Paying tribute to the unsung heroes
Every truly successful company is much greater than the sum of its parts. For all the attention the main leaders and senior executives get, there will be many more employees quietly making things happen, making things tick, ensuring day-to-day operations continue without a hitch.
The majority of these quietly dedicated workers will receive little credit—certainly outside their companies. They do their job, take their satisfaction from a job well done and seek no greater reward than some appreciation and praise from their peers.
This special project is designed to go a step further and offer some of these individuals greater recognition. We have asked all our contacts on Bermuda to nominate the people they feel are the unsung heroes of their companies, and again we received a strong response covering a wide range of ages, backgrounds and roles.
This year, we are sharing with you the names of 13 individuals who are worthy of recognition. Within the following, we profile each one briefly; a full report with much more in-depth pieces on each individual can be downloaded from a report available on our website: www.bermudareinsurancemagazine.com.
The collective work of our unsung heroes is perhaps characterised by what Ariel Re says of Valerie Ball, assistant vice president, administration & office manager at the reinsurer. The company says she “is essential to the inner workings and functions of the office and plays an integral role in making the environment a welcoming one”.
Such qualities have great value in large companies where a positive and healthy corporate culture can be crucial. Similar sentiments were offered for several nominees on the administrative side of things.
Several of the unsung heroes this year work in the IT department. The frustration of a computer not playing ball has been felt by all over the years and it is the IT team who initially get the flak—and then the appreciation when they get things running again.
The patience of Jae Melo, IT administrator at Aon, was mentioned in his nomination, with the company remarking that he often received more calls than anyone else in the building.
To nominate an Unsung Hero for a future edition of this supplement, email head of research Angharad Davies: email@example.com
Company: Ariel Re Job title: Assistant vice president, administration & office manager
Valerie Ball has worked in the industry for more than 25 years and has been with Ariel Re (an Argo Group member) since 2006 as the administration and office manager.
Her employer said: “Valerie is essential to the inner workings and functions of the office and plays an integral role in making the environment a welcoming one. She ensures that every facet of the operation runs seamlessly so that all team members can focus on their tasks.”
Company: Elementum (Bermuda) Job title: Vice president, reinsurance operations manager
Sherice Bashir has been with Elementum (Bermuda) since June 2014 and is vice president, reinsurance operations manager within the team. Prior to joining Elementum, she was the head of operations for another alternative investment management firm. Her employer said: “The operations role is generally ascribed to be a back-office position, but Sherice and the team in Bermuda take a much more significant role, working directly with clients, brokers and service providers.
“In addition to the many non-underwriting and investment-related initiatives that the team leads and/or supports, they are highly involved throughout the lifecycle of reinsurance transactions.”
Company: Hiscox Re & ILS Job title: Senior IT service desk analyst
Kian Butterfield joined Hiscox in November 2017 as a senior IT service desk analyst. He plays a critical role in ensuring staff have the tools and technology they need to do their jobs.
His company said: “Working on the IT service desk can sometimes be a thankless task, but Kian’s commitment to delivering quality work is truly commendable. His colleagues appreciate his wealth of knowledge, proactive and dedicated attitude, and his ever-present patience on many IT issues.
“He has a superb ‘can-do’ attitude and is a proactive problem-solver, often anticipating employee needs before they even ask.”
Company: Estera Services (Bermuda) Job title: Corporate administrator (insurance)
Marcia Gilbert is a corporate administrator on the insurance team at Estera and has been with the company for 25 years. She is responsible for providing corporate administrative services to a portfolio of local and international companies.
Her company said: “Marcia is an unsung hero because she consistently displays a high level of professionalism in the presence of her clients and colleagues. Her hard work and collaborative spirit shine through daily regardless of any challenges she is faced with.”
Company: Deloitte Bermuda Job title: Property and office coordinator & Deloitte Caribbean and Bermuda Countries facilities, health and security officer
Catherine Mahoney has been with Deloitte Bermuda since December 2014. She is an office and property coordinator in the financial advisory group in Deloitte Bermuda.
Her company said: “As a vital member of the Deloitte team, Catherine works diligently through all requests to ensure that business needs are met in a timely fashion while ensuring that our professionals receive the support they need.
“She is always the first to offer a hand when someone needs help, from moving boxes to supporting with gathering items for charity events or even arranging transportation.”
Company: Aon Job title: IT systems administrator
Jae Melo—after two years of working as a contractor to Aon—has been fundamentally embedded into the operations of the company’s IT systems and the 160 people in the Aon Bermuda office have depended on his services.
His company said: “Jae is consistently proactive in helping with IT issues for what can be the most silly reason, being very patient but also following up on serious, more pivotal requirements that help everyone at Aon do their jobs more efficiently. When Jae is on holiday, his absence is strongly felt and recognised, and another holiday celebrated on his return as things run more efficiently.”
Company: Estera Services (Bermuda) Job title: Corporate group manager (insurance)
Maria Pacheco is described by her employer as a difference-maker—an intelligent, efficient, hardworking corporate group manager, who manages a team of corporate administrators in addition to administering a portfolio of companies.
Her company said: “Maria is highly regarded by our clients and is truly one of our stars. Maria encourages and empowers her colleagues to be their best.
“She remains current on matters impacting clients and proactively raises issues and implements processes to better service our clients and staff.”
Company: Markel Global Reinsurance, Bermuda Job title: Executive assistant, reinsurance
Kathie Richardson is a long-time member of the Bermuda-based Markel Global Reinsurance team. She supports Jed Rhoads, president and chief underwriting officer of Markel Global Reinsurance, helping an operation with offices in Bermuda, the US, London, and Tokyo run smoothly.
Her company said: “She is organised, attentive to detail, unflappable, and cheerful. Her wide-ranging responsibilities include meeting preparation and follow-up, event planning, providing administrative support, and managing projects for Jed and his leadership team.”
Company: Ariel Re Job title: Assistant vice president, systems & risk analyst
Kristy Schwaegerl joined Ariel Re in 2010 as part of the analytics team and is now solely responsible for the building, maintaining, managing and continuously upgrading of at least eight different modelling environments at Ariel Re and Argo.
Her company said: “Kristy’s key responsibility is to ensure all modelling environments are at full working capacity at all times, a vital service that underpins the day-to-day functioning of Ariel Re. Without the modelling environments, analysts would not be able to evaluate risk and, in turn, underwriters would not be able to price it accurately.”
Company: AXA XL, the P&C and Specialty division of AXA group Job title: Financial reporting & accounting manager for reinsurance
Carleisha Seymour has been with the company since February 2018. Her company said: “When Carleisha joined the company she instantly made a difference to the overall Bermuda reinsurance finance team by taking ownership of the preparation of the financial statements and enhancing the structure and format.
“As one who is able to quickly see the big picture, connect the dots and understand the implications of any given situation, Carleisha has come up with numerous ideas to make the overall financial processes of AXA XL’s reinsurance team more efficient.”
Company: Hiscox Re & ILS Job title: Executive assistant
Heather Shrubb has been with Hiscox for nine years working as an executive assistant, managing the needs of three C-suite members.
Her company said: “Heather has a knack for juggling many priorities. Her responsibilities are extremely broad and ever-changing, but she manages them effortlessly and with a calm demeanour.
“Heather is extremely responsive and an excellent ‘fire-fighter’ when the situation calls for it. On many occasions, she has quite literally saved the day. She is an exceptional project manager, and is well-known for her ability to pull off the perfect team offsite and executive team events.”
Company: MS Amlin AG Bermuda Branch Job title: Administrative assistant
Antoinette Simmons has been at MS Amlin since September 2006. Her company said: “Antoinette works so incredibly hard, is the heart and soul of the company, always has a positive attitude and is thoughtful in all that she does. She absolutely deserves to be recognised.
“Antoinette’s role is important to the business because she is the glue that keeps all the functions moving. She is the first point of contact when we have a question about anything that doesn’t fit in other functions, whether that be organising training for a particular function or group, or assisting with internal and external communications.”
Company: Nephila Capital Job title: Human capital management
Karen Warren joined Nephila as an office administrator 16 years ago when the company was still a startup. She has been instrumental in shaping the operational, administrative and people-focused aspects of the business as the company grew from five to 200 employees.
Karen has most recently taken on the important role of HR, which she helped shape based on evolving business needs. Her company said: “Karen is an unsung hero because of her often unrecognised role as the face of Nephila when investors visit the office and when new employees join.
“Since the first impression is everything, making sure everything is running smoothly and that someone is made to feel welcome is crucial.”