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Hande Bilgisu began her career in financial auditing at Deloitte after graduating in economics from Bogaziçi University in Istanbul. That background in finance stood her in good stead when she joined Marsh LLC in 2005.
She initially worked as a financial controller and then moved into the risk consultancy business in 2007, where she applied her knowledge of how to manage financial risks to advise clients.
In 2013 she became the risk consulting leader for Turkey, where she reorganized and restructured the business, turning it around and making it profitable. She was promoted to risk consulting leader for Turkey and the Middle East and North Africa region in 2018.
Earlier this year she became the first woman to lead Marsh’s Middle East and Africa risk advisory practice.
Developing close relationships with clients to better understand the dynamics of their businesses and industries to support and guide them and managing people and bringing together diverse talents and skills to develop a cohesive team that grows the business have been keys to success, she said.
“I support each and every colleague” she said. Creating opportunities for female consulting colleagues, many of whom are mothers and caregivers, is especially important, she said.
“We have to be mindful — we are first human and that’s the important part and then other attributes come in,” she said.
Building strong relationships with senior leaders both within the industry and in the broader business world as well as at Marsh has been instrumental to her career.
“Sometimes solutions are not in our industry, so we need different benchmarks. I’ve benefited from that,” she said.
Ms. Bilgisu is “a strong leader, well-connected and very strategic,” said Hakan Kayganaci, managing director, risk management and specialty leader for Central South Eastern Europe at Marsh, who has worked with Ms. Bilgisu for more than a decade.
“She always thinks three or four steps ahead,” Mr. Kayganaci said.