Jump to Footer

Reflecting on Career, Mark Berthiaume '78 Wants to Give Back

By Kenneth Stratton '19 WEDNESDAY, JULY 10, 2019 - 12:00 PM WNE100

With a note of self-deprecation, describing his job as “weird” seems like just the sort of thing Mark Berthiaume ’78 would do. But it’s only “weird” because, with a wide range of experience over a long and successful career, Berthiaume is uniquely positioned to take on many different roles.

Berthiaume attended Western New England in the mid-1970s, almost out of necessity. He wanted to go to school, but his parents couldn’t afford to send him anywhere but the school right down the street from his neighborhood in the Pine Point section of Springfield.

Berthiaume, who is today the EVP, chief information officer and chief innovation technology officer at The Hanover Insurance Group, remembers the technology landscape being very different during his college days.

“Technology was such a new thing back then,” Berthiaume recalls. “I think they had just discovered fire,” he joked.

Following graduation, Berthiaume set out into the working world as a computer programmer trainee - not brimming with confidence, but absolutely terrified. But looking back, he says it’s what drove him.

“A slight degree of fear is always a good thing,” Berthiaume said. He was unsure about his finances, his career, and most of all, himself. Graduating with a general business degree, he was unsure about what was in store for him. But he kept pushing, forged ahead, and in the end, built a career.

Before joining The Hanover, Berthiaume worked for several companies, including 14 years at Chubb Insurance. There, he served as senior VP chief information officer, specialty and commercial insurance, and later, Senior VP chief information officer, international.

“At Chubb – they gave me the opportunity to have non-IT duties and responsibilities,” Berthiaume said. Technology had been the focus of his career to that point, but with Chubb he began to diversify.

“It was a company that I felt I took my IT leadership to a higher level with; I stepped into a business leader role,” Berthiaume explained. By this point he’d developed skills in several very different areas - everything from computer programming to capital management.

When he joined The Hanover in 2014, he had a full resume, allowing him to take on many roles in the company. His repertoire includes IT and technology, but also systems infrastructure, hardware and software, business continuity, innovation work focused on getting products to new markets, as well as real estate, facilities, and safety.

“There’s so much new technology,” Berthiaume said, thinking about modern innovation, with everything from artificial intelligence to augmented reality and drones in mind. “They’re all converging across multiple industries and they’re changing the world,” he continued.

To Berthiaume, technology has changed the way companies market insurance, how they service clients, and how those clients buy insurance. In short, this rapid pace of change keeps him on his toes.

When he’s not busy keeping abreast of swift technological developments at The Hanover, Berthiaume serves as a member of the Board of Trustees at Western New England, and also spends a lot of his time working with students. He ensures that The Hanover has representation at Western New England career fairs, and he helps students find employment and internships in every area, from IT to Human Resources.

When asked if he thought he’d ever return to Western New England as a Trustee, Berthiaume laughed, "Not at all." But it’s a role he relishes, because it allows him to connect with students and give them a bit of guidance for life after college. He sees himself as the “intern ambassador” at The Hanover, making an effort to meet with each student working across every department of the company.

“I never felt I had any help in the early part of my career,” Berthiaume said. “I remember how terrifying it was early on,” he recalled.

“I’ve had the most incredible run, and I want to give back now,” Berthiaume concluded. And who better than the man with the “weird” job, to give back to aspiring young business professionals?