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Member Spotlight: Astrid Rizzi

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

Astrid has been a member of the American Society of São Paulo (AmSoc) since 1975. She’s a giving person and has been involved with AmSoc’s charities for many years

Photo of Astrid Rizzi sitting behind a desk resting her hands on the surface


She founded her company, Great Start, to provide services and office space for foreign companies starting in Brazil.


She did preliminary research for Kimberley Clark, her first client. Her temporary offices were the start of co-working! In order to set up Great Start, she borrowed money from the bank by “ my little house in Brooklyn as a guarantee to make my dream come true!”


Great Start became a specialized consulting service to advise companies on the selection of administrative personnel to work at the highest level — such as executive assistants for presidents and CEOs — mainly in multinational and large Brazilian companies. The procedure always begins by interviewing the boss who needs the assistant. She is known as the number one headhunter for C-Level executive secretaries/office managers fluent in English and other languages. She also mentors those who work in this area.

In the 1980s, Astrid also began a social welfare program for secretaries to do charity work. She was influential in helping AmSoc set up our charity programs with children.


Great Start will be 50 years old! Its client list includes Mars, Uncle Ben’s Rice, Spencer Stuart, Data General, Kimberly Clark, Measurex (now Honeywell), Banco Union of Venezuela, Renault, Mastercard, Visa, Cargill, Bank of Boston, and TPFC, among many others.

"These are Astrid’s legacies — the people and companies she has helped grow to their full potential."

Robert Wong, former CEO of Korn Ferry and former client of Great Start states, “Astrid Rizzi has an excellent mix of strategic vision with operational pragmatism — a dynamic combination! She is truly a multicultural individual, who has a ‘work hard, play hard’ demeanor and has built a solid market ‘know-how’ coupled with a wide people ‘know-who’! These are Astrid’s legacies — the people and companies she has helped grow to their full potential.”

She has two sons, one is a gastro-surgeon and the other works in marketing. Her 6 grandchildren are all girls. Her hobbies include cooking foreign dishes and keeping up with world news. Her three wonderful dogs are her constant companions. She is still involved in mentoring and helping people get challenging jobs!

According to Astrid, her legacy is “the people I helped by placing in great jobs and changing their lives, and the companies to which I gave their first office in Brazil thereby giving them all a Great Start!”


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