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:
“I think Bermuda offers a great start when you are trying to grow in an industry,” says 29-year-old Madison Mello of her role as a marketing coordinator for the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club. “The island is small, it is very easy to excel at something without having a degree, and Bermuda likes to watch Bermudians succeed.” With almost a decade of experience in the hospitality industry from working at Flanagan’s Irish Pub, Mello realised in the summer of 2015 that she wanted to expand her skill set and successfully applied for an assistant manager position at the Fairmont-managed hotel. In February 2016 she applied for her current position, and was delighted to be offered the job. “For the first time in a long time, I felt like I had finally figured out what I was meant to be doing,” she reflects.
Mello’s day-to-day responsibilities include crafting messaging for the hotel’s advertising, branding, public relations and social media. She also hosts social media influencers, and even had the opportunity to work with the producers of NBC’s The Today Show when they broadcast from the hotel in May of this year. “I love how current it is,” she explains of her position, elaborating that getting to meet and work with so many interesting people is one of the biggest perks of the job. For those looking to get a start in the hospitality industry, she offers simple, but powerful advice: “Believe in yourself. Close your mind to the negativity and continue to push forward. Eventually someone will notice and it will be worth the wait.”
Darrell Thomas, 30, is an IT support technician at BF&M, and loves that his career affords him the daily opportunity to help people. “Before you do anything, learn what it means to serve others,” he says. “I believe that service builds a career, solidifies character and leaves a legacy.” Noting the dynamic nature of his industry, he emphasises the importance of growing and shifting with global trends, and of obtaining relevant certifications wherever they are available. “Do your research and see what areas of IT are booming and what areas are being outsourced or reduced,” he recommends to those looking to get started in the field. “But one thing that must remain regardless of shifting trends is consistency of character.”
Thomas credits his faith, family members and BF&M colleagues for helping him get to where he is today, and adds that he has learned a great deal in his short time at the organisation. “My short term goal is to gain a better knowledge of the environment I work in, to better facilitate and assist with day-to-day tasks,” he states. “My position requires focus, growth, diligence and accountability and it is in these areas that I am placing my focus.” He explains that level-headedness and a calm attitude are essential attributes in his line of work, and that BF&M being the official insurer of the 35th America’s Cup has helped him learn the true art of teamwork in the face of tight deadlines, and ingenuity in the face of last-minute requests. “I’ve been fortunate to experience what working with a world-class organisation entails, and I have learned from it.”
An actuarial analyst at Validus Re, 25-year-old Helen Crisson approaches her chosen career path with enthusiasm and confidence. “Seeing the opportunities for growth is very exciting,” she says. “Industries evolve, so watching and being a part of something for which Bermuda is on the global stage has always been a big part of why I chose a career in reinsurance.” Having originally gotten her start in reinsurance as an intern at Validus, she has been there ever since, and started as an analyst right out of university. She enjoys the variety that comes with her position, noting that each submission is different and presents a new puzzle to solve. “When I’m not pricing, there are always projects to work on, challenging me to think outside of the box and learn new skills.”
Noting that she’s had a multitude of positive, inspirational people guide her to where she is today, Crisson states that her short-term goal is to pass the actuarial exams and get fully qualified. “Learning how to study well has been, and still is, one of my biggest obstacles,” she admits. “It’s an ongoing process that keeps changing as I continue to take the exams.” In terms of advice for people considering a career in reinsurance, she encourages young people to ask questions and never stop learning, elaborating that as the associated technologies evolve, so should one’s skills. “The more you understand, the more you can contribute, and the more you can contribute, the more valuable you are.”