Meet Our Awardees
Sir Franklyn R. Wilson, KCMG
Chairman, Sunshine Holdings Limited
Having started an accounting firm in 1971 and having served as the Managing Partner of Deloitte & Touche, Bahamas to 1994, Sir Franklyn’s current business interests include:
- Sunshine Holdings Limited, one of the oldest and largest conglomerates in the Bahamas.
- Focal Holdings Ltd., a company listed on the Bahamas International Stock Exchange and The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos distributor of Shell;
- Arawak Homes Limited, which has developed more houses than any other company in the history of The Bahamas;
- Sunshine Insurance (Agents & Brokers), The Bahamas correspondent of Marsh, the world’s largest insurance brokerage;
- Royal Star Assurance Ltd., one of the largest general insurers in the Bahamas and The Cayman and with the highest AM Best rating of any general insurer in the Bahamas;
- Sunshine Finance Ltd.; a boutique lending firm;
- Jack’s Bay Developers Ltd., a substantial land developer at Eleuthera, Bahamas; including the site of the Caribbean’s first Tiger Woods designed playground.
- Sunshine Group of Companies, itself a holding company with interests in the bakery business, as a retailer and in the armored car services industry.
His other activities include membership on the Board of Advisors to the President of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova, Scotia, his college alma mater. In 1972, he was elected to Parliament; one of the youngest persons to have ever been elected. He has served as Chairman of The Council of The College of The Bahamas (now the University of the Bahamas and which operates The Franklyn Wilson Graduate Centre; as the founding Chairman of each of The Bahamas Chapter of The Young President’s Organization (‘YPO’) and The World President’s Organization (‘WPO’). Sir Franklyn was the founding Chairman of Junior Achievement Bahamas and, for almost 10 years, served as a Director of Junior Achievement Worldwide; and as a Trustee of Elmira College at Elmira, New York. He has been honored by Her Majesty the Queen as a Knight Commander of The Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George, by the Government of The Bahamas for contributions to National development, by The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce as its Distinguished Citizen and almost 30 years later with the Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Several National Trade Unions, including the country’s largest, have honored him for his role in the advancement of the overall labor movement. Forty years after being one of twelve incorporators of The Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants, he received that organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from St. Barnabas Anglican Episcopal Church. He is the “Chairman Emeritus” of YPO. Has been awarded a “Global Trumpet Award” by the Trumpet Foundation and inducted into the International Walk of Fame at the Center for International Human Rights in Atlanta. His wife, an attorney by profession and a Queen’s Councilor, has twice served as President of The Senate of The Bahamas and the couple has three children and nine (9) grandchildren.
Peter Desmond Cole
Peter Desmond Cole was born in Nassau on 3 November 1950, being the fourth of six children of Frank Lionel (k/a Peter) & Marion Cosa Cole. He is married to Philippa Ann Bennett, born in England, who taught at St. Andrew’s School for forty years from 1978, before retiring in 2018. They have two children, Ashley and Bennett, and three grandchildren.
His primary and high school education was at St. Andrew’s School, graduating in June of 1967 as top graduating student.
He trained in England for two years with Norwich Union Fire Insurance Society Limited, for which his father was the managing agent for The Bahamas, concurrently commencing his studies with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) in London to obtain professional qualifications in insurance. He returned to work at his father’s firm, Peter Cole & Associates Ltd., and continued his studies becoming, by examination, an Associate Member of the CII in 1973, a Fellow of the CII in 1975, and subsequently a Chartered Insurance Broker.
After his father’s demise in 1990, and the visit of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Peter Cole & Associates (PCA) and T. Dan Albury Insurance Agency formed Allied Bahamas Insurance Company Limited (ABICO) to assume the insurance portfolio of the Norwich Union Insurance Group, which Insurer withdrew from thirty countries around the world, including The Bahamas. He became Chairman of ABICO until, in 1998, PCA sold its insurance portfolio, and the shareholders of ABICO sold the company, to Bahamas First Holdings Limited, which resulted in him being appointed Deputy Manager of Nassau Underwriters Agency.
In 2002, he left the Bahamas First Group and formed Cole Insurance Agents & Brokers Ltd. with two of his brothers, at which he is Vice-President and a Director.
He served terms as President of the Bahamas General Insurance Association (now the Bahamas Insurance Association) and also of the Bahamas Insurance Brokers Association.
When the Bahamas Financial Services Board was formed, he served as director for the insurance sector during its first two years.
During his youth, he enjoyed his time in the Cubs and Boy Scout movement, and was very active in sports. He played soccer with Schoolboys Football Club and with Tropigas, which became Beck’s Bears F.C., serving as Treasurer and as Co-Captain with Randy Rodgers during his playing years, after which he continued as coach for several years.
I was born 28th January 1948 to the proud presents of Jestina Forbes and Stanley Theodore Nairn and given the name Eugene Charles Nairn.
Clyde Forbes, Reno Forbes, Mildred E. Nairn Adderley, Rosita L. Nairn Ali, Aiden Nairn, Theophilus Nairn Deceased.
Primary School: Attended Our Lady’s Catholic from 1953 – 1963 graduated
Secondary School: Attended Saint Augustine’s College from 1963 – 1968 grauduate with Honors.
College: Florida Memorial College (University) from 1968 – 1972 BsC in Accounting. Graduated.
Graduate School: University of Miami, Miami Florida MBA 1976 – 1979 Graduated.
National Insurance Board 1972 to 1978
Bahamas International Trust Company (BITCO)1978 to 1979
CitiBank 1979 to 1980
July 1, 1980 Imperial Life Insurance Company a subsidiary of Imperial Life Canada. I served as a manager, at Imperial Life, for many years, winning numerous managers awards thereby qualifying for company sales conferences and The President Club. I qualified for the MDRT five (5) times. During my time at Imperial Life I conducted LIMRA training courses and a course in Professional Skills Selling Skills for over 15 years or more. I Retired in 2008. Since then I have conducted The New Advisors Business Building training course for new agents for (6) six years. Over these many years scores of agents passed through the courses I taught. I always believe in giving back to my profession and to encourage all agents to study for their CLU, and CFP and for managers to study for their CLF designation and the CIAM.
Associate , Insurance Agency Administration 1996 LOMA, INC.
LIMRA INTERNATIONAL, 92nd Profitable Management workshop in 1995
Life Management Institute, lOMA. Fundamentals of life and health insurance 1996
Chartered Insurance Agency Manager designation 2004, Limra International .
The American college, Pennsylvania , Chartered Leadership Fellow 2002
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity , INC. Member and Past Polemarch. I was initiated into the fraternity in fall of 1969 at Epsilon Mu Chapter at Florida Memorial College /University. I am a chartered member of the Bahamas Alumni Chapter 1973. I was inducted into the Greek Hall of Fame April 2022.I was made NPHC Frater of year 2017. I am a life member of the Southern Province and the grand chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Inc. which was founded January 5, 1911.Kappa man of the year 2016.
Free Masonry: Initiated into the order 1980. Positions held are as follows, Worshipfull Master of Columbus Lodge #16, Past Senior Grand Warden, Illustrious Grand Inspector of James E. Morley Consistory. I was member of the Holy Royal Arch,The Knights Templar, The Commandery and Member of the Grand Inspectors General 33 and last degree. Presently, I am not active since 2008.
SACA: Past president of Saint Augustine’s College Alumni, Member of Saint Augustine’s Board of Directors and serves as the chairman for fund raising for the sporting facilities at SAC, Past member of the Catholic Board Of Education, Assistance coach of Saint Augustine’s Senior boys soft ball team which dominated the sport for many years.
I am member of Our Lady of The Holy Souls Catholic Church located on Deveaux and Young Streets, and serve as its’ Vice -President I serve as the vice president. I also as an extraodinary minister of the Eucharist.
I am a member and past president of the Diocesan Chorale and sings second base. I made many travels with the group promoting the Bahamas.
NPABO: I am a member of the New Providence Amateur Basketball Organization as a refferee for over 40 years.
On August 6, 1977 I married Beverley Crawley (45) years. We are the proud parents of four children; Dorrena Nairn Davis, Genaye Nairn Sturrup, Geonese Nairn, Gevon Thomas Nairn. We have six (6) Grand Children: Delicia Davis Lucas, Marlon, Zaria, Tykeira, Brandon, Matthias and Greyson. One great grandson Luke Davis.
Performed community services for the Benedictine sisters steakout, The Nazareth center steak-out , Saint Augustine’ sCollege steak-out and Our Lady of the holy Souls Steak and The men’s association steak and souse out.
Presently I am retired and have taken up the sport of golfing. I am still in the learning process and a work in progress.
Retired Insurance Executive and President of the Life Underwriters Association of The Bahamas
Speaker details coming soon!
Shelly P. Wilson, MBA, ACII
Vice President, Operations, Sunshine Insurance (Agents & Brokers) Ltd.
Shelly P. Wilson (nee Moultrie) is Vice President – Operations, of Sunshine Insurance (Agents & Brokers) Ltd. with shared responsibility for the Company’s portfolio of commercial clients. Shelly provides assistance to the President of Sunshine Insurance with management and reporting. Her additional duties include analyzing and revising the Company’s procedures to improve operational efficiency.
Shelly joined Sunshine Insurance in 2007; having previously worked for eight years at Credit Suisse Private Banking. To facilitate her career transition from banking to insurance, Shelly has participated in extensive underwriting training programs with some of the largest insurance companies in The Bahamas. Additionally, she participated in numerous training opportunities in the USA, UK and Dominican Republic, as a result of Sunshine Insurance’s correspondent relationship with the global broker Marsh. Shelly is a professionally qualified with the general insurance designation of ACII (Advanced Diploma in Insurance from the Chartered Insurance Institute of England). Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Science (Summa Cum Laude) in Political Science from Barry University, Florida and a Master of Business Administration (Honors) from Nova Southeastern University, Florida. Shelly has held the title of Vice President of Sunshine Insurance since 2011.
Shelly is committed to providing the highest quality of service to Sunshine Insurance’s clients and stakeholders, drawing on her twenty-six years of professional experiences. In service to her community, Shelly is actively involved as member of Christ Church (Anglican) Cathedral, The Zonta Club of New Providence and The Nassau Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. Shelly is married to Mr. Franon Wilson and they have two teen-aged children.
Nadine L. Frazier, MBA, ACII
General Manager, BF&M Bahamas Branch
Mrs. Frazier entered the Insurance industry in 1979 working with the largest general insurance Brokers and Agents at that time and has since excelled to Senior Executive Management positions. After mastering the property and casualty lines of the insurance business she entered the Life and Health Insurance industry in 1990 and spearheaded the market research and feasibility studies for the country’s first Managed Healthcare product in the Bahamas and introduced the Employee Benefits department at that then Manufacture’s Life Insurance Company (ManuLife).
After the acquisition of the ManuLife portfolio by Global Life, she joined the Philip Russell’s Branch as a Unit Manager in the early ‘90’s. Her agency journey then took her becoming the first female Agency Director at Colina Insurance Company, which had only 12 agents in the sales division. This was the early beginnings of the creation of the agency model that exist today.
Nadine is a Certified Moderator for the Agency Manager Training Courses with LIMRA; Certified Life Success Coach with Life Success Productions; and a Certified Speaker with Bill Gove Speech Workshops. She has served as a director and/or member of the following association for several years.
- Director of the Insurance Institute of the Bahamas (IIB)
- Secretary of Insurance Advisory Committee to the Insurance Commission of the Bahamas (IAC)
- Chairman of Education Committee of Bahamas Insurance Association (BIA)
- Director of the Association of Insurance Institutes of the Caribbean (AIIC)
- Facilitator with the Bahamas Institute of Financial Services (BIFS) on Ethics & Professionalism
- Prepared Courses on Risk Management and Insurance for BIFS
- Executive Director Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers’ Confederation
She has functioned as a key player with many of the local Mergers and Acquisitions in the Insurance Industry between 2000 and 2006, acquiring much expertise in the areas of agency development; employee re-engineering and establishing new Corporate Cultures.
Mrs. Frazier believes in empowering others through information, support, and acceptance. It has always been quite easy for her to grasp complex concepts and then put them into simple words or examples that help others understand and use the information in appropriate areas of their lives. Teaching, coaching, and selling are the perfect fit for her multitude of talents.
“I enjoy helping people find their own strengths, and the power within, to walk forward with confidence and a sense of purpose. This is what really makes my heart sing.” She dedicates much of her time teaching, consulting, selling, and writing
She has an MBA from the University of Liverpool, England and is married with two adult children.
Mrs. Frazier’s hobbies include reading, teaching, sports, and assisting with young adults in various job-readiness programs. She has also Co-Authored the book, Coping! With Life Challenges (2006).
Ms. Ann Marie Major
Executive Agent, Family Guardian Insurance Company Limited
Ms. Ann Marie Major joined Family Guardian as an agent in the Financial Services Division in November, 1997 and by the following year, earned the title of Rookie of the Year. In 2001, despite the devastating loss of her husband Gerald Major to a long time battle with brain cancer, she became a first time qualifier for the Million Dollar Round Table and was also named Family Guardian’s Agent of the Year for Investment Premiums.
Ms. Major’s leadership and steadfast dedication to her career and clients was evident as she continued to rise in the ranks of Family Guardian’s Financial Services Division. In 2004, she was elevated to Agency Manager and by the following year, her agency had produced 5 Million Dollar Round Table qualifiers (herself included) and to date, her agency has been the only agency to boast of such an achievement. Ms. Major served in this role of Agency Manager until 2014 and during her tenure, succeeded in producing a total of 6 Million Dollar Round Table Qualifiers, while also earning the title of a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table in 2011. This is a testament of truly leading by example!
In 2015, Ms. Major transitioned from her role as Agency Manager to Executive Agent, and in 2016 she had earned the title of Million Dollar Round Table Honor Roll member. In total, she is a 22 year Million Dollar Round Table qualifier and has numerous sales conventions, agency awards, manager’s awards and persistency awards under her belt.
While maintaining her position as Executive Agent, Ms. Major was appointed Strategic Planning Co-Ordinator of Family Guardian’s Financial Services Division, and has played a key role in the succession planning and continued growth of this division. Further cementing her as true leader in this industry, her training and guidance has aided in her sole protégé, earning the title of Family Guardian’s Rookie of the Year in 2018, Agent of the Year in 2019 and in 2022, becoming a first time qualifier of the Million Dollar Round Table. In this regard, she is living proof that there is no harm in creating your legacy and passing the baton.
During her career, Ms. Major has positioned herself as a force to reckon with in this industry and she continues to be an example for agents and managers alike. We congratulate her on her many achievements over the years and for this well-deserved recognition by GAMA Bahamas!
Awardee Details Coming Soon...
Eleuthera native Helen Gardiner is a multi-award-winning insurance professional with nearly 30 years of experience in the industry. She holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from West Indies College in Jamaica, the forerunner of Northern Caribbean University. Helen worked a six-year stint as an administrative assistant at Sunshine Realty before joining British American Financial as a sales agent in 1993.
During her 29 years with BAF, Helen has snagged more than a dozen awards including the muchcoveted Agent of the Year. Helen’s ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment is due largely to her time management and leadership skills. Much of her success in overseeing hundreds of clients’ policies totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars is due to her passion for people and the way she relates to persons from all walks of life. Although a people’s person, Helen shies away from the limelight. An unsung hero, she spends her spare time cooking and feeding the elderly in her community.
She is a member of Message of Hope Seven Day Adventist Church where shas has served as assistant treasurer for the past four years. Helen is the wife of Clayton Gardiner. The couple has one son, Dr Clay Gardiner.
Executive Agent, BAF Financial & Insurance (Bahamas) Ltd.
Patrice Major is a consummate sales and career planning professional with more than twenty years combined corporate experience. She is a renowned industry expert and her attained insurance acumen serves to undergird her genuine care and compassion for others. She joined the insurance industry in 2004 and has achieved a cadre of awards and accolades evidenced by stature in the corporate society.
She has been the Executive Agent of the Year more than ten times – a feat she accredits to God and her clients for without neither, she would not be the success she is today. Moreover, Patrice has been runner-up for Executive Agent of Year for more than three times, having consistently won Sales Champion of Year, Persistency Award, Student Accident Award and other noted industry accomplishments.
An honors graduate of R. M. Bailey, she earned her Diploma in 1987 and continued to develop her craft before entering the workforce. As an avid reader and activist for educational pursuits, Patrice has achieved several certifications but the pinnacle of which was in 2019, where her passion for sales and drive for institutional advancement led to the attainment of the Certified Business Professional Designation in Sales – the hallmark of scholastic excellence for salespersons.
Although an Executive Agent with BAF Financial and Insurance, Patrice has a rich history that transcends various industries. In her previous career, was the Office Manager with Dykton Mechanical, where her ten-year tenure honed her leadership skills, organizational development and love for upward mobility. Her rigid, uncompromising work ethic and professionalism belies her honesty and integrity – traits far too rare in the corporate world today.
In 2020, after ten consecutive years as a Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) qualifier, Patrice was inducted as a Lifetime Member of the prestigious sales club, commemorating decades of hard work and resilience. This year, she set out to accomplish MDRT in the first quarter and succeeded. Her life is a testament to her unwavering Christian beliefs, unyielding familial dedication and unrelentless pursuit for success. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time with her granddaughters (Gabriella & Alaia) and adopted twins (Camille & Clinton). She is the wife to one husband (Gordon), mother to two children (Travis & Takia) and support-system to hundreds of clients across the length and breadth of the Bahamas.
Alpheus “Hark” Finlayson
Executive Financial Services Representative, Colina Insurance Limited
Alpheus Finlayson – The Man, The Myth, The Legend
Alpheus Finlayson grew up in ‘The Valley’ in Nassau, Bahamas and attended the illustrious St. Augustine’s College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at St. John’s University in Minnesota in 1970, where he was a track team standout. After stints as a statistician at the Government’s then newly formed Department of Statistics and several other businesses in the Bahamas and Canada, he started a career in the insurance industry with Imperial Life in November of 1980. Two years later, Finlayson first qualified for the Million Dollar Round Table and, subsequently, qualified 5 consecutive times, making him a Life Member.
Finlayson has enjoyed an award winning career, even at one time serving as the Vice President of the Life Underwriters Association of the Bahamas.
During this time, he has maintained a parallel career as a sport administrator and historian in the arena of track & field. Finlayson has served as president of the Pioneer’s Sporting Club on the Bahamas, and first Vice President of two regional athletics associations.
He was one of the longest serving Presidents of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations, with a tenure that helped to lay the foundation for the international prowess that our nation now enjoys.
Finlayson made history in 1999 when he became the first Bahamian to be elected to the Council of the twenty-seven member International Association of Athletic Associations (IAAF). He hosts a weekly radio show on track & field and published a local bestseller on Bahamian track and field history.
Finlayson is a community builder. Because of his civic mindedness, he gravitated toward Rotary in 1982. His passion and professionalism propelled him up the leadership ladder and he became President of the Rotary Club of West Nassau and received a Paul Harris Fellowship in 1994 on recognition of his service. Finlayson is a founding member of the local chapter of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the first black Greek Letter Fraternity, founded in 1904 in Philadelphia, USA. He served as its president (2006-2008) and is now their journalist responsible for submissions to the international journal.
Finlayson is married to Dawn Finlayson (nee Rolle), his bride of 44 years. They have 3 children – Levaughn Finlayson (deceased), Wayne Finlayson (deceased), and Alexis Hanna, 6 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren. The family worships at St. George’s Anglican Church in The Valley.
A true Renaissance Man, Finlayson enjoys dancing, listening to jazz music, traveling and visiting jazz clubs all around the world. In honor of his 70th birthday in 2017, Finlayson organized Guitar Fantasy, a remarkable jazz concert that sold out of standing room. He enjoys engaging with people from all walks of life and from all over the world.
Executive Life Underwriter, Colina Insurance Limited
Following four years employed as Public Relations Executive at the Ministry of Tourism, Deveral Ferguson was restless for change. She wanted a career that was fulfilling and rewarding. A colleague introduced her to a manager at the former Imperial Life Insurance Company of Canada and the “rest is history”. Her career in the Insurance Industry began in August 1982 with Imperial Life.
Self- motivated, goal orientated, combined with the Company’s structured training program led to early success. She attained qualifying and life membership in MDRT in 1993. She is a member of MDRT Honor Roll, and the MDRT Quarter Century Club. She has participated in MDRT’s Mentoring program. She was a consistent MDRT Foundation contributor, and assisted with the installation of a $100,000 playground set Foundation members installed in West End, Grand Bahama in 2005.
She is the recipient of numerous Company awards. In 2000, The Bahamas Association of Life & Health Insurance recognized her for outstanding performance and conservation of business. In September 2007, The Insurance Institute of The Bahamas awarded her ‘The Ordinary Agent of the Year’. Through consistently high production and exceptional persistency levels, she has qualified and attended numerous conferences and incentive trips around the world including to: Jamaica, Hong Kong, Rome, Toronto, Quebec, Albertha and Vancouver, Canada, Cancun Mexico, Switzerland, Barbados, Tunisia.
In December 2015, her stellar production and consistently high business conservation was recognized by Colina when she was inducted in the Company’s Wall of Fame. This is the highest honor offered by Colina, and is bestowed on the Company’s most distinguished advisors.
Deveral received her education at Government High School, and Mold Allen High school in North Wales. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in History and Political Science from McMaster University, Hamilton Ontario, Canada, and a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Waterloo, Waterloo Ontario, Canada.
Deveral is actively involved in her Church and Conference. She served as treasurer of her conference from 2014 – 2017 . She serves on the Division of Property and Finance, and the Division of Education and Training at the Conference . She serves on the Usher Board, the Ladies Fellowship, and The Board of Adult Ministries at Church. She is an active member of the Andros Missions Committee, and has served as its Treasurer since 2012.
Deveral enjoys travelling, reading and gardening. She is married to Ashward Ferguson. They have three daughters; Dana (Elsworth), Sasha (Dodrick) and Ashley Paige. They have two grandsons and one granddaughter.
Insurance Agent, Family Guardian Insurance Company Limited
Suzette Juanita Scavella Durham is the 5th child born to the late Robert M and Florence V. Scavella of Gregory Town and Hatchet Bay, Eleuthera.
“Sandy” as she is affectionately called was educated at P A.Gibson All Age School and Central Eleuthera High.
Her gifts as an avid saleswoman made room for her in the Insurance arena of life.
Her father was also a well liked Insurance Agent with Star Insurance. Sandy’s natural ability to listen and her concern for the welfare of others along with her pleasant personality and intregrity has proven to be an asset in addition to the favor of God, she has been able to maintain excellence in her work place.
Mrs. Scavella-Durham joined the Family Guardian staff on March 1st,1993 as a lead agent having worked in the Central Eleuthera district for several years.
She is presently covering the North Eleuthera area including Eleuthera Heights.
Her achievements are noted at the numerous Conventions she qualified for and was awarded Agent of the year 3 times.
Her desire is to continue serving in the spirit of excellence.
Gregory H. Bonamy
Admiral Agent, Colina Insurance Limited
Learning, Teaching and Sharing
To most of the world, the Bahamas is a vacation paradise. It is also, however, a growing market for the financial service industry and home to Gregory H. Bonamy, a 37 year MDRT member from Nassau. The life insurance and financial service industry “is still emerging in the Bahamas,” said Bonamy. “Local companies are beginning to assert themselves, to grow and to provide for the people in our country.” Our industry is the only vehicle that would provide security for our people. It is necessary for the health and growth for our country. “Although Bahamians are the largest per capital purchases of life insurance, it is presents a real mystery to many of them,” Bonamy continued. “They don’t fully understand the need for life insurance, let alone the bewildering array of products on the market today.” And although life insurance doesn’t have the same glamore as some of the financial products available, it is still one of most important purchases one will make. “My job” he said, “is to educate them and help them purchase a product the fits into their financial plan.” Educate others is nothing new to Bonamy. After graduating from Lingston University, Lingston, Oklahoma in 1975, he taught grades 11 and 12 at the Government High School for 4 years. He then taught at St. Augustine’s College, Nassau, from 1980 to 1982. Although teaching was emotional rewarding, he made very little money. While reading the newspaper, he came across a small advertisement for a job offering approximately 3 times the annual salary he was making as a teacher. He answered the advertisement, and on December 4, 1980, became a part-time agent at Peter Wilson Agency for Colina Insurance in Nassau. After 2 years, he left that firm and went full time at Crown Life.
Learning and teaching
Bonamy spent the next few years learning as much as he could about the insurance industry and financial products. He had help, especially from the agency’s director, Terrance V. Newton (a 3 year MDRT member from Nassau).
“He was a very ‘hands-on’ type of guy,” Bonamy said. “He walked me through every situation, helped me learn what I needed to know.” Newton’s example inspired Bonamy, who always tries to help younger and less experienced agents.
“The saying ‘If I have accomplished because of someone, let someone accomplish because of me’ means something to me,” Bonamy said. “I like to give back because I’ve gotten so much from this business.”
“I always try to offer advice, to give hints and tips that would help others succeed,” he said. One way he helps others is by encouraging them to qualify for MDRT. He first heard about MDRT in 1983 when a colleague A. Michael Romer, a 13 year MDRT member returned from 1984 annual meeting in New York, New York. Listening to Romer talk about the sessions, the sales ideas and the camaraderie made a definite impression on Bonamy. He was determine to join this organization that seemed to have so much to offer his career. He qualified and became a first year MDRT member 1985.
In summoning the discipline to qualify for MDRT in less than a year, Bonamy only had to look back on his childhood and the value he learned from his parents. The oldest of 5 children, he was responsible for supervising his younger siblings. Bonamy’s father was automobile mechanic and his mother was a housewife. Their home life was highly organized, centering around discipline and hard work. The importance of a good education was highly emphasized. “My parents have always been a source of inspiration,” said Bonamy. “Although of the privilege, all 5 of us received a high quality of education at private schools. My parents showed us, through their example, that hard work and discipline leads to a good life.”
This example helped him immensely in both teaching and working in the financial world. The skills he learned while supervising his siblings- time management, organization and persistence – were extremely valuable life skills, he said.
Sharing Life’s Lessons
Bonamy helps those outside the financial industry as well. In 1989, he funded a two year scholarship to the Bahamas Hotel Training College in Nassau.
“One of my former collegues had moved to a government position,” Bonamy said, “ and she was looking for sponsors to help educate and train youth.”
Thankful for the quality education he’d received, Bonamy was glad to help others get an education. “One of the opportunities was to sponsor scholarships to the Hotel Training College…I took that opportunity.” His contribution helped him in an unexpected way. He knew he’d feel good about helping others, but was surprised when he received a write up in the local newspaper. The article mentioned his profession and generated some business.
Bonamy has passed on his lessons about hard work and the importance of education. His Son Ramon, now a University Graduate, Husband and Father. His Wife Sylvia of 40 years, now retired was a Vice President in Financial Control at Citi trust (Bahamas). She worked for the company since 1972 .
He continues to share his knowledge, of both life and the industry, with his clients, as well.
“Our role as agents in this business is to turn people’s financial dreams into reality.” Bonamy said. “This requires passion, purpose and profound optimism to help our clients develop those dreams.
“As I meet people from day to day, I’ve discovered one thing…… there’s a huge void in most people’s lives, regardless of how successful they are. They need someone to talk to, someone they can trust. My job is to fill that void. My job is to provide solutions when other solutions have failed.”