What does the world never tire of? The passion and drive for innovation and success that the young never quit pursuing. It is the next generation of thinkers, doers and trail-blazers that our economies thrive on and, this year, our Rising Stars are the embodiment of Bermuda’s future. These young professionals hold their own in their respective industries, seeking every opportunity to learn, grow and develop their skills, so that one day soon they will be the leaders whom we depend on. We at The Bermudian are pleased to profile the achievements of 12 young people who have been nominated by their respective companies for their professional excellence. Their stories may differ but they all share in one thing: the determination to be successful no matter the opposition or adversity. It is their hard work, perseverance and positive attitudes that got them where they are today and will continue to see them through in the future.
Job Title: Premium Advance Banker
Place of Employment: HSBC Bermuda Ltd.
Education: Bachelor of Commerce, Saint Mary’s University
Years Working: 6
“I have always had a knack for numbers and an interest in helping people,” says 29-year-old Danielle DeCouto. “The financial services industry is where I’m able to have the best of both worlds.” As a premium advance banker at HSBC Bermuda, DeCouto’s role is assisting clients with financing for things like mortgages and construction loans. “I started my career opening accounts for HSBC clients,” DeCouto explains. “I was able to progress to the position of advance banker in just eighteen months.”
In her new role, DeCouto has already experienced some peaks, one in particular she calls her best day on the job. “It was when I completed my first mortgage for a client,” she says. “I was so nervous throughout the whole process, and at the end of the transaction I confessed to my client that she had helped me to achieve a milestone in my career. She was utterly surprised! Her reaction gave me more confidence to continue helping clients to realise their dreams of owning a home.”
And it is DeCouto’s daily interaction with clients that fulfills her and advances her further in her career. “I love interacting with clients. I have the privilege of getting to know them on a personal level and that makes my job enjoyable.”
DeCouto believes company support is imperative in the professional development of employees, and she credits HSBC Bermuda with encouraging their young professionals. “HSBC has the tools and support in place for one to advance,” she says. “Since day one, my managers have emphasised the importance of developing my career and told me that I am the only person who can truly make it happen. HSBC also promotes a healthy team dynamic—I have learned a lot from my colleagues in the past three years and I owe a lot of my success to their support.”
Job Title: Catastrophe Modeling Analyst, Americas Property Cat
Place of Employment: Sompo International
Education: University of Kent
Years Working: 4 years
When Danielle Furbert graduated from the University of Kent, she was determined to work in the business sector but was unsure which field was best for her. What drew her to the reinsurance industry was its challenges and the collective pursuit of viable solutions to big problems. “The reinsurance market offers an exciting steep learning curve that requires you to be able to think on your feet and continually adapt to the changes facing the industry. I enjoy taking on new challenges, problem solving and the collaborative nature of the job.”
The best part about working for Sompo International, says Furbert, is the way the company always finds a way to progress in spite of the changing shape of the insurance industry. “The company continues to seek innovative ways to stay relevant, to grow and expand their lines of business, constantly encouraging staff to take on new challenges.”
When giving advice to her younger self, Furbert says it’s all about learning to trust in your own journey and not to measure yourself against the successes of others. “I think it’s natural to feel a sense of pressure in a new role, especially in a competitive environment,” she explains. “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to trust in your abilities and embrace both your successes and failures. A strong work ethic and the right attitude can prove to be your most valuable assets.”
Looking towards the future, Furbert hopes to grow into a senior position and explore the possibilities of underwriting. But for now, she’s enjoying learning all she can in her current position and when she’s not putting in long hours in the office, she’s working hard in the gym. “This year, I took up boxing,” she explains. “It’s a great workout for both your body and your mind!”
Job Title: Actuary, Reinsurance Pricing
Place of Employment: XL Catlin Bermuda Ltd.
Education: Bachelors Degree in Mathematics and Philosophy, University of Oxford
Years Working: 8
When Sam Boaden was weighing up his post-university options, he struggled to decide between the banking, law and insurance industries but after a successful internship in insurance, it was an easy decision. “I chose insurance because it appeared to have the best long-term work/life balance with a wide variety of roles and potential specialist areas,” says Boaden. Another key factor was the environment. “The office was a very welcoming place. I could see that being challenged and stimulated daily and working with people who shared my core values would be an enjoyable way to begin my career.”
Today, Boaden spends much of his time in the office programming and working on advanced calculations. One of the best parts of the job, he explains, is the focus on continuous improvement. “A lot of the work I do is on longer-term projects or initiatives,” he says. “I enjoy looking back and seeing the positive impact they have made, particularly as I have progressed in my career and been able to have more influence on the company’s decisions.”
If you ask Boaden what the highlight of working at XL Catlin is, he’ll tell you without hesitation, it’s the staff: “I particularly like working with the people in my department and while no company is perfect, there is a collaborative and forward-thinking culture within XL Catlin.”
For the future, Boaden is hopeful but realistic. “I hope I’ll be able to continue to develop the technical skills around programming and data analysis that I think actuaries are going to need to remain useful.” Beyond that, he might seek direct involvement in some of XL Catlin’s global initiatives like working to reduce ocean risk or closing the insurance protection gap. Until then, he is preparing himself for his next role, one he’s sure will be his most worthwhile pursuit yet—fatherhood.
Job Title: Server
Place of Employment: The Pickled Onion
Number of years working: 4
“I enjoy meeting new people, making conversation and making people smile,” says Bryahna Fishington, server at the award-winning restaurant The Pickled Onion on Front Street. “It brings me a certain joy that even on the tough days, I am one hundred percent ready to go to work.”
Since joining the Island Restaurant Group, Fishington has learned much about the hospitality industry and enjoys all of the aspects of a smoothly run restaurant. “Recently I was promoted from hostess to server and I will soon start bartending,” she explains proudly. “Starting out, I met and greeted customers, talked with them and sat them at their tables. These simple tasks led me to learn more about the restaurant, the computer system and drinks and food.” Although she has moved on from her hostess position, interaction with guests will always remain the best part of her job. “I love creating a great experience for both new and returning customers,” says Fishington, “getting to know them and sharing jokes.”
Every successful dining experience is the product of team work, explains Fishington, and her coworkers make all the difference. “No day is ever the same and it’s great to work with people who make the day do-able even when it feels like it isn’t. I love my coworkers; we treat each other like family, and that’s what makes the job easier,” says Fishington.
It is Fishington’s goal to learn as much as she can before taking on a managerial role: “I see myself in management, taking up either hospitality or business management.” And there for her every step of the way is her mother, whom she credits as her inspiration. “She is always there as a helping hand; she’s very hospitable and pushes me to work hard, to do better and want better.”
Special thanks to ESC for lending us their fabulous red stools for our Rising Stars shoot and to the Bermuda National Gallery for allowing us to use their gallery space.