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TERRI D. AUSTIN

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Chief Diversity Officer

American International Group Inc.

New York

Age: 49

Terri D. Austin, a graduate of both Columbia University's School of Law and School of Journalism, joined New York-based American International Group Inc. as assistant general counsel in 1990. From 1995 to 2004 she served as senior vp and general counsel at AIG Domestic Claims before being named chief compliance officer for AIG's Domestic Brokerage Group. She was appointed to the newly created position of chief diversity officer in January.

Advice to young women: "I have definitely been told on more than one occasion, 'That's not going to work,' and while that particular iteration for an idea might not have worked, I continue to work on ideas and projects and initiatives until it gets implemented, and I think if you listen to the naysayers, you can sometimes become disillusioned and stalled, frankly, and I think you have to have confidence in yourself to know it is a good idea and it will work as long as you work at it. So, never take no for an answer."