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If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together


by Matias Retzlaff, Ismael Blasco, Sebastián Collazuol, Gonzalo Leguizamón and Virginia Lingiardi, Grupo Asegurador La Segunda (Argentina)

11 February 2020

The value of international networking for professional development

In August 2019, five Young Leaders from Argentine ICMIF member Grupo Asegurador La Segunda had the opportunity to attend the 2019 ICMIF/Americas Annual Conference, as part of the first Young Leaders Program in the Americas. Here, they share their experiences.

Before attending the ICMIF/Americas Annual Conference, we had a number of questions about our participation. For example: what expectations would other delegates have about us being part of the conference as Young Leaders? What expectations did our organization have about us participating in the Conference? How do we start a conversation with a CEO during a coffee break or networking session?

As soon as we arrived in Mendoza, however, our questions were answered. We found a group of delegates from all over the Americas, most of them holding positions of enormous responsibility within their respective organizations and eager to share their business, leadership and life experiences with us; and at the same time, eager to learn our perspectives on the themes of the Conference.

At the same time, we also had the opportunity to meet other young professionals from different insurance companies across the Americas, with whom we shared experiences, in an atmosphere of ​​generosity, sharing and friendship. Together we began a journey of exchange of ideas, opinions, and knowledge; this was almost certainly the greatest contributor of value for us in attending the ICMIF/Americas Annual Conference.

Perhaps we will also find that our attendance at the Conference is an opportunity that we were not able to fully appreciate the value of at the end of our time in Mendoza; but we will realize it over time. Now, every time we are facing a business decision, or starting a new project, we will have an extremely wide network of contacts at our disposal who we can ask for advice or information, which will allow us to nurture and continue to benefit from the experiences, visions and feelings from having attended the Conference. This will undoubtedly enrich us and enhance our professional development even further.

“It was an extremely enriching experience, both personally and professionally, due to the synergy that was generated between colleagues. We were able to jointly address different issues that affect our business worldwide and share each other’s expectations and strategies with respect to them. The contact with people from other countries allowed us to see different perspectives in similar situations and develop good practices for the sector.”

Matias Retzlaff – Area Software Engineering and Innovation

“The possibility of making contact with the top leaders and representatives of the leading insurance organizations in the Americas, and being able to nurture the visions they generously shared with us during the conference, is an invaluable personal and professional development experience that I took as I participated on the Young Leaders Program.”

Ismael Blasco – Customer Service Center Coordinator

Connecting and exchanging ideas with leaders of other organizations, and addressing current issues of interest for cooperative and mutual companies, was extremely interesting.  Hearing their management strategies and visions of the future has they provided me with useful tools. The experience, in addition to being really helpful, reinforces the values ​​of responsibility, integrity, development and cultural sensitivity in our sector.”

Sebastián Collazuol – Commercial Development

“It was a privilege to participate in a conference of international scope, where we were able to obtain a broader view of the global issues in the field of insurance and learn from new successful business models. I believe that in moments where digitalization is transforming the world as we know it, it is essential to keep ahead and take full advantage of learning from each other through this collaboration within the cooperative environment.” 

Gonzalo Leguizamón – Logistics Planning

“The Young Leaders Program is an excellent opportunity to share best practices with distinguished world leaders as well as experiences with other young people like us. In my case, the context of innovation management is a topic as important as it is wide and complex, and having this space for exchange and collaboration has not only been very positive, but absolutely necessary. Here, you realize that, even if you are a thousand of miles away, often the problems are the same and the solutions too! From the participation in the Young Leaders Program, I generated super interesting contacts that I still keep in touch with, and with whom I regularly speak to when I am faced with a new challenge. It is an absolutely recommendable experience for all those young professionals, who, in order to design the future of our organizations, need, without a doubt, to open up to the wider world, generate networks and build collaboratively.”

Virginia Lingiardi – Team Leader Innovation


For the second time, ICMIF/Americas will be running a Young Leaders Program for members at its 2020 Annual Conference in Costa Rica (November 11-13, 2020). This unique program is designed specifically for ICMIF/Americas members looking to develop their young employees, who are:

  • High potential employees within their organization and may be considered for future management or leadership positions
  • Interested in improving their personal skills and gaining a wider knowledge of technical and strategic insurance issues
  • Looking for inspiration to help develop their own careers
  • Aged between 18 and 35

Those participating in the Young Leaders Program will have the chance to learn from their peers at other ICMIF/Americas member companies and also enjoy the opportunity to network with senior executives, industry leaders and key external influencers from the Americas and around the world.

The program will provide an excellent professional development opportunity for ICMIF/Americas member companies looking to engage and educate their younger employees. Attending the Young Leaders Program will significantly help the careers of the young attendees, by providing them a wider perspective of issues impacting the insurance industry and the skills to encourage their personal growth. They will also be able to participate in discussions about the future of mutual and cooperative insurers during the Conference and provide insight of how ICMIF/Americas members can attract and retain the best millennial talent.

The Young Leaders Program includes:

  • One exclusive breakfast session for young leaders where they will have a chance to learn from and speak with CEOs of ICMIF/Americas members in small group discussions.
  • A private reception (on Wednesday November 11th) designed for young leaders only.
  • Full access to all conference sessions and social events.
  • A discount on the full conference delegate fee.

For more information, please contact Ben Telfer, Vice-President, North America.

For member-only strategic content on the cooperative/mutual insurance sector, ICMIF members have exclusive access to a range of online resources through the ICMIF Knowledge Hub 

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