Courtesy of Gizelle Ortiz-Velazquez
When Opportunity Knocks

When Gizelle Ortiz-Velazquez graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1984, she hoped her degree in international relations would help her land a dream jobone in diplomacy with a chance to travel and use her bilingual skills.
      Ortiz-Velazquez has done all this, but not as a diplomat. She has traveled extensively as an insurance executive, working in such places as Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Puerto Rico. It was wonderful to be exposed to all those different cultures, she says.
      Shortly after graduation she was recruited by a New Jersey-based insurance company and has worked in that field ever since, except for a stint as a diversity consultant for a firm in Pennsylvania. Life has interesting ways of making us go into things that we dont necessarily plan for, says the Miami resident who is now vice president at FINPRO, a division of Marsh USA Inc., an insurance broker and risk management firm. I enjoyed working in the field of diversity consulting, but with a growing family, the travel got to be too much.
      Joining FINPRO seemed like a natural progression for Ortiz-Velazquez, who serves as a resource for clients, advising them on their financial product needs, loss control, and business risk. I can build on my knowledge of the insurance industry, the connections Ive made, and the networking Ive done, she says. It seems like a natural fit.
      As busy as she is with work, family, and other commitments, Ortiz-Velazquez maintains a close connection with SU. She attends the triennial Coming Back Together reunions and also serves as an alumni representative, meeting with prospective SU students and their parents at college fairs in the Miami area. One of my proudest accomplishments is that I continue to contribute to SU as an alumni representative, she says. Its a way to give back to the people at Syracuse University, to thank them for all the great things they did for me. Its a way to talk about the positive experiences I had there.

—Paula Meseroll

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