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: Underwriting Assistant, Commercial Lines Department
Place of Employment: BF&M Insurance
Education: Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration; Associate in
General Insurance (AINS)
Years Working: 2
Growing up, Rogernae Lightbourne dreamed of becoming a teacher but her mother was guiding her in another direction. “My mom would say, ‘You want to be an underwriting assistant,’” recalls Lightbourne, “but at that young age, underwriting meant nothing to me.” Yet here she is, years later, working at BF&M as an underwriting assistant. “It was fate. This industry found me and I love it.”
While studying for her associate’s degree at Bermuda College, Lightbourne began an internship at BF&M. Her internship evolved into a summer position and finally, into full-time employment. Lightbourne works hard in her current position, assisting underwriters, interacting with clients locally and internationally, and liaising with BF&M’s finance department to allocate premiums. “My career is challenging—there’s so much opportunity for growth. Every day is different!” she says.
When asked what the best part about working for BF&M is, Lightbourne couldn’t hide her enthusiasm: “Our CEO, John Wight, calls me by name!” she exclaims. “How awesome is that?” And staff appreciation doesn’t stop there. Lightbourne is currently studying for her CPCU, and BF&M reimburses her for her books and for success in her exams—and will give her a monetary bonus when she graduates.
Reflecting on her time at BF&M, Lightbourne is thankful for the team with whom she works. “My team leader, Alex Porter, is amazing!” says Lightbourne. “She is inspiring and has given me the support I need to advance in my career.”
As the oldest in her family, Lightbourne believes she has to work hard as it’s her duty to set a high standard for her younger siblings. “I say to myself that one day soon, I will be a senior underwriter in the commercial lines department.” At the moment though, she is enjoying the journey, learning what she needs to take her to the top one day.
Job Title: Senior Underwriter, Professional Lines
Place of Employment: Allied World
Education: Bachelor’s Degree
Years Working: 4
For Michael Mello, the insurance industry is sort of the family business. Having a father who made his career in insurance meant that Mello had exposure to the industry from a young age, but that doesn’t mean it was the career he dreamed of growing up. “Prior to working in insurance, I worked in Los Angeles at a record label. Being exposed to a cut-throat industry like the music business taught me how important both ‘hustle’ and hard work are. That internship helped me to appreciate where I am today, the people I work with and the insurance industry in general.”
As senior underwriter, Mello spends his days working with Fortune 500 companies analysing risks from a financial standpoint. But it’s not all a numbers game. “You have to take into account the people behind the company because at the end of the day you’re ultimately insuring people. The human element can be tricky, but I think it’s what makes professional liability underwriting so stimulating.”
When asked about what he most appreciates about his chosen career, Mello claims that it’s the social interaction. “In Bermuda, you get a lot of face time with clients and brokers.” What that means, explains Mello, is the opportunity to build strong relationships.
Looking towards the future, Mello would like to gain experience overseas before settling in Bermuda permanently, and he credits Allied World with enormous support for developing talent. “Allied World has a good reputation within the market. It’s great to actually build relationships with clients who come down year after year, and get to know them on a more personal level.”
When asked what he does to relax after a busy day in the office, Mello keeps it simple, saying, “Working out is a good way to unwind, but Friday happy hour is also pretty effective.”
Job Title: Sales Coordinator
Place of Employment: Hamilton Princess & Beach Club
Education: Johnson & Wales University
Years Working: 9
Jallande Greaves is by nature a people person. “I love meeting new people. My love for travel and learning about other places, cultures, customs and food was a deciding factor in my choosing to work in the hospitality industry.” The 25-year-old excels in his current role as sales coordinator at Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, where he says, “Every day is an opportunity to make someone’s day.”
Having worked at Dolphin Quest for several years before joining the Hamilton Princess, Greaves credits his success to his exposure to large numbers of visitors in Dockyard. “Dolphin Quest played a key role in preparing me for my current position. At Dolphin Quest I learned how to interact with people and gained exposure in other areas, critically as sales coordinator.”
Each day, Greaves is tasked with coordinating stays for groups traveling to the island to vacation, for conferences and other business meetings and functions. He is the point of contact for accommodation, transportation, activities and amenities. “The best days are when I’m meeting clients who are looking to bring groups to Bermuda. This allows me an opportunity to meet people and show them our hotel. During their visit, I build a relationship with them and they know that I’m available to assist wherever I can.”
Greaves knows that he must continue to grow, and loves that his employers and coworkers encourage him to do so on a daily basis. “The best part about working for the Hamilton Princess is that I am encouraged by my superiors to achieve more. I enjoy learning, and at the Princess I look at every opportunity and situation as a learning experience.”
Greaves says that advice to his younger self would be simple: “Everything happens in time. Patience pays off.”
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.