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2018 Women to Watch: Allison Barrett

Allison Barrett
Managing director, global head of FINEX financial institutions
Willis Towers Watson PLC
New York
Age: 37

Allison Barrett made one decision early.

“When I grew up, I had my sights set on law school,” said Ms. Barrett, managing director, global head of FINEX financial institutions for Willis Towers Watson PLC in New York.

After law school, it was off to a career in politics and policy work on Capitol Hill, she said, in a job working for a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

“There I learned things like the art of negotiation and the development of an effective communication style, and that’s what ultimately propelled me to a career in corporate communications at Marsh” in New York, Ms. Barrett said.

“I had interaction with all the business lines and became really interested in the business itself,” Ms. Barrett said. “I very quickly moved on to the business side and started working as a financial lines adviser. From there, I just realized that the industry was a perfect fit for me.”

It was “the best decision I’ve made. This industry offers me every opportunity I would look for as a professional.”

The interpersonal aspect drew her in as well. “It’s still very much a relationship-based business, which I absolutely love,” Ms. Barrett said

Her acumen for all sides is apparent.

“Her talent as both a technical expert in financial services, as well as her overall leadership capabilities, has enabled her to grow well beyond the original plan for bringing her on board,” said Joe Gunn, managing director and leader for North America at Willis Towers Watson. “Beyond her direct interaction with clients, she has proven to be a highly capable leader, earning her the respect of both her direct reports as well as other leaders within the firm.”

Ms. Barrett is encouraged by the progress of women in the industry.

“I think women like myself are feeling empowered by our companies and our conversations with each other, and there is an interest in driving real engagement and development opportunities for other women, up and down the ranks,” she said.

NEXT: Kelley Bernal
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