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Shortly after college, Julie Wood began her career in insurance, learning the world of coverage and risk as an underwriter at Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. In 2014, she moved to Atlanta to take a job with Marsh LLC, and nine months later her responsibilities expanded from managing a 15-member team in casualty to assuming responsibility for 150 employees in eight offices.
In 2018, she was promoted to Marsh’s Southeast Zone Leader, managing nearly 500 people in 11 offices.
Having mentors has been an important part of her career development, Ms. Wood said. The list of individuals she has admired and learned from “really extended to a huge volume of people” whom she could seek out for advice, collaboration and frank assessments, and included direct and indirect managers, peers, people outside of the company and family members.
One key to her career success, Ms. Wood said, is stepping outside her comfort zone to master new skills. A challenge for her early on was public speaking.
“I was young, and I wasn’t very confident,” she said. To overcome this, she volunteered to teach new college recruits at the company.
“It was like a switch. … The more confident I was around the material, the better I was,” she said. “But it came with experience.”
Once she took on the southeast leadership position and the public speaking it entailed, it was no longer an issue.
“I was being put in a position where I had 10 different challenges,” she said. “Speaking was the least of my concerns.”
Her focus on taking on new challenges hasn’t wavered, and she said her current role is presenting new ways to educate herself, from increasing her understanding of the global aspects of the business to improving her technical knowledge of finance.
Ms. Wood also takes the time to learn about what is important to her clients, said Hector Mastrapa, senior vice president of risk management at Marriott International Inc.
“She advocates very appropriately for Marriott, such that we can consider her an extension of our risk management group,” he said. “I feel very confident that she embraces our culture.”