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Senior vice president, middle market solutions
Crum & Forster Holdings Corp.
Nearly 20 years ago, Mahshameen Ahmad had two young children, an environmental science degree and a newspaper advertisement from an insurer seeking to hire environmental scientists.
That it was 10 minutes from home sums up how Ms. Ahmad wound up in the insurance industry: She wanted to be close to home, and she wanted to achieve what she now has: a work-life balance that enabled her to raise her children and climb the corporate ladder.
“To me, you can be a woman, you can be a mother and you can be the top leader of a business unit,” said Ms. Ahmad, who leads the middle market solutions division nationally for Crum & Forster Holdings Corp., heading up a team of more than 40 professionals with total revenue of just under $200 million.
Before that, she was with Zurich North America, where she led the tripling of middle market writings in the mid-Atlantic region for property/casualty business to $114 million, according to figures provided by Crum & Forster.
What adds up better for her, she said, is the math of combining a personal life with professional goals. It’s how she seeks to inspire others, she said.
“My 20-plus years in the industry have been self-paced by design, with the underlining quest to balance that personal and professional life,” she said. “For me, it was always a combination of having a balance of family life and exploring my true potential in work life.”
Today, her two sons are in college and she has an eighth-grade daughter at home.
“I honestly do feel the corporate world is not as brutal as we make it out to be” when it comes to balancing motherhood with career, she said. She tells women struggling with this that “You are not killing your ambition, you are just opting for balance.”
In her first year at Crum & Forster, Ms. Ahmad is highly recommended by the company leader. “In her time leading the division, she has enhanced the market presence, invigorated the sales function, attracted top talent and instituted sound underwriting procedures,” wrote Marc Adee, CEO in the Morristown, New Jersey, office for Crum & Forster.
The Business Insurance Women to Watch Award program is evolving as we continue to celebrate the achievements of outstanding female executives in the insurance and risk management sector.