Editor’s note: The Proud of Them initiative recognises the positive achievements of people ages 10 to 25. Through a public nomination process, individuals are honoured in the categories of academics, careers, business, sports, culture or community service. Each person selected will be featured for six months at a time on billboards established across the Cayman Islands, and will also receive a certificate. It is hoped that this recognition programme will encourage young people to continue to strive for higher attainment, while inspiring others to do the same.
Being an academically successful student is an achievement for which 22-year-old Joel Alex Burke is certainly proud.
From childhood, he has maintained a track record of excellence that continues to this day. Yet that is only a small part of the accomplishments of this ambitious young man. Here’s his story …
Red Bay Primary School was Mr. Burke’s first stop on his road to success. His potential for greatness was evident from those early moments and he was chosen valedictorian of his graduating primary class.
In middle school and high school, he was again a top student.
He graduated from the University College of the Cayman Islands in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting, thereby gaining the academic qualifications that he would need to pursue his career.
His professional journey began shortly after graduation, as he promptly enrolled for his certified public accountant examination in 2011. He completed and earned his licence in one short year, at the age of 21. On October 6, 2012, he was recognised by the Cayman Islands Society for Professional Accountants for completing his bachelor’s programme and earning his CPA.
At the moment, Mr. Burke is a senior accountant in internal finance at Rawlinson and Hunter Cayman.
Of receiving the Proud of Them Award, Mr. Burke said: “It was a pleasant surprise. Being so focused on achieving your goals and building your career, you do forget that people in the community notice your dedication and achievements.”
He continues: “I am really happy that the Proud of Them committee found me deserving of such a prestigious honour.”
Mr. Burke is passionate about seeing other young Caymanian professionals achieve their dreams. His advice to other young people is to figure out what their interests are, carefully research and plan how they are going to move in the right direction, introduce themselves to the right contacts, stay encouraged, be aware that they can always find assistance and remember life will not always go to plan.
To this day he in turn is willing to tutor or assist anyone who asks for his help.
“My achievements to-date are due to hard work, dedication and most importantly – God’s favour in my life”, he comments.
Mr. Burke’s academic ambitions have not come to a halt either; he is pursuing a MBA in finance, accounting and entrepreneurship, which he hopes to have to complete by the end of this year.
Upon completion, he will pursue either the chartered financial analyst qualification or the STEP. As Mr. Burke navigates through his chosen career path, he is hungry to acquire a more in-depth knowledge of the financial industry. He has hopes to channel his skills and experience toward making partner in an established firm, or his own company, within the next 10 to 15 years.
Mr. Burke is a determined young man, who is a sterling example of what can be achieved with determination and initiative. Asked which people have influenced his success, he said, “I would definitely have to say my parents instilled good values in me growing up. Also my wife has continuously supported me through my educational and professional endeavours”.
With his constant desire to improve himself and his drive to keep learning, Mr. Burke is a great example of the calibre of academic achievers that can be found within the Cayman Islands.
Outlining his plans for the future, he says: “I would like to become more involved in the community and possibly start my own organisation focusing on helping students who are interested in the field of accounting, through: mentoring, financial assistance and even opening the right doors for them. Achievements are nothing if you do not give back to the society that gave you your first opportunities.”