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From small-town Manitoba to a tropical paradise

From small-town Manitoba to a tropical paradise

Written On: 16 August, 2019
Category: Alumni Business Learn By Doing
Related programs:  Business Administration

Business Administration graduate Gloria Gabrielle was never one to shy away from pursuing an opportunity. That spirit has brought her to a rewarding career in finance, and life in a tropical locale.

Originally from Virden, Man., Gabrielle now works as a Senior Fund Accountant at Harmonic Fund Administrators, a fund management company located in the Cayman Islands.

The Cayman Islands are a collection of three islands located in the Western Caribbean, an autonomous British territory with approximately 65,000 residents. The Caymans, as they are dubbed, cater to offshore investment opportunities as a result of their relaxed taxation structure. The islands have also become a popular tourist attraction due to their temperate climate and tropical appeal.

For Gabrielle, the idea of a tropical locale only bolstered that aforementioned appeal. “I have been in the Caymans for four years now and truly enjoy the quality of life. I have had the chance to meet people from all over the world—it’s amazing,” she said.

The Assiniboine graduate’s background in accounting positioned her well for a role with the company Harmonic Fund Administrators too. “As an administrator, we manage the funds, we keep the books and records of a variety of hedge funds based in the Cayman Islands,” shared Gabrielle.

Gabrielle is a graduate of Assiniboine Community College’s Business Administration program as well as the University of Manitoba. She bridged her bachelor’s degree with a unique 2+2 opportunity, which allows students to complete their two-year Business Administration diploma at Assiniboine, followed by competitive entry to the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business, where they finish their studies to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Gabrielle received her Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) from the U of M in 2012, and then later her Chartered Accountant designation through the Chartered Accountant School of Business. Afterwards, she chose to act on a chance opportunity that would change the course of her career.

“A friend of mine had interviewed for a position in the Cayman Islands, and I thought I should interview as well, and basically from there it just happened. It was never a goal of mine to get there, I just felt I should be open to new things, and good things will come,” she said.

For the alumna, the 2+2 arrangement was an excellent opportunity to step outside the comfort zone that growing up in a small-town can often bring.

“I remember ACC being a really good, socially connected place. It is good to transition you out of high-school because you still have an environment where everyone is in the same classroom kind of vibe. ACC was excellent in terms of getting to know people and build relationships. I still have people I stay in contact with ten years later, so I think it was valuable,” said Gloria. 

Although a move from a smaller community was inevitable, some of that small-town charm was not lost on the former valedictorian. Since her time at Assiniboine, she has become heavily involved in volunteering wherever her career has taken her.

While in Brandon, Gabrielle oversaw a weekly music program at a local retirement home. In Winnipeg, she volunteered with Siloam Mission, a faith-based organization overseeing a shelter and meal program for some of the city’s most vulnerable. Since moving to the Cayman Islands, Gabrielle has increasingly been involved with TAYA Lounge. TAYA (teens and young adults) is a group that helps at-risk youth through a drop-in centre model. Volunteers act as mentors to youth who often comes from situations that can compromise their wellbeing.

“I’m a very volunteer centric person,” says Gloria. “I think I get it from my mom. The people I’m around all the time are very giving people. Growing up in a small community was good for that. Everyone helps everyone, so I think it has given me the drive to help in scenarios like this as well,” she added.

As for what comes next? Gloria shared some goals that are on the horizon but was mindful of her progress thus far.

“I’ve never put myself under a lot of pressure because I find that one door always leads into the next. I’m not someone that is focused on being a person that climbs the ladder. I’m more focused on what makes me happy at each stage of my life,” she said.

Gloria does have a piece of advice for a prospective student looking at a 2+2 approach. “Keep your options open. Be mindful of what courses are transferable because some are elective at both levels. With that said, the 2+2 is a really good option. It opens you up to many different possibilities down the road, don’t be afraid to go for it.”

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