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Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
San Jose, California
As area president for Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in San Jose, California, Lynn Tu has turned her international background into business success, spearheading the brokerage’s Asia-Pacific practice and growing the unit to more than $8 million in revenue since 2006.
Born in Vietnam and raised in Hong Kong as the youngest of seven siblings, she moved to Los Angeles with her family when she was a teenager. “As a woman and a foreigner, I came to this country and learned everything from scratch,” said Ms. Tu, who holds a finance degree from California State University, Northridge.
Fueled by a love of numbers, Ms. Tu began her career in accounting. Over time, however, she grew to hate the feeling of “being stuck at her desk” and transitioned into the insurance industry, where she saw greater opportunity, she said.
Prior to Gallagher, Ms. Tu served as branch chief financial officer for Jardine Insurance, a unit of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group P.L.C., in San Jose and then as a senior vice president at Aon Risk Services, where she first formed her Asia-Pacific team. “I looked around and tried to find ways to differentiate myself compared to my competitors, to utilize this special talent that I have, this language ability,” Ms. Tu said. “I decided I’m going to focus on Asia-owned businesses, especially from China.”
Jim Buckley, Gallagher’s Northwest regional president, said Ms. Tu is a “great team player” who routinely hits revenue goals. The way she has built and expanded the company’s Asia-Pacific practice is “exceptionally impressive,” he said. “She’s very intelligent, persistent and client-focused,” he said.
Being a mentor for women looking to break into the insurance industry is important to Ms. Tu. Gallagher’s Asia-Pacific team consists of 15 people, most of them women whom she personally recruited and developed, she said. Advice she often gives: communicate and use common sense.
When she’s not at work, Ms. Tu is an avid sports fan — and ballroom dancer.
The Women to Watch awards program has been significantly expanded this year.