was self-doubt and fear. "My fears of failure could have been detrimental to my personal goals and success, so I had no choice but to face those fears head on."

It was this positive energy and focus, coupled with self-motivation, that made Tavares stand out to Maria McLeod-Smith, customer service manager. "Andrew is very charming and gracious and always makes customers feel relaxed and welcomed," she explains. "Andrew can be relied upon to do whatever is necessary to get the job done and in a timely manner. He is a joy to work with, and I am constantly being told by our customers and colleagues how much they enjoy working with Andrew."

Though he only started working at Argus in February 2012, Tavares has been promoted twice, first to relationship manager after 10 months and then to his current position of trainee assistant underwriter. His meteoric rise at Argus has earned him the recognition and respect of senior management. He was nominated for both the Argus Excellence Award and Argus Wellness Award in 2012, as part of the company's annual employee awards programme designed to recognise outstanding performance.

Tavares could not be accused of resting on his laurels. He is already working toward more professional designations, including the AINS, followed by the ARe and CPCU. His best advice "is to keep yourself motivated at all times, stay focused, work hard and always push yourself beyond your limits and you will succeed." With this positive attitude, he will undoubtedly succeed in achieving those goals. He may perhaps reach his loftiest ambition, to one day run the company.

Timeline:

2000  Graduated from Mt. Saint Agnes Academy

2001  Attended St. Mary‚Äôs University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to study for a B.A.

2007  Graduated from Compu College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, after receiving two diplomas in information-systems specialist and multimedia graphic design and development

2007  Employed with CellOne as a user support specialist

2008  Employed with Bermuda Blue Printing as head graphic designer

2009  Started a graphic-design business, AJTGraphics, while working part-time positions at FrameWorks and Kit-N-Caboodle

2012  Employed as a customer service representative at The Argus Group and promoted to relationship manager within 10 months

2013  Promoted to trainee assistant underwriter at The Argus Group

 

Kimberly D. Caines

A 6-year-old Kimberly D. Caines once said she wanted to be a senior magistrate, and it seems she has not wavered much in her career goals since then. Today, Caines is an associate at MJM, where she is honing and developing her craft as an advocate and attorney and looking toward goals that would make her 6-year-old self proud, like sitting on the bench, lecturing on law within an academic setting and motivational speaking.

Caines's career demonstrates the value of doing something about which you are passionate. Speaking of what she loves about being a lawyer, she says she enjoys "the ability to help people, the client interaction” as well as "the advocacy, appearing in court and discussing current legal issues with my colleagues and friends from law school who are now practicing." She is also keen to keep challenging herself. "One obstacle I face is not becoming complacent in any area of my life and not to stay in my comfort zone. I always strive to learn and challenge myself and to become the best version of myself I can be."

Caines's road to success involved working as a summer student in a number of different law firms while she was earning her qualifications, and gaining experience in a number of different practice areas. She says this experience of learning, observing and completing work for the lawyers she assisted helped focus her interest in civil litigation. She advises that others looking to get into her profession do the same and "use the experiences of others as a guideline but not a roadmap, glean from their experiences, but make your journey uniquely yours."

The directors of MJM, especially her pupil mentor Juliana Snelling, have inspired Caines. She is grateful to them for investing time, energy and knowledge to train her to be the litigator she has become.

Timeline:

2001  Graduated from Bermuda High School for Girls

2002  Graduated from Saltus Grammar School, Saltus Graduate Year

2002-06  Attended the University of Western Ontario to study for a B.A. (Hons) in women's studies and Spanish language and literature

2006-07  Attended Bermuda College/ University of Kent to study for a certificate in law

2007-09  Attended the City Law School (London) to study for an LL.B. (Hons)

2009-10  Attended City Law School to study for the Bar vocational course

2010  Called to the Bar of England and Wales at the Honourable Society of Lincoln‚Äôs Inn

2010-12  Employed as a pupil barrister at Mello Jones & Martin (now MJM Limited)

2011  Called to the Bermuda Bar

2012+  Associate in the litigation department at MJM Limited

 

Taniesha Brangman

Having graduated from Berkeley Institute, Bermuda College and Temple University with a degree in risk management and insurance and human resources - and a minor in accounting - Taneisha Brangman had an abundance of skills and a number of directions she could follow in her career.

Originally, Brangman planned to become an underwriter, but when opportunity knocked and a position in the human resources department of PwC was offered to her, she did not hesitate to pursue it. She advises that young people starting out in their careers "should always look to be as prepared as possible" as they "never know what opportunities await them."

Working in human resources and helping to run HeadStart, the firm's student-recruitment programme, Brangman learned she loves to mentor and help others. She says, "The true value in my career will not come from what one might define as my own individual success, but how best I am able to be used to positively influence those around me."

Brangman now finds herself in the enviable position of an experienced associate and fully designated certified public accountant. However, she explains that making the change was not all that easy. "After two years in HR, I was confident and comfortable in my ability to perform my role, so originally the thought of changing careers was nerve-wracking. It also meant, after just being promoted, taking a step back. I remember my coach at the time saying, sometimes taking a step back is what's needed to be propelled forward."

Brangman certainly is moving forward, and she is considering pursuing another professional designation to increase her knowledge base. However, the aspect of her work she still values most is the interaction with people: "The diversity within the firm is great; it provides the opportunity to work with people from different countries, cultures and backgrounds."

Timeline:

2004  Graduated from The Berkeley Institute with double honours

2007  Graduated from Bermuda College with an A.A. in business administration with distinction

2010  Graduated from Temple University with a bachelor's degree in business administration with a double major in risk management and insurance and human resource management, with a minor in accounting

2010  Employed at PwC as human resource associate

2012  Promoted to human resource senior associate

2012  Transferred to PwC Assurance as an experienced associate, and  completed all four parts of the CPA exams

2013  Promoted to assurance senior associate

Nicholas Boorman

Nicholas Boorman knows as well as anyone that if at first you don't succeed, you must try, try again. He spent a year sending resumes to insurance and reinsurance organisations throughout Bermuda before finally landing an interview with ACE. He found that his persistence paid off in the end, as ACE was as interested in hiring him as he was to work there, and the Graduate Trainee Programme they offered was tailored to his ultimate goal of becoming an underwriter.

Boorman is dedicated to this goal and is working hard toward gaining his underwriting authority as a property underwriter at ACE and completing his CPCU designation. It is clear that he is passionate about what he does. "I am a true believer, and take comfort in knowing that I work in an industry that offers various risk transfer products and services that provide vast social and economic benefits. Reinsurance allows businesses and organizations to deploy their capital and grow, which stimulates economic growth and social well being."

Boorman advises that one should "work hard and not take any opportunity for granted." He has made the most of every opportunity to expand his career horizons his job at ACE has provided. He participated in the Bermuda under 40s reinsurance London Market Tour in October 2012 as one of a group of just 21 industry professionals. He also recently completed a work-experience placement at ACE Bermuda's subsidiary ACE Bermuda International in London, and participated in a business-interruption training seminar at Munich Re offices in Munich.

Boorman's superiors describe him as a professional and committed employee who contributes to the success of his department. As he comes to the end of his two-year graduate programme, he will undoubtedly soon be taking the next vital steps toward achieving his goals.

Timeline:

2004  Graduated from Saltus Grammar School

2004-09  Graduated from St. Mary's University with a bachelor of commerce degree

2009  Employed as a senior lifeguard with the Bermuda Lifeguard Service and as a bartender at the Docksider Pub and Restaurant

2010  Employed as a sales assistant for Chitter-Chatter Telesales in London

2011  Completed an associate in general insurance (AINS) designation

Sept 2011  Employed by ACE Bermuda Insurance Ltd. as an assistant  underwriter/graduate trainee in the Property Department

2012  Attended the Munich Re: Business Interruption course in Munich,  Germany. Attended the Bermuda Under 40's 2012 Tour of London

 

Kareem James

Kareem James's best advice for anyone starting out in his industry is to "master the art of networking," and he is certainly leading by example. He was recruited for the management training programme at Butterfield while still at university, after attending their student networking reception at York University. This first position helped James establish an excellent foothold as well as an indispensable set of contacts, and he has not looked back since.

James is lucky to have a skill set and passion that allow him to do more than just an ordinary office job. In his role as an associate relationship manager for Butterfield, where he manages a book of LLCs, captives, corporate trusts and foundations, a typical week might include a corporate reception at an insurance conference, a client lunch or otherwise rubbing shoulders with influential people locally and abroad - all of which involves cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with current and prospective clients.

Though still cutting his teeth in the sales and business-development field, James is starting to become a respected face and name in the Bermuda market. He says his business mantra is "the bigger your Rolodex, the bigger your business." The ambitious young professional's ultimate goal is to see his early success develop into recognition in the global market.

James is taking advantage of all the opportunities that his role in client-relationship management affords to attend overseas conferences and develop new business, but he cannot help thinking of home when he is away. "I feel like an ambassador for Bermuda," he explains. "I take every opportunity to not only discuss what my company has to offer, but I am continually preaching and advertising Bermuda's qualities as a business jurisdiction, a tourist destination and a residential paradise."

Timeline:

2005  Graduated from Warwick Academy

2009  Graduated from York University in Toronto with a bachelor of arts degree in public policy and management

2009  Employed with Butterfield Bank as a management trainee

2011  Promoted to associate relationship manager, corporate banking

2011  Recipient of Butterfield's Service Leader Award for April 2011

 

Justin Brangman

Justin Brangman believes that "luck is only the intersection of preparation and opportunity," and it is clear that he has had an abundance of both. He began working in banking as a summer student and moved through different areas including reconciliations, trust administration and relationship management before entering HSBC's Graduate Development Programme, which led to his current position.

Brangman explains that these early stages of establishing his career were some of the most daunting. "My early days in my first full-time role were somewhat tumultuous while adapting to new expectations; however, through the support of my mentor and the encouragement of my family and colleagues, I've only grown from those experiences to be better at what I do."

He encourages others to do the same, adding, "Embrace the changes and challenges that will inevitably arise. Any plans you set will need to be flexible over time because there will always be factors outside of your control. Focus on the things inside of your control and do your best to achieve those things."

Brangman has embraced the financial sphere in which he is now working and enjoys the dynamic nature of global banking and markets. He explains how there is never a dull day in his line of work. "Working for HSBC, a leading international bank and the clients we work with, all keep things fresh and interesting on a day-to-day basis. The financial-services industry on the whole, in my opinion, is an ever-changing environment, which doesn't get stale. What I love most are the constant new challenges and finding solutions to these challenges."

Timeline:

2004  Graduated from Warwick Academy

2005  Graduated from Warwick Academy 6th Form. Recipient of HSBC Recruiting Extraordinary  People award

2005-06  Rotary International Exchange in France

2006  Recipient of ABIC Scholarship

2006-10  York University in Toronto, Canada, studying for honours degree in business economics,  with French specialization

2010  Employed at HSBC Bermuda as a graduate trainee

2011  Sent to HSBC group training course in London, England

2013  Promoted to associate relationship manager in the Financial Institutions Group at HSBC  Bermuda

 

Tyler Owen

Tyler Owen is a poster boy for the merits of pulling your socks up. At 22, after a youth during which he admits he "had unrealistic expectations of what it took to become successful" and "was not always engaged in school," Owen looked to the successful people he admired and decided there was no such thing as overnight success.

He decided on a career in insurance, and with his newfound patience, dedication and diligence, he has gone from strength to strength. Eight years after his turnaround, his superiors now describe him as "an intelligent, enthusiastic young underwriter with an insatiable thirst for knowledge."

Starting out as an underwriter at ACE USA, Owen was able to learn from some of the best in the industry. He explains that underwriting is an education in business in itself. "Every submission is effectively a case study of a Fortune 500 company. We are able to meet with the companies' management teams and have detailed dialogue about the running of their business."

Owen's advice to those who are beginning to lay the foundation of their careers is to "take your career development seriously but make sure you enjoy what you do. Invest in yourself by creating a development programme that includes the necessary designations that will help you understand and master your job responsibilities."

Owen has evidently been following his own advice, as he has already attained two important industry designations, the registered professional liability underwriter (RPLU) and the chartered property casualty underwriter (CPCU). Owen has also been accepted at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in England as a part of the Bermuda Regiment's officer-training programme. He has fully embraced his current role, constantly demonstrates a desire to learn and is open to career-development opportunities.

Timeline:

2007  Graduated from Bermuda College with an associates of arts degree  in business administration

2009  Graduated from St. John's University with a bachelor of science  degree in risk management and insurance

2009  Recipient of the Robert Clements ACE Scholarship

2009  Employed by ACE USA, New York, in the professional associate  program, underwriting

2011  Employed by ACE Bermuda in underwriting

2011  Attained the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter Designation

2011  Employed by XL Insurance (Bermuda) Ltd. in underwriting

2012  Attained the Registered Professional Lines Underwriter Designation

 

Tracy Howes

Tracy Howes got her lucky break at just 19 when Brenda Samuels at IFA (now Bank of New York) took a chance on her and offered the young woman her first position as a team assistant. Now 31, Howes has moved forward in her career by leaps and bounds.

Her philosophy "keep a smile on your face and always be willing to learn" shows just how far a positive attitude and sunny disposition can take you. After shining in the role of greeter at the annual general meeting of the Caribbean Cable and Telecommunications Association this January, she was promoted to lead customer-services representative at Bermuda CableVision.

Terry Roberson, general manager at Bermuda CableVision, notes, "Not only was she an excellent ambassador for Bermuda CableVision, but also for the island - making sure that our overseas visitors remembered their trip to Bermuda for all the right reasons."

It may not always have been easy for Howes to keep smiling. The recession has been a blow to many, and for a young mother it is particularly hard. However, Howes says her children, who are 7 and 3, are the driving force behind her success: "They push me to be a better person."

Howes's loftiest ambition is to be a manager at CableVision, and Shavonne Jeffries, customer service manager, suggests it might not be so lofty: "Tracy is very hardworking and dedicated, and I can see her going far with the continued support and training here at Bermuda CableVision. Her cheerful demeanour really does brighten everyone's day."

Timeline:

1999  Graduated from CedarBridge Academy

1999  Attended Bermuda College

2000  Started working at IFA as a team assistant

2003  Employed at Fairmont Hamilton Princess as a guest service agent

2004  Promoted to night auditor at Fairmont Hamilton Princess

2007  Employed by Bermuda CableVision as a customer service representative

2008  Worked within other departments at Bermuda CableVision, including network support, sales and dispatch

2012  Awarded Outstanding Customer Service Award

2013  Promoted to lead customer service representative at Bermuda  CableVision

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