She worked several roles in the island nation’s re/insurance industry before leaving her mark across other sectors
Bermuda is remembering Audrey Ann DeSilva, a re/insurance professional and a trailblazing figure in its political spheres.
DeSilva passed away on January 1, 2024, at the age of 84, an obituary from The Royal Gazette confirms. DeSilva, recognized as the first president of the Business and Professional Women’s Association of Bermuda and a notable member of the United Bermuda Party, was born on October 5, 1939.
DeSilva’s career was marked by significant contributions to women’s advocacy and business leadership. In 1976, she partnered with cricket legend Alma “Champ” Hunt as the United Bermuda Party’s candidates in Devonshire North, despite the constituency being a stronghold of the Progressive Labour Party. Although the campaign was challenging, DeSilva and Hunt showed commendable effort.
Professionally, DeSilva was an accountant and had been at the helm of the Business and Professional Women’s Association of Bermuda since its inception in 1975. Lauren Hart-Bell, the archivist for BPW Bermuda, commended DeSilva for her tenacity, professionalism, and leadership, acknowledging her as a pioneer for the organization.
DeSilva was also involved in the International Women’s Year in 1975, appointed by the premier to investigate the status of women in Bermuda, which led to the founding of BPW Bermuda. Her efforts were part of a global movement to empower women in business and professional realms.
Reflecting on a reinsurance career
In addition to her advocacy work, DeSilva had a diverse career trajectory, starting with secretarial training and progressing through various roles, including at the Bank of Butterfield and several positions in the burgeoning insurance and reinsurance industry in Bermuda.
Her roles also encompassed positions in the re/insurance industry, including Bellefonte International Insurance, Transcon Insurance, and American International Reinsurance, among others.
She remained actively involved with BPW Bermuda until 1977, organizing talks and seminars on various topics and creating profiles of significant Bermudian women. DeSilva also maintained her political involvement with the United Bermuda Party into the 1980s and served on several governmental boards.
In the mid-1980s, DeSilva, along with her second husband, Leonard, ventured into the beauty industry, expanding Shapers Hair and Beauty Salon. She retired in 2007, leaving behind a legacy of dedication and service in both the professional and political arenas.
DeSilva is survived by her children Michael Benevides, Tammy, Geri, and stepson Leonard DeSilva II, marking the end of a life dedicated to advocacy, business leadership, and public service.
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