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Chief client officer, global energy and power business; and client service director, U.K. specialty
Amy Barnes doesn’t let things stand in her way. At 23, she arrived in Azerbaijan to begin work as a commercial diver. Her employer, however, had not realized prior to her arrival that she was a woman, and strict working practices meant she was unable to take up the job.
Rather than be disheartened, Ms. Barnes, who graduated in geography from University of London, negotiated herself a job at British Petroleum P.L.C., carrying out investigations at an asbestos landfill site.
An accomplished cook, she catered her own wedding, and she and her husband built their own house, where they now live with a “menagerie” of animals.
Now chief client officer of the global energy and power business and client service director for U.K. specialty at Marsh Ltd., which she joined in 2009, Ms. Barnes said that seeing someone develop or knowing that you have helped a junior member of staff are the real moments of fulfillment.
Ms. Barnes said she has mentors both in and outside of the work environment.
While professional mentors often have helped give her confidence in her own thinking, she said friends or peers with strong moral compasses have said things that really have resonated. One such lesson, she said, it to be mindful of “manners rather than politics” in the workplace and to have respect for and be courteous to colleagues with other areas of expertise.
Having developed deep expertise in the energy and power sector, Ms. Barnes leads many large accounts. She travels extensively, working with a team of over 700 on the global energy side of her job. In her role as client service director, she works with more than 1,000 client-facing colleagues.
She encourages young employees to “take ownership” and not think of the organizations in which they work as a “they” — some sort of other entity — but rather as something of which they are a part and for which they have a responsibility.
“Amy brings out the best in people, as they are enthused by her vision and energized by her ideas and drive,” said Andrew George, chairman of the energy and power practice at Marsh in London. “Amy has a huge amount of potential and has continued to prove herself time after time.”
The Women to Watch awards program has been significantly expanded this year.