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: Population Health Specialist
Place of Employment: The Argus Group
Education: Bachelor’s Degree, McGill University; Master’s Degree, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Certificate in Population Health Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Years Working: 3
“I always knew I was interested in health and healthcare. During independent study in my senior year, my superviser asked me, ‘Have you ever considered public health?’ Until then, I hadn’t.” says Shakira Warner, who works as the population health specialist at The Argus Group. In her current role, she works diligently to help improve the quality of life of Argus members by developing resources to assist them in living healthier lives.
After graduation, Warner worked at the Ministry of Health as part of the Bermuda government’s summer employment programme. “I stayed on as a public health intern for two years working on special projects, including the STEPS campaign and a Well Bermuda Survey. My time at the Ministry showed me that public health and public policy are quite exciting.”
After graduating with her master’s degree in public health in 2016, Warner joined The Argus Group. “I’ve been fortunate to have worked in different areas of health care, including private practice and pharmacy.” says Warner. “These experiences helped me to better understand community needs and opportunities for partnership, and I always keep up with current developments in the industry as population health management is a rapidly evolving field.”
Warner measures her success by Argus members achieving their personal health and well-being goals and how resources offered by the Thrive programme have made a positive impact on their lives. She readily acknowledges those who have helped her achieve professional success. “My family, my teachers, my Crawl church family and my co-workers have all supported me along the way. I work with a great cross-departmental team, including Michelle Jackson and nurse case manager Karima Stevens-Smith. It’s impossible not to match their enthusiasm!”
When asked what the future holds, Warner responds that she sees herself as fiercely passionate, fully invested and an expert in her field.
Job Title: Underwriting Assistant, OCIL Property
Place of Employment: Oil Casualty Insurance, Ltd. (OCIL)
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Georgia State University
Years Working: 2
Exposure to the insurance industry via a presentation in high school was all Tare Brangman needed to develop an interest in the industry and pursue it as a career choice. “Before that, I didn’t fully understand what insurance was,” she admits, “but after a presentation at ACE (now Chubb) I was sold.”
Today, Brangman works as an underwriting assistant at Oil Casualty Insurance, Ltd.
(OCIL), a position she has held since graduation—and just the job she was looking for. Since being hired by OCIL, she has grown exponentially. Previously shy, she’s proud that she has developed outside her comfort zone. Nowadays, Brangman is vocal in client meetings, industry conferences and social events, citing OCIL as the place where her self-confidence has flourished.
One of the best things about working for OCIL, says Brangman, is the positive professional culture, which provides constant opportunities to learn. “OCIL is a small company of about 50 employees,” she says. “That makes it easier to connect with coworkers, as well as gain exposure to different areas of the business. Working on a small team of four, I am exposed to the entire underwriting cycle, from reading and document submissions to creating quotes and reviewing various policies.”
For Brangman, one of the most enjoyable aspects of working in the insurance field is meeting people from around the world. “In order to be successful in international business, you have to have an understanding of how to communicate with people from different cultures, as well as how business is conducted internationally,” she says. Looking towards the future, Brangman hopes to gain experience abroad. “Although Bermuda is a wonderful place to get a start in the insurance industry, I see myself gaining some international exposure in the future. Experiencing firsthand what it is like to work in a different jurisdiction is a dream of mine.”
Job Title: Associate, Actuarial Services Team
Place of Employment: PwC Bermuda
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Actuarial Science
Years Working: 3
When considering which career path to pursue, Cynarra Phillips knew one thing for sure, she had to choose a profession that would keep her enthralled. Upon discovering the actuarial career path while still in high school, Phillips was intrigued but she was warned that it would be a difficult undertaking. Her response? “Challenge accepted!”
When the pressure set in, however, Phillips questioned her ability to persevere. “My high school graduation day was the day that sparked my determination,” she says. “I had convinced myself that I lacked the skill set to follow the actuarial career path, but the recognition I received that day convinced me I could achieve any goals I set for myself.”
Since beginning her career at PwC, Phillips has worked hard in pursuit of her actuarial designation with the support of her family: “I convinced a few of my family members to help me to study for my actuarial exams. As a result, I passed one of my exams and I’m looking forward to my next passing grade.”
Phillips is grateful for the well-established social culture that exists at PwC because it allows her to learn from others around her. “The interactions I have on a regular basis are definitely a highlight for me,” she explains. “I have the freedom to learn from those with more experience, and to teach others with different experiences.”
Undoubtedly for Phillips, the future looks promising and she feels capable of taking on whatever comes her way. “I have set a goal to become a partner at PwC Bermuda but I know there is no guarantee I will walk a path directly to this goal,” she says. “I hope that any detours will take me around the world. I believe that new experiences will guide me to be a more effective and inspirational leader.”
Job Title: Senior Corporate Accountant
Place of Employment: Validus Services (Bermuda) Ltd.
Education: Bachelor of Commerce, Focus in Accounting, Mount Allison University
Years Working: 5
Twenty-six-year-old senior corporate accountant, Eric Cabral almost didn’t work in the insurance industry. “I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy working in an office environment,” he says. But after a number of summer internships, he learned he could use his skills as a problem solver to make an impact. One thing he was sure of from the start was his ability in accounting.
Since Cabral began working full time for Validus, he’s learned aspects of accounting that he didn’t anticipate but thoroughly enjoys. “It has afforded me the opportunity to work with people all over the world,” says Cabral. “Working with people from outside Bermuda has allowed me to grow my professional network, along with expanding my knowledge of the company as a global entity.”
Cabral says that the support he receives from his superiors and colleagues is invaluable. “Since my days in the summer student programme, everyone has been happy to explain complex issues or walk me through confusing concepts.” In addition to instrumental guidance, Cabral has been given countless opportunities to work with various teams within the company to find efficient solutions to common problems. “I enjoy working with others to help make their lives easier,” explains Cabral. “Having the latitude to take on new tasks that save people time gives me great satisfaction.”
In the future, Cabral hopes to continue to search for solutions to common problems within the office. “I am a bit of a geek,” Cabral admits. “I really enjoy programming a solution or finding an existing solution to suit someone’s needs. I enjoy liaising between the finance and I.T. departments and could see myself in a role that sits between the two.”
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.