2019 Women to Watch: Grace VandecruzePosted On: Dec. 2, 2019 12:00 AM CST
Founder and managing member
Grace Global Capital LLC
There have been a number of mountain peaks to overcome for Grace Vandecruze, who founded her own insurance consulting firm Grace Global Capital LLC after more than 20 years on Wall Street.
The first mountain was coming to the United States from her native Guyana with her six siblings and parents.
After Ms. Vandecruze scored on aptitude tests to become an accountant and gained acceptance to Pace University in New York, the family’s home in Brooklyn burned down. Another mountain to climb: coming home from school to a shelter for years as the family grappled with having lost everything and having no insurance, a memory that fuels her work to this day.
There were other mountains: earning a degree from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia; serving on the boards of three insurance companies; and creating her own enterprise providing financial guidance to insurers.
There were real peaks, too: She is a climber whose tally is 23 mountains on three continents.
“Just keep going” is her mantra.
“My dream was more of possibilities,” she said of her personal trek that began as an immigrant. “I believed in education and opportunities and … I felt this is going to be a great opportunity for me to expand, and I was excited to be a part of this.”
“One of my grandmother’s words to me was to believe beyond your limit,” she said. “I have lived it in my mountain climbing, in the pursuit of a career in the insurance industry where the barriers were blatantly in front of me. I knew beyond my limits that I could make a significant impact not only in my life, but in the lives of others.”
It’s that life story that most impacted 20-year friend and colleague Carla D’Andre, New York-based founder of the agency D’Andre Insurance Group Inc.
“These things in life, they are going to make or break you, and they made her distinct,” she said, adding that heart and character are the things that most stood out about her friend, even before she knew where those attributes came from. “You can’t go to school to get character … it’s within you.”