Ambitious executives know that an international assignment can be a terrific means to help advance their careers. So, it’s unfortunate that, over the years, many women have told me they turned down overseas opportunities because they doubted they were prepared for the challenges of a foreign posting.
That’s why I was eager to chat with Margo Black, the recently retired CEO of Swiss Re Brasil Resseguros, Swiss Re’s reinsurance business in South America’s largest economy. I wanted to hear how she built a 40-year career in a predominantly male dominated Latin America and how she handled a career on four continents.
Although Margo admits that she never dreamt of spending 20 years in Brazil, she embraced foreign opportunities, by adopting a “never say never” attitude, confronting difficult issues right away – from gender bias to pay gaps – and accepting that you can’t sustain a ‘super woman’ persona. One should never be afraid to raise one’s hand to take on a new challenge because if you don’t, someone else will and they will only be half as good as you are.