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A Career Path of Luck, Flexibility, Hard Work, Dedication, and Success
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By: Teri Bernstein 

 

short interview bites from Seraina Maag; For more, see speech after honor 

 

Seraina Maag (Macia), age 49, has had a remarkable international career in insurance and finance. So far, it has included these highlights:

 

  • An idyllic childhood in the Swiss mountains, doing acrobatic horse riding in international competition
  • A gap year in London, employed as an au pair
  • Work as an export credit specialist in Zurich for Brown Brothers Harriman--while going to night school in management
  • Work as an account underwriter for Swiss Re, an international reinsurance company. Although she did not meet the minimum job requirements, as luck would have it, her resume had been on a stack left outside on a balcony, and drew attention because it had been hit with bird droppings. She got the job and worked her way up to rating agency coordinator in the decade she was there.
  • Education at night: While at Swiss Re, she worked in both Switzerland and Australia, and continued night school. She received her MBA and became a Chartered Financial Analyst while working in Australia.
  • Entrepreneurial work as a bank founder: With twelve men, founded NZB NeueZuercher Bank in Switzerland, and served as Partner and Financial Analyst
  • Work as a global financial manager at Zurich Financial Services in Switzerland, running the Investor Relations & Rating Agencies and serving as Chief Financial Officer and President of Zurich North America Commercial Specialties.
  • An opportunity to grow and turn around a division of XL Group, whose CEO, Mike McGavick, gave her the freedom she needed to take action.
  • An appointment to the Young Global Leaders group of the World Economic Forum, which led to additional world service commitments.
  • Leadership as CEO of Hamilton, USA, between her two stints with AIG, Inc. 
  • Leadership at AIG: Worked at AIG; left in 2015 as part of a reorganization; rejoined AIG July 13, 2017 as Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Planned Technology-Focused, an AIG, Inc. subsidiary. Here she heads up a special project called Attune, which develops data analytics.
  • Service on a corporate board: Has been an Independent Director at Credit Suisse (USA), Inc. since 2015.
  • Service work in the Congo and other places as Chairwoman at BanQu, Inc.

Inspiring, isn't it?

 

Sources:

 

Discussion

  • What do you think are the outstanding aspects of Seraina Maag's career history? In what ways would you like to emulate her? What aspects wouldn't work for you?
  • Have you ever applied for a job for which you did not meet the minimum qualifications?  If you were hired, how did that work out? Do you know of any others who have been in that situation? Describe.