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2015 Women to Watch: Judi Newsam

2015 Women to Watch: Judi Newsam

Judi Newsam

Country head, Brazil

Guy Carpenter & Co. Corretora de Resseguros Ltda., a unit of Guy Carpenter & Co. L.L.C.

Rio De Janeiro

Age: 54

Judi Newsam likes to ask questions. Perhaps it's because of her background in social anthropology, which she studied before landing “accidentally, like most people” in the insurance industry, she said.

Or maybe it was her upbringing: Her parents worked for the agricultural arm of the United Nations, and the family moved every three to five years to countries in Latin America, the Far East and the Middle East.

“I have a natural, undying curiosity,” said Ms. Newsam, who since 2009 has been heading both the Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo offices for Guy Carpenter & Co. Corretora de Resseguros Ltda., a unit of Guy Carpenter & Co. L.L.C.

Besides running the daily operations of both offices, including strategic planning across all business lines, she leads teams in developing, communicating and implementing strategies for Guy Carpenter's corporate and Latin America regional goals.

It's a task she doesn't do alone, she said, referring to the team of 20 reinsurance professionals who work under her. “One of the most fun parts of my job is the creating of teams, of up-and-coming, young teams members,” she said.

A key component in recruiting and retaining professionals is Ms. Newsam's reliance on structured mentoring, “pairing up incomers with senior mentors who would oversee and guide.” She herself has mentored much young talent.

About her chance meeting with insurance as a career, it was a roommate in London who told her about a position after she graduated college in 1983. “I had to ask what reinsurance was, and my friend says, "It's about earthquakes in Japan.'”

The role was international, and Ms. Newsam spoke several languages and was familiar with several cultures. A people person, she found that it suited her.

“I think reinsurance continues to be an industry that is driven by personal relationships,” Ms. Newsam said. “Even in the age of technology, so much is still done face to face.”

Cristina Ullon, Buenos Aires-based country head for Guy Carpenter's operations in Argentina, said Ms. Newsam has made a name for herself not only with her industry aptitude but her personality.

“Judi is very well-known in the industry as an influential woman; intelligent and really focused in finding solutions for her clients,” Ms. Ullon wrote. “She is a very nice team player, apart of being really funny.”

» NEXT: Amanda Nguyen

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