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When Martha Bane left Ireland to move to the United States 26 years ago, she didn’t know exactly where she would end up professionally, but the insurance industry wasn’t on her list.
“Like many people, I kind of fell into the business and learned as I went,” Ms. Bane said. “What I’ve found to be reassuring is that this business supports immigrants and women, pretty much across the board.”
Ms. Bane has worked alongside other strong women leaders and professionals throughout her insurance career, both at Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. and Chubb Ltd. She was especially pleased that when Forbes released its list of America’s top employers for women in 2020 Gallagher was included.
As managing director of Gallagher’s property practice, she leads a team of 33 subject-matter experts, more than 60% of whom are women.
“Many members of my team, particularly the women, are faced with the dual challenges of maintaining a successful career while rearing children or taking care of family members,” Ms. Bane said. “I try to make sure that my team members are able to have flexible work schedules because it reduces stress and helps them to take care of others without sacrificing career growth. I think you can be successful without destroying your personal life, because there’s room for it all.”
It’s been a difficult year for everyone, but Ms. Bane, who has become a top leader in the real estate and hospitality sector, has been weathering the storm — and wildfires and floods and, of course, COVID-19.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many of her team members have grappled with working from home while juggling caregiving responsibilities. In response to the new remote work environment, Ms. Bane continues to seek out technology and communications solutions that will support continued mentorship and training.
“2020 has probably been the toughest year of my career. It’s been very challenging to deliver tough messages to my clients,” she said. “I’m hoping for more optimism for 2021.”