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Vice president, international finance director
When Rachel Cope turned 18, she had a critical life decision to make: attend university or take advantage of an apprenticeship opportunity with a major accounting firm.
While others were urging her to go to college, she felt strongly that she should take advantage of the opportunity to join KPMG in the U.K. and has been moving up in the accounting and finance sector ever since, including spending the past 12 years with Johnston, Rhode Island-based mutual insurer FM Global.
“The one thing I always say is to follow your gut instinct and do what you believe is right for you,” she said of the advice she would give young women confronting major career choices. “I think sometimes people may have opinions on what they think is the right move for you, but you’re the only person that knows whether that’s going to work for you. When I joined KPMG, there were a number of people who told me I should go to university, I’d never get anywhere in life if I didn’t go to university. But I truly believed that wasn’t the right path for me to take. If you follow your gut instinct and stay true to yourself, you can’t go far wrong.”
Ms. Cope has been the finance director of FM Global’s U.K. subsidiary FM Insurance Co. Ltd., but also recently moved to Luxembourg to oversee finance and administration at FM Insurance Europe S.A., which received its business license in May. Her task is to ensure a “seamless” transition of a large portion of business from the U.K. entity to the European subsidiary.
“It was something that we were always looking to do, but obviously the Brexit would have accelerated that,” she said.
“We have been looking for some time at the resilience of the company and whether having an additional European subsidiary would make that more resilient.” Ms. Cope has “earned the trust of our senior executives,” said Angela Kelly, FM Global’s vice president, diversity and international human resources in Rhode Island.
“I see Rachel as somebody who is very employee-focused,” she said. “That said, she’s not afraid to make tough decisions.
She executes on those decisions very well while maintaining that humanity.”
The Women to Watch awards program has been significantly expanded this year.