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2019 Women to Watch: Jodie Kaufman Davis

Jodie Kaufman Davis

Jodie Kaufman Davis
Corporate senior vice president, H.W. Kaufman Financial Group Inc.;
Managing director, Burns & Wilcox Canada
Age: 38

Jodie Kaufman Davis, Toronto-based corporate senior vice president of Farmington Hills, Michigan-based H.W. Kaufman Financial Group Inc., and managing director of its Burns & Wilcox Canada unit, is the third generation to work in the family business, but she did not start out expecting to take that path.

“I grew up with insurance around me and obviously had some awareness about the industry, but really not a lot,” she said.

After graduating from college, Ms. Kaufman Davis followed in both her parents’ footsteps and became a lawyer.

She earned her law degree from Michigan State University College of Law in East Lansing, then moved to Toronto and became an associate with Dorsey & Whitney LP, where she specialized in Canadian/U.S. cross-border transactions.

Then, she said, “it was time to decide if I was going to go on the partnership track” or explore other opportunities.

She decided to join the family firm, which was founded by her grandfather, Herbert W. Kaufman, is now headed by her father, Alan Kaufman, and is where her brother, Danny, also works.

She has no regrets.

“I really had no idea that insurance could be such a fulfilling and challenging industry and be an exciting career,” she said.

“It’s one of my missions to share that with others” and why Ms. Kaufman Davis said she works with young people to convey “the significant and lucrative opportunities in the industry.”

Ms. Kaufman Davis, whose accomplishments include making three acquisitions and building up a small Canadian operation to more than 100 employees, said she has “worked very hard to create a culture of family values and to welcome employees into our family.”

“Jodie is clearly driven to succeed with her Canadian business. She won’t have it any other way,” said Hugh Sturgess, president and CEO of London-based Arch Insurance International, a unit of Arch Capital Ltd., who met Ms. Kaufman Davis when he was CEO of Arch Canada in 2014.

Ms. Kaufman Davis’ husband Jamie, whom she met at summer camp, also works at H.W. Kaufman. They have three children: Ella, 8, Madeline, 6, and Noah, 3.

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