Erika Taurel, 39, started hercareer as an engineer working on offshore oil rigs in both theNorth Sea and the Gulf of Mexico for Shell International, beforeswitching to finance. “I got really specialized,” says Taurel,adding that at the age of 29, she realized she was one of 10 peoplein the world who did a particular kind of work.

“I'd boxed myself in,” she says. “So I went back to businessschool. Coming from an engineering background, operational financewas a very natural progression because it combines two skills: afacility with numbers and a curiosity at how things work.”

Erika TaurelTaurel joined Pfizerin 2002 and her tasks at the $50 billion drug company have includedrestructuring the worldwide biopharmaceutical unit; financialreporting and oversight of the Wyeth integration for the $23billion primary care business; and risk management, budgeting andforecasting for Europe, Canada, Latin American and Middle Eastregions.

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