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Chief Operating Officer, Specialty Practices
Willis North America
Alexis Faber works with national practice groups to develop and implement operational efficiencies and profitability for the North American brokerage unit of Willis Group Holdings P.L.C. Ms. Faber joined Willis in 2003, most recently serving as chief operating officer and chief financial officer of its executive risks practice. In her current role, Ms. Faber rolled out the Willis Integrated Solution D&O Model, an analytical tool using quantitative analysis to help clients make decisions for directors and officers coverage. She developed a financial reporting system that is used to oversee budgeting, forecasting and historical performance and built operational models that examine the link between compensation and performance. Also, Ms. Faber helped move various broking processes to Mumbai, India, which now handles 20% of the policy volume for the brokerage's U.S. management liability group.
WHAT'S THE BEST PROFESSIONAL ADVICE YOU RECEIVED?
Never wait for someone else to present you with opportunity. Be proactive about your destiny. Think about your own opportunities and ... pursue them.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG WOMEN ENTERING THIS FIELD?
First and foremost, be yourself. Don't think about yourself as different, just think about what you have offer.
OUTSIDE OF WORK AND FAMILY, WHOM DO YOU ADMIRE MOST?
A close friend. She is an incredibly talented female in business. She is incredibly humble, something I admire because you see a lot of arrogance in business today. She never appears stressed out, which is something I constantly struggle with, and (she) is always thinking of other people.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?>
A curator of a large art museum. I studied a lot of art history and spent some time on a year off in college just pursuing a course in art and art history.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE?
"Good Will Hunting." I grew up in Boston. Not only do I like Matt Damon and Minnie Driver in that movie, but I liked the setting and the story line as well.
WHAT'S THE MOST INTERESTING PLACE YOU'VE BEEN?
Shanghai. I did the executive MBA program at Columbia (University in New York)…and as part of the program, I did a weeklong course in Shanghai. I actually had a chance to do some research about the insurance business in China. (I) got to meet a lot of people in the business world in Shanghai and got to see the city.
WHAT DO YOU PREFER AND WHY: PHONE OR E-MAIL?
I probably prefer e-mail because I'm somewhat obsessed with efficiency. I'm very aware of the fact that there are certain conversations that are more appropriate for telephone.
Business Insurance's annual Women to Watch feature is our attempt to identify and recognize individuals doing exceptional work in risk management, benefits management, commercial insurance and related fields.