Influential women in re/insurance: re/insurers and brokers
OF OF 2017
Job title: Group chief HR officer
2012: Deputy general manager of human resources,
2011: Assistant general manager of human resources,
2005: Administration and organization manager of human
resources and resources general management, MAPFRE
1996: Management control manager, MAPFRE Argentina
What has been the biggest challenge you have encountered?
The most significant challenge I have faced has been the
globalisation of MAPFRE’s HR area, which was something
fundamental in order to better understand our people and
work together as a unified group, without borders or barriers,
in order to ensure that the organisation has the best talent
and knowledge at its disposition, where and when it needs it.
This was, and is, key to transforming the HR area in line
with the needs of our business, and resulted in our becoming
more agile and flexible as we responded to both changing
market needs and the new demands of our professionals.
This process, which is ongoing, has enabled all of us who
work in HR at MAPFRE to share the same objectives and
When you work in HR, you face diverse challenges on a daily
basis, and never more so than now, due to the changes we
are dealing with and the speed at which things are moving.
Digital transformation, knowledge management, cultural and
generational diversity as well as new forms of power give
people professional and personal development opportunities,
all of which bring an even greater dimension to our work.
This all takes place against the backdrop of a continually
changing sector that will itself have to undergo serious
transformation over the next few years.
Elena Sanz reports to the group’s chair and CEO and has
ultimate responsibility for managing more than 37,000
employees across the five continents. Her functions comprise
defining the people management strategy in line with the
business strategy, designing projects to be rolled out globally,
and managing organisational talent.
Why did you choose to work in this industry?
I studied business administration and during this time I
was an active member of AIESEC (the world’s largest non-profit
student-run organisation). We organised many courses
and conferences and through them, I started to develop an
interest in risk management. After graduating, I decided to
do a Master’s in risk management and insurance, and after
completing a banking internship, I joined MAPFRE as part
of a group of trainees with a clearly defined international
I have to say that what first attracted me was not necessarily
the world of insurance itself, but more the possibility of
being part of a large multinational, and the development
opportunities that opened up, even though it’s finance that
really interested me most of all.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I would point to my appointment to the executive committee
at the beginning of this year, which was very satisfying in
that it represented the culmination of many years of hard
work and support from my team. The appointment was
doubly satisfying in that I was the first woman in MAPFRE
to reach this position.
“When you work in HR, you face diverse
challenges on a daily basis, and never
more so than now.”
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