We hear from Luis Maurette, Managing Director of Willis Towers Watson Latin America & Global Head of Sales & Client Management department. Maurette was born in Argentina and has lived abroad across Latin America for over 30 years. For the last 10 years as a regional Latin America business leader, I have spent much of my time on an airplane. Every week I packed a suitcase and visited a city, mainly due to my regional role in Latin America and global role across Asia and Europe. Until one day when I stepped off a plane: this was the day a series of challenges began to arise, which formed ‘the perfect storm.’
In the last year and a half, not only did we go through a pandemic, but with the beginning of lockdown, Willis Towers Watson announced a pending merger. At that time, with the news of an unknown and dangerous disease combined with a possible merger transaction, all our colleagues went home and began to work in a format most of us were not accustomed to.
It was then the question arose: are we prepared to manage a situation of total uncertainty regarding the future? Remarkably, everything we learned and executed in past years like structuring teams and processes, discipline in management, and sales processes, then subsequently implementing them in a sophisticated way had actually prepared us for a situation akin to the one we faced. When the pandemic struck, we were shown that all the work we’ve done over the years will allow us to navigate these troubled waters in a very positive and productive way, making 2020 one of the best years for Willis Towers Watson in Latin America.
Teamwork, combined with an incredible level of resilience, made this all possible. In fact, it was a clear indicator that the work we performed for years with the vision of being the best and generating a strong value proposition for clients, were critical to this result, and 2021 has been no different.
The instability of the economies in Latin America has been constant, with great challenges, complex decisions, and insufficient handling of the pandemic. We continue to grow, serving our customers better than ever, generating results for our shareholders well above expectations, a sign of the quality of the company. Now we are entering a new stage in a much more normal world, however, we’re much stronger, better prepared, mature, and aware of who we are and what we can offer, which makes me extremely proud.
The global situation due to the pandemic allowed us to break with many paradigms, one of them that we, “Latinos”, deem interpersonal, face-to-face contact with colleagues and clients extraordinarily important. Today, we have proven that the new way works, thanks to the technology we have, as well as the clarity of our processes and the attention that we, as a company, place on the health and well-being of our people. We function efficiently and always look forward to providing best-in-class service for our clients.
One of the many lessons we’ve learned during this pandemic is concerned with those who live in big cities. In pre-pandemic times, we were able to visit up to three clients in one day. However, today, we can achieve up to six or seven meetings, get the participation of all necessary people no matter where they are located and have virtual roadshows.
Another important lesson of this past year and a half centres on the importance of looking forward, adapting, and understanding that improvement is necessary. We are constantly reviewing our work in detail, have been in continuous communication with our people, and only 20% of our workforce wants to return to the office.
We have saved two commuting hours daily, can now spend more time with family and have a better quality of life, which translates into greater efficiency and a stronger commitment to the company. Further, as an organisation, we provide our workforce with the infrastructure and conditions necessary so we can continue to perform successfully in this new work environment.
The pandemic has instilled an important change in my way of working and lifestyle too. I have discovered greater productivity by not having to jump from one plane to another, by working from home, eating healthier and spending more time with my wife. I can say, with all certainty that it has been a very interesting year.
Throughout my career in this industry, I have faced numerous adversities but never so many at once. It has been very interesting to be the leader of this process, and rewarding to reach the end of the year with such a committed team; we have entered a stage of rebuilding teams, and I am delighted that there are so many people interested in joining us. We are returning to our essence with more talent that wants to join this project, which speaks very well of the company.
Challenges are constant across my professional life as I have led change processes from the beginning of my career as general manager of a multinational insurer. I led transformation and recovery projects throughout Latin America – in Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile and Brazil. The greatest achievement from all these projects and challenges is knowing how to choose the right people who accompany me, having the vision to coalesce a team that complements each other and achieving success in the projects undertaken.
We have solved challenging projects with a truly admirable, committed team, in which each colleague can recognise their contribution, both individually and as a group, which makes people grow as professionals and motivates them to go that extra mile.
Something that stands out about me as a professional and as a leader is that once things are on track, I am already visualising the next steps. We, as a company, are faced with the challenge of carrying out the strategy with sustainable growth and implementing a model that leads us to transform the business to align with tomorrow. My goal is to help transform our company to adapt to the future while taking advantage of key learnings through the pandemic and help our Latin American market grow.
Personally, I am grateful for this recognition; nevertheless, every achievement has been tied to great teamwork. Thus, this is a recognition to everyone in Willis Towers Watson. I am just one of the team – though I act as a leader, my role is just one part of this great team. Most importantly, our clients continue to feel well cared for, protected, and advised, which is our key goal.
I am happy with our achievements and very committed to what we have learned. We are entering a different world and I am very excited about what awaits. I am grateful for my opportunities, great team and many successes.