Senior Risk Manager, Country and Credit Risk Management at AXA XL - Hartford, CT
Risk Management and Insurance, Appalachian State Class of ‘13
Rumbi Masamvu was a sophomore at Appalachian State planning on majoring in international business when she was approached by Michelle Boisclair, the then Associate Director of the Brantley Center, about participating in the Building Insurance Talent program. The program, recently revived under the leadership of Dr. Jamie Parson, recognizes the value that people from diverse backgrounds bring to the insurance industry and is designed to promote and celebrate diversity in the risk management and insurance (RMI) major. Masamvu was open to learning more and attended the annual RMI recruitment dinner and saw a group of her peers who were excited to share their industry travel experiences and the strong friendships they had built within the program. She was ready to have those opportunities as well.
Looking back, Masamvu’s strongest memories of the RMI program were that of being a part of a supportive community within the Brantley Risk & Insurance Center. She recognized that not all students have the opportunity to build such strong relationships with their professors, but she fondly recalls dropping into professors’ offices just to chat, or to get help on a project or tough email.
These relationships also helped Masamvu to grow professionally; she thinks back on her mentors from the RMI major now when networking or presenting within her organization and is thankful to have had the opportunity to develop those soft professional skills early on. “There’s a big emphasis within the program on exposing students to professionals in the industry”, said Masamvu. “Even just out of graduation, I felt very comfortable talking to professionals because, while I was a student, I had access to Board Members and other insurance industry leaders. These interactions helped me to build confidence and to learn to ask good questions. The education I received in the RMI program was an excellent foundation for a career in insurance, but the investment in professionalism and access students have to industry leaders is what sets the program apart.”
Masamvu is thankful that she now gets to be a part of an industry that “makes the world go”. When asked to talk about her favorite parts of her career, Masamvu was enthusiastic: “AXA XL insures anything you can think of insuring, and every day brings the opportunity to learn something new. I love being in an industry that makes things happen. If you think about a space launch or an airplane flying through the air...those things could never happen without the insurance industry.”
Masamvu adds that problem solving and interacting with people on a daily basis has made for a challenging and rewarding career. “This is why people spend 40 years in the industry; There is so much room for growth.” Masamvu feels she has been fortunate to have many people support, mentor and advocate for her in her career. "As a woman of color, I hope to see more of my peers given the same opportunities", said Masamvu, "and for our industry to make more space for people of color and women to become leaders and succeed in our industry.”