Dr. Steven Conrad and Walter Imahara are the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s 2020 Outstanding Alumni.
Accounting may not be everyone's forte. For Keri Pellerin, working in accounting has led her to personal growth and professional opportunities that she never imagined she would accomplish. Pellerin '04 is the current Accounting Manager for Brown & Brown Gulf States. In this role, Pellerin oversees the accounting operations of eight different locations for the organization. Throughout her time with the company, Pellerin has received numerous honors for her work, including being named Brown & Brown Insurance's 2014 Rookie Accounting Leader of the Year. Most recently, Pellerin received two highly honorable awards from the company—the Retail Above and Beyond Award and the CFO Individual Excellence Award. Pellerin has accomplished so much since her time as a student at UL Lafayette. Still, her journey to where she is today is what truly showcases her resilience, perseverance, and incredible work ethic.
Originally from Lafayette, Pellerin always knew she wanted to attend the University. "I'm very family-oriented, so I knew that I was definitely staying in [Lafayette]," said Pellerin. When she initially enrolled at UL Lafayette, she had hopes of becoming a physical therapist. However, after a semester of majoring in biology, she decided that she wanted to make a career shift. "I was always a math person, so I decided to go into accounting," said Pellerin.
Not only did she change her major, but Pellerin's entire life changed when she gave birth to her son early on in college. Even though she was thrilled to have this new blessing, having a child brought additional obstacles as she tried to juggle motherhood with school. Pellerin also worked during her years as an undergraduate student. Though she faced challenges, Pellerin is grateful for her experience at UL Lafayette and where her path led her.
One of her fondest memories at the University was the day she graduated. Her entire family was there, cheering her on as she walked across the stage to receive her diploma. Pellerin remembers that day as being so rewarding. "No one thought that I would finish…[but] I did it," said Pellerin. She proved to herself and others that you can have a family while still accomplishing your dreams.
After graduation, Pellerin began working as a retirement plan administrator in Lafayette. Throughout her time in this position, she knew that she wanted to work in private accounting. Finally, after several years, one of her friends mentioned to her that there was a job posting for an accounting manager at Brown & Brown Gulf States. Initially, Pellerin didn't think she was qualified for a management position. Still, she decided to give it her best shot and apply.
During her interview, she met her current boss Mark Romero, Executive Vice President for Brown & Brown Gulf States. Pellerin expressed how she didn't think that she was qualified yet for the management position but thought that Romero's explanation of the job sounded extremely interesting to her. So, Romero suggested that Pellerin join their team as a staff accountant. After three years as a staff accountant, Romero offered Pellerin the manager position again. Even with more experience under her belt, she still didn't believe that she could handle the job. With a push from Romero, Pellerin realized that she could take on the management position and has been the Accounting Manager at Brown & Brown Gulf States ever since.
Pellerin credits her father for being one of her biggest inspirations personally and professionally. He started at the bottom of his company and has worked his way up to become a regional manager. "If he could do it, [I knew] I could do it too," said Pellerin. She also credits Romero for not only being an exceptional example of a leader but for taking a chance on her when no one else would. "He saw something in me that I didn't see in myself," said Pellerin.
Now in her management position, Pellerin loves to mentor and help other staff members on her team grow and excel. "It's so rewarding to see other people succeed," said Pellerin. Even though her path to success has had some unexpected twists and turns, Pellerin believes that growth doesn't happen when things are easy. She believes that growth occurs when you face challenges that push you to be your best self. As Pellerin continues to excel through her journey, she hopes to push herself to be the best that she can be and knows that no matter what life throws at her, she's always up for the challenge.
Photo: Headshot of Keri Pellerin