The J Curve Podcast Interview with Susan Segal


Susan Segal on The J Curve Podcast on Her Career and Tech Entrepreneurship

By Olga Maslikhova

"I saw Latin America at its worst, and I saw it transition to what it is today," says AS/COA's president and CEO.

Olga Maslikhova of The J Curve podcast interviewed AS/COA President and CEO Susan Segal, about her career in banking, her role during the Latin American debt crisis of the 1980s and early 1990s, the future of tech entrepreneurship in the region and what is she bullish about when it comes to Latin America.

Maslikhova began the interview by asking Segal about her professional journey. The leader of AS/COA talked about her studies at Sarah Lawrence College and then Columbia Business School.

"When I graduated, I interviewed at a bunch of companies ... It was like being on a different planet. They had never interviewed a woman. And I interviewed with Citibank, and they offered me three jobs, one in Europe, one in the U.S., doing municipal bond research, and one in Latin America. And I said, 'I'll take Latin America, thank you,'" said Segal. She also talked about her work at Manufacturers Hanover Corporation, knows as "Manny Hanny," where she started lending to the corporate sector in Mexico and doing investment banking.

"I saw Latin America at its worst, and I saw it transition to what it is today...I was on the group that helped create the Brady Bonds, right? So we securitized the debt. We changed how the world thought about Latin America. So everything was just a natural progression. I helped create the trading business in Latin America, and then I went back to investment banking, and then I ended up at Chase Capital Partners running Latin America."

Segal spoke about her early-stage tech investing in companies like StarMedia and Mercado Libre, which led to a conversation on entrepreneurship in Latin America.

"I remain bullish on entrepreneurship. I think that the talent in Latin America is extraordinary and and it's growing. And so, I think, in some ways, Latin America has met its match in the entrepreneurial world," said Segal. "I was in Paraguay last week, and everybody's running around trying to figure out, how can I get into the AI, how can I get into the service business. Paraguay, believe it or not, it's one of the few countries that has a totally clean power grid, totally clean, 100% clean power at a reasonable price. And so if you are thinking about AI, you are thinking about a service center that requires a lot of energy, that takes you to places like Latin America."

Segal also talked about her interest in mentoring entrepreneurs and women empowerment in the workplace.

"In the companies I am on the boards I also love to find and talk to women," she said. "I try to encourage them to hang in there and to do what makes them happy and be successful. I look at mentoring as a bit of being a role model, a little bit being there to talk about the path that they would pursue and why, and a little bit by trying to help them stand up for what they feel they need to stand up for and creating their own space. So I am really committed to seeing more women on boards."

Watch the full interview.