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

By Kenneth Stratton '19 MONDAY, JULY 29, 2019 - 12:00 PM WNE100

With a note of self-deprecation, to describe 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 roles.

Berthiaume attended Western New England in the mid-1970’s, almost out of necessity. He wanted to go to school, but his parents couldn’t afford to send him anywhere else but the school 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 and in the end developed a career.

Before joining The Hanover, Berthiaume worked for several companies, including 14 years at Chubb Insurance. Here 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. Not only does his repertoire include IT and technology, but 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 trying to “stay current” at The Hanover, Berthiaume serves as a member of the Board of Trustees at Western New England, and spends a lot of his time working with students. He’s been able to get The Hanover at Western New England career fairs and help students find employment and internships in every area, from IT to Human Resources.

“Not at all,” Berthiaume said with a laugh when asked if he thought he’d ever return to Western New England as a Trustee. 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 guy with the “weird” job, to give back to aspiring young business professionals?