An underwriter for Endurance Re, 28-year-old Alexandra Juul truly values the diversity that accompanies her position. “Every year, depending on how frequent and severe the catastrophes are, there are fluctuations in the market making each renewal season different from the previous,” Juul says. “The cyclical manner of the industry keeps things interesting.” Championing Bermuda’s robust reinsurance market and the number of Bermudians it employs, she notes the potential for personal advancement as one of the industry’s key selling points. “Due to the size of the market in comparison to other places, it also provides upward mobility, which is great as that is essentially the ultimate goal in one’s career,” she explains.
Juul got her start in the industry working at a local brokerage firm during the last two summers of her university years, and gained valuable insight into the basic building blocks of the market, helping her to build a solid foundation. Her immediate objective is to continue progressing professionally and better establish herself within the Bermuda reinsurance market. She also aspires to expand her influence at the company over time. “I will settle for increasing responsibilities and challenging tasks leading to more senior positions where I can help guide the company towards ever-increasing success.”
“Returning to an island and looking for work at an architectural firm amid an economic recession proved to be a daunting task,” says 29-year-old Jonathan Castro of his initial experience upon moving back to Bermuda from abroad. “I ended up working in a retail shop, stacking boxes for two weeks, not knowing where the next job would be.” Now a graduate architect at Cooper Gardner Architects, Castro proved that a weak economy couldn’t slow his drive, and makes clear that his current success comes from a genuine love of his industry. “It’s one of the few professions where you are considered ‘the greatmulti-tasker,’” he states. “I really enjoy that every day isn’t the same, and that the constant change of scale with types of projects and types of work is always dynamic.”
For those starting out in the architectural industry, Castro’s advice is blunt, but constructive. “You’re going to fail,” he says. “Now, that may not be the best way to start off an encouraging speech, but the greatest way to gain any experience is to get out of your comfort zone.” Elaborating that failure can be a great step towards selfreliance, he explains that such trial-and-error helped him to develop his creative and illustrative imagination. He also adds that being a part of the Institute of Bermuda Architects (IBA) reassures him that his profession can function both in the business realm and the community at large, and make a positive difference.
Inspired by the interpersonal character of her job and its numerous opportunities for growth, Khayriyyah Joyiens of the BF&M Insurance Group has evolved to occupy her current position as underwriting individual case coordinator after having started at the company as a summer student several years ago. Since then, the 23-year-old has worked her way up through the IT department, and ultimately realised her true calling. “Acting as a liaison within the business has allowed me to build on my people skills whilst working with various personality types,” admits Joyiens. “After almost two years in information systems, I decided to pursue my aspiration and passion to explore underwriting.” Noting that BF&M fully supported this goal and made her transition to a new department as smooth as possible, she elaborates on the gratifying nature of her job. “I am able to contribute to initiatives that are changing, developing and growing the business.”
Noting that her biggest career obstacle has been learning how to maintain a proper work/life balance, Joyiens points out that doing so has resulted in higher job satisfaction and additional time to pursue personal goals. “Underwriting is a fast-paced, dynamic, often pressurised and inspiring industry,” she says. “I enjoy being able to work under pressure, which involves dealing with the stress or urgency of matters requiring attention.”