Mary Guzman – CEO and Founder of Crown Jewel Insurance


“I have grown up at the convergence of technology, finance, and insurance. All male dominated industries for sure. And until recently, I worked only for large professional service firms, which were completely male dominated in the leadership ranks (most still are). So I am thrilled to say that I finally found the confidence, at age 50, to start my own company!”




“In recognition of IWD, I thought I would pay forward some of the key strategies that have helped me in my journey so far:”

“Don’t be afraid to a) compete and b) have your voice heard. Ask for challenging work and embrace it. Some people, even other women, will not appreciate your gumption. Ignore them. You have other friends.”

“Find the courage to go where others fear to tread. It has served me well to take the road less traveled and in fact, some of my greatest jump points (where I leapfrogged ahead) were when I passed up something everyone else wanted to do to try something newer, riskier.”

“In my case, that meant identifying emerging risks for which there were few/no solutions (cyber, media, tech, intellectual property), then working to develop innovative risk management and insurance solutions to them. I sought out speaking engagements, published articles, became a bit of a “go-to” in my field. Being a generalist is easier, but it makes it much harder to make a difference and get noticed. Besides…it is much more exciting!”

“Be authentic. Be a serious career person but also a woman who is a proud mom, wife, sibling, friend, and/or other important roles without feeling ashamed to let those take centre stage sometimes. Let your colleagues, clients, and other important relationships know the real you; warts and all. They are real people too, and so your connection and trust will be stronger for it.”

“Admit when you are out over your skis. If you are not sure of the correct answer, bring in someone who is (a great opportunity to lift up another woman?) or tell the client/boss that you will work to find (or develop) a solution. Giving advice you are not equipped to give erodes your credibility and relationships much faster than saying “I don’t know”. And don’t be afraid to fail. That is how we learn!”

“Finally, teach others what you have learned and when it’s time, demand a seat at the table. There is plenty of room. Go for it!”