Alison has been involved in the Financial Services industry in Bermuda, Cayman and the British Virgin Islands for over 25 years. She has worked as a part of multi-national firms and banks, and has extensive experience in anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, risk management, policy development, corporate governance, training, and operational compliance. Alison has developed and implemented policies and procedures to meet operational and regulatory requirements for multiple firms.
1. What is your favourite Bermudian tradition?
I love Good Friday as it is always a fun time gathering with friends and family to fly kites and eat fish cakes and hot cross buns, which are two of my favourite things. I still buy Easter Eggs for my 3 grown children as that is part of the tradition too! Family traditions are very important to me, and I have many wonderful memories from other Bermuda holidays that I also enjoy.
2. Where is the best place for a fish sandwich?
I have to admit that I recently enjoyed one of the best fish sandwiches I have eaten at Utopia on Front Street – it used to be called Muse, with a roof-top bar that is a perfect venue for enjoying cocktails overlooking Hamilton Harbour.
3. Where is the best place for sushi?
This was a hard question for me to answer as I have enjoyed sushi at many great restaurants on the island, so I have to give a shout out to Blu, Harbourfront and Beluga Bar, but Pearl is my favourite place.
4. What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
This was another hard one to answer. If I am honest, I continue to receive advice so thinking back to one specific time and person is difficult as at different times in your life and depending upon the circumstances that advice may be relevant. For example only last week I heard something, which I think, was particularly good advice:
In my role as Chair of the 100 Women in Finance group in Bermuda, I am fortunate to be exposed to many extraordinary women who have spoken to our group over the years. At our latest Educational Event hosted last week, Laura Hay, Global Head of Insurance for KPMG, spoke about risk taking in the workplace and she spoke about having a “personal board” to support you, and this advice resonated with me. Being authentic and true to yourself is always something that has stuck with me and I try to live by that statement.
5. What do you like most about yourself?
I am a very organised person, which means that I can achieve a lot when I set my mind to it. I am very task-orientated so I run my life this way, which enables me to juggle a lot of things. I am also a very driven person and enjoy setting goals for myself so I can stay on track with what I want to accomplish on a daily/weekly basis. As a consultant this is a good trait to have as sometimes you are working for different clients on multiple projects and need to manage several tasks and deadlines all at the same time.
6. What do you like least about yourself?
All of the above! I tend to have a big problem saying NO so find myself over-committed most days. I also have a condition called FOMO, which for those who aren’t familiar with the term it means “Fear of Missing Out” hence my tendency to say YES to everything! Fortunately, I am in good company as I have a group of girlfriends who are all members of the same FOMO club and we have a lot of fun together!
7. What keeps you up at night?
It used to be my children especially during the teenage years – waiting for them to come home and then when they did come home it was often with friends, which meant our house was pretty much party central for many years. Funnily enough now that both the boys are no longer living with us I miss them and their friends – never thought I would say that!
8. What’s your favourite thing to do on Sunday?
Meeting my friend Tamara in the gym to exercise together, which generally means working our jaws as there is a lot of talking involved! Sunday night is always a family night and my 92 year old father-in-law is a weekly fixture at the dining table – it is a great time for us all to relax and enjoy catching up on the week, and what everyone has been up to. The children enjoy a very close relationship with their grandfather and often see him during the week for lunch or dinner, but I know they enjoy our Sunday night tradition as everyone leaves with full Tupperware containers to get the week started!
9. How long have you been in Bermuda?
I have lived in Bermuda since 1986. I met my Bermudian husband whilst at college in the UK and we lived in London for a few years before getting married in 1984. My husband had trained as a Barrister in London and was keen to return home and work for a law firm. I truly call Bermuda my home and can’t imagine living anywhere else.
10. What’s your favourite beach?
I like all of the South Shore beaches, but probably Elbow is my favourite.
11. What was your first job ever?
I was a teenager and worked in a record shop (shows my age!) on a Saturday and loved it as all my friends would come in, and we would be able to listen to all the new singles and LPs that came out – now I really am showing my age! I think having a job as a teenager is really important. I always made sure my children worked every summer from a young age as it encourages self-discipline, and thankfully, all 3 of my children have developed a great work ethic and sense of responsibility.
12. Who was/is the most influential person in your life?
My husband – he has always been my sounding board and drags me down from the ceiling when I am up there venting about some injustice or something that has upset me. He is also my biggest cheerleader whenever I take on something new or if I am afraid to take a risk, he will always have my back and encourage me to take that leap of faith. If I have any big decisions or issues to deal with, he is the first one I will ask for advice and guidance.
13. Do you ever get island fever?
I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel often – when all my children were away at school it was primarily to visit them, and I also travelled a lot for work, but now my husband and I are able to travel more for pleasure. We enjoy going away with our friends and both have active groups who like to play golf. Live music is something we also both really enjoy, so we try and take advantage of opportunities to travel and attend a concert, as this isn’t something we can do in Bermuda.
14. What’s your favourite thing in your office?
That is actually a great question for me to answer now as I am currently working from home again, as I recently set up a new company, Bermuda Compliance Consultants Ltd., thus I am fortunate to have a home office. I set up my home office when I started my first consulting company in 2012 and then moved in to an office in town as my business expanded, so it is nice to be able to enjoy my home office again. My favourite thing is a picture of a ship navigating an iceberg and is entitled RISK with the tag line, “A ship in the harbor is safe… but that’s not what ships were made for.”
This resonates with me as I am not afraid to take a risk – I have proven that in my career choices, and now by setting up my own company for the second time.
15. What’s your favourite thing at home?
My living room, which is still a work in progress, but has become a gathering place for family and friends – we previously referred to this room as the “Christmas Tree Room” as we only used it once a year at Christmas! I like to think it is the comfy couch and new fireplace that has makes it a great place to hang out, but I suspect it is the TV on the wall and Netflix which is enticing!
16. Loquat or Bermuda banana?
17. St George’s or Somerset?
Somerset as we lived in Sandys for many years before moving to Paget.
18. Cricket or football?
Football. Both my boys have been avid football players from a very young age and still love not only to play, but to watch it too. Luke is playing for Robin Hood currently and it is great to see him out there and involved in a team sport.
19. What are you reading right now?
I actually have a couple of books on the go right now: one more for pleasure, The Widow, and one for personal growth. I was fortunate to attend the We Speak Boot Camp last month and all attendees were given Viv Groskop’s new book entitled, “How to Own the Room” – Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking, I am enjoying her writing style as she is a stand-up comedian. I also keep another book by my bed more for reference and reinforcement entitled, “You are a Badass – How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life”.
20. What is your guilty pleasure?
That is easy – Cadbury Cream Eggs which is why I love Easter and particularly Good Friday, as the real reason I buy Easter Eggs for the children is so I can indulge in Cadbury Cream Eggs!
21. What is your biggest phobia?