As Bermuda’s post-recession economy continues to slowly improve, members of a new generation of budding professionals are finding their place in the island’s diverse business landscape, honing their skills as they settle into careers in their chosen fields. For this reason, we at The Bermudian are pleased to profile the achievements of ten young people who have been nominated by their respective companies for being “Rising Stars,” those who display a special potential towards success in their fields while exhibiting a positive attitude in the face of adversity.
In 2017, our Rising Stars include candidates from banking, insurance, reinsurance, hospitality, culinary arts, law and interior design. Their stories are all equally impressive, and we hope that our younger readers will take inspiration from this feature that they can do whatever they put their minds to with the right combination of perseverance, work ethic and a little bit of luck.
This year’s Rising Stars are:
Nineteen-year-old Kayla Williams is a chef de partie at the MEF Restaurant Group, having begun her ambitious journey into the world of cuisine by enrolling in a two-year culinary arts programme at Bermuda College. After her first year, she participated in a charity event called Plates of Passion, where she was partnered with an executive chef to design and execute a menu for 100-plus guests. It was here that she met Serge Bottelli, executive chef at the Lido Complex, and was offered a summer internship at Mickey’s Bistro. “My class of 2014 from Bermuda College inspired me in my career,” admits Williams. “They made me realise that there are so many ways to be a chef, so many different personalities, styles and tastes, that when mixed together can produce incredible works of art.”
Williams’s ultimate goal is to open a café in Bermuda that caters to all eating styles (including those of diabetic, celiac, vegan or vegetarian diners) and is managed by and employs trained, qualified Bermudians. “Additionally, I’d like to create a training programme for youth and young adults that offers career skills for prospective chefs, waiters and waitresses, while helping them understand the importance of service in our community,” she adds. Noting the hurdles associated with being young and female in her chosen profession, she is nonetheless determined to show the industry that she is creative, fast, assertive and strong in her career. “The best advice I would give someone starting out in my industry would be: Make sure you really, really want it.”
Twenty-seven-year-old Andrew Burnett-Herkes is an assistant underwriter and management trainee at Argus Insurance, and highly values the supportive environment that his company provides. “I’m constantly given the tools and support needed to succeed and progress in my career,” he says. “With our small team there are opportunities to gain experience working with all manner of clients across multiple industries, which is great from a development standpoint.” Stating that he loves the problem-solving aspect of insurance, he also appreciates the sheer diversity of work he encounters day to day. “One moment I could be helping a client insure their car, the next I’ll be working on a business’s commercial fire policy.”
Burnett-Herkes notes that the biggest obstacle he had to overcome to get where he is today was himself. “Relatively shortly before I started at Argus, I was resistant to the idea of working in the insurance industry,” he admits. “Shedding that mindset was the best thing I could do.” Now, he takes advantage of any and every opportunity that presents itself, and aims to complete his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation in the near future. As for long-term goals, he aims high. “Who knows how realistic it is, but someday I’d like to run my own company,” he reveals. “Whatever industry that’s in I don’t yet know—maybe that industry doesn’t even exist yet.”
A senior associate at PwC, 24-year-old Chelsea Terceira started as a summer intern after finishing her first year of university, and was able to complete three co-op work terms within various departments as part of her degree. “This helped me to gain valuable experience and ultimately decide that I wanted to return to the insurance and reinsurance department after graduation,” she elaborates, adding that having a strong support system helped her get to where she is today. Extolling the value of early networking and relationship building, she hopes to work her way up to a managerial role in the firm, and ultimately aims to be in a position to mentor other young professionals with the experience she’s gained throughout her career. “There is a lot of opportunity in regards to career progression and mobility, as Bermuda is connected with other major financial services centres,” she says.
Terceira values the variety afforded by her career, noting that being in auditing not only gives her exposure to different companies, but the different parts within the companies themselves. “Given the size of the island, there are more opportunities to interact with and learn directly from industry leaders, which are not as common in other major cities,” she adds. In terms of obstacles overcome, she explains that completing her CPA designation was one of the hardest things she’s had to do. “It was a challenging two-year process, which often involved missing out on a social life, but the accomplishment at the end was well worth the sacrifices.”