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Strong entrepreneurial work ethic key to success at AIG

 April 30, 2013

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When Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first female prime minister in 1979, many women fighting for equal opportunity in the workplace saw her success as a reason to celebrate.

Her political achievement opened doors for women seeking leadership roles in politics and elsewhere in society.

Although as a politician she naturally stirred controversy, her entrepreneurial spirit set an example for women striving to win a fair work-life balance in the home and the workplace.

A grocer's daughter, Conservative Thatcher, who died on Monday at age 87, boldly addressed gender issues as she rose to power.

“Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country,” she said in 1979.

Thatcher promoted ingenuity, entrepreneurialism and innovation in business - views affirmed by many of today's global companies.

Take insurer American International Group (AIG), for example. The global company fosters an environment in which knowledge is cultivated, innovation is encouraged and achievement is rewarded - characteristics required for developing leaders.

Women get hired at AIG in such key roles as risk management, operations and underwriter. These opportunities lay the groundwork for women to move into leadership roles.

With 45,000 employees serving more than 70 million clients the company credits success to talent nurtured by an eclectic workplace.

"In a global marketplace, we know that diversity – of people, ideas, and skills – is essential for us to continue building our competitive advantage,” said Robert Benmosche, AIG chief executive.

“To value diversity is not only the right thing to do, but also must form the heart of our viability as a great company that attracts and retains the best people."

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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