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:
“My environment is ever-changing, and the best thing is I get to evolve and grow with the business,” states 26-year-old business manager Yanni DelValle of her role at HSBC Bermuda. “Every day I am challenged to find ways to streamline processes and find effective ways to improve the staff and customer journeys.” Having graduated university with a degree in women’s studies, DelValle never expected to end up in banking, but in 2013 she accepted a position as part-time teller and began to take a keen interest in the inner workings of the bank. Within three months, she was a full-time employee whose persistent enthusiasm and eagerness to learn resulted in her current position as business manager. “It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you are willing to learn and know that nothing is impossible,” she says.
DelValle thanks her parents for helping her get to where she is today, noting that they made countless sacrifices for her. “They are the hardest working people I know,” she says. “They ensured that my sister and I accomplished the things that they always wanted but never had the opportunity to accomplish.” In terms of ambitions, she hopes to be sent on an international assignment in another HSBC jurisdiction to acquire new knowledge that can benefit the Bermuda branch, and ultimately wants to leave a legacy for those that come after her. “Knowing that I can be a role model and assist in the development of people who started where I did is very humbling, and I hope I can leave a positive impression.”
Vanessa Bean is 30 years old, and works as an interior designer at OBM International (OBMI). “I love that I indirectly help my clients in their daily lives by providing functional, yet aesthetically pleasing spaces where they live, work and play,” she says. “The most exciting part of my career in Bermuda is getting the chance to develop spaces inspired by my island home.” Having originally worked as a furniture sales rep at Rooms For You, Bean’s first position at OBMI was as a volunteer in their design materials library, and she eventually worked her way up to become a full-time designer in 2012. Specialising in graphic presentation and space planning for projects of all shapes and sizes, she aims for her work to create the stage for a unique experience. “Art inspires life, life inspires art,” she declares.
“I would advise them firstly, to believe in themselves,” Bean says of advice she’d give to those considering interior design as a profession. “Seek an accredited school and know that this is a multi-faceted industry which requires patience, compassion and professionalism.” To encourage more interest in the field, she hopes to help increase community awareness about her profession and inspire locals to embrace the opportunities available for a career in interior design. Her long-term goal is to design spaces that affect the greater community while encouraging growth and Bermudian pride. “I feel that our intimate community is providing me with just what I need in this stage of my career.”
“Although I didn’t start out in banking, I brought with me experience and transferrable skills from previous positions I’d held,” states Melissa Pridham, vice president of financial services at Clarien Bank at age 30. Having formerly owned a restaurant in Halifax with her husband, she notes that “business is business,” and that a lot of the skills required are the same whether you’re selling a steak or a bank account. Pridham values Clarien’s position as a smaller bank in giving her more exposure to opportunities she might not have at a larger organisation. “Be flexible, adaptable and embrace ambiguity,” she advises prospective bankers. “It’s critical in remaining competitive.”
Pridham highlights her gratitude at having the constant guidance of her fellow Clarien team members. “There is still much for me to learn in banking, so I intend to further immerse myself in different areas of the business and explore as many opportunities as I can to grow professionally,” she reveals. “I thrive on the fact that every day is different and challenging and very much value the support from my colleagues.” Other positive influences include her father, who instilled in her the values of hard work, determination and “keeping at it.” Ultimately, she hopes do the best she possibly can at whatever she does, with passion and no regrets, and to know that she’s helped and encouraged others along the way.
To Jordan Knight, 30-year-old litigation associate at MJM Barristers & Attorneys, getting started in a career in law is a matter of being up-front and expressive. “Don’t be shy!” he says. “I’ve learned that it’s easier to get noticed by being vocal and sharing your opinion.” In 2007, Knight was accepted into the Kent Law Programme at Bermuda College, and was eventually granted a government scholarship to complete his legal studies in the UK. When asked what he loves most about his chosen career, his reply is philosophically big picture. “Everything we do as a society is immersed in the law in some way or another, which makes what I do feel like it has a purpose larger than each individual task I complete,” he reflects.
“Advocating and seeing others advocate is the most exciting part of being an attorney in my opinion,” Knight declares of his area of law. “Although I originally studied to be a corporate attorney, the allure and excitement of being a litigator has swayed me from that path.” He aims to absorb as much as possible from his current position, as well as to gain practical experience at every opportunity. His long-term ambition is to eventually become a director or partner should he remain in practice, and he is grateful for the unique learning experiences that come with working in Bermuda. “Being in a smaller jurisdiction means being part of smaller teams, and as such, having more direct working relationships with the most senior members of the firm.”