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Head of Customer Relationship Management
Zurich Global Corporate in North America
Valerie Butt, who grew up in Atlanta, has an MBA in risk management and finance from the University of Georgia, where she was class valedictorian. After setting out to become a federal prosecutor, she changed course in college in part because she found many attorneys are unhappy with their work. After working for a broker and as a risk manager for a technology firm, Ms. Butt joined Zurich Corporate Global in North America in 1998, where she has helped launch several Zurich initiatives and heads Zurich's Customer Relationship Management Group, managing the North American market. She is a co-founder of the Zurich-based Women's Insurance Network and, with other Zurich employees, volunteered as part of Earthwatch Institute's restoration of mangroves in Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami.
WHAT'S THE BEST PROFESSIONAL ADVICE YOU RECEIVED?
“You miss 100% of the shots you never take,” which is attributable to Wayne Gretzky. Once you're afraid to take a risk, you may as well call it a game and give up. You've got to take risks in life in order to succeed; and I've always believed that if you want to make something happen in your life, you really just have to kind of do it.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG WOMEN ENTERING THIS FIELD?
The advice I would give is to not take anything too personally in this business. I've always felt that if you focus on the issues at hand, and that if you listen perceptively to your audience and proactively offer solutions, and not get caught up in personal feelings, you are a more effective leader and manager and can make much better personal decisions.