CCA Member Spotlight

Consulting actuaries don’t sit on the sidelines. We’re front and center – the movers and shakers – unafraid of using our powers of intellect and charm to advise and conquer. We are individuals with extraordinary stories to tell. This page will feature the stories of CCA members - who they are and what they do both inside and out of the actuarial world.

Margaret Sherwood

Meet CCA Member: Margaret Tiller Sherwood

Meet your fellow CCA member, Margaret Tiller Sherwood. Margaret is passionate about her pursuits, which include being a business owner, mother, traveler, volunteer, and much more - you'll have to read her spotlight to discover her many talents and interests. She's a past CCA president and appreciates the opportunity to have given back to the profession, the interaction with the various practice areas, the leadership opportunities and the friendships.

Name: Margaret Tiller Sherwood | Location: St. Louis, MO | Employer: Tiller Consulting Group, Inc. | Area of Practice: Casualty

In college, I saw a poster on the Mathematics Department bulletin board for the actuarial exams that listed a $1,000 prize for the highest scorer on Exam 1. I asked my favorite math professor what an actuary was. He said I didn’t want to know, that they were only interested in making money and started talking about another topic. I said “Wait! Go back!” He reluctantly explained what actuaries do. I looked into the actuarial profession and decided I wanted to explore this career.

See prior answer.

In no particular order: the opportunities to give back to the profession, the interaction of the various practice areas, the leadership opportunities, the business contacts, and the friendships.

I have a lot of fiction work completed and in process. I sold an article to Highlights for Children. I also have a literary agent.

I read the Wall Street Journal for business and general interest. My job involves so much serious work, I read a wide variety of fiction books for pleasure: historical fiction, romance, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and women’s fiction. I am a voracious reader, so there are too many authors I enjoy to name them all, but here are a few authors whose books occupy a lot on my bookshelf space: Louisa May Alcott, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robyn Carr, C. J. Cherryh, R. E. Delderfield, Raymond Feist, Ken Follet, Dorothy Benton Frank, Robert Jordan, Mercedes Lackey, Anne McCaffrey, James Michener, Andre Norton, Kathy Reichs, Luanne Rick, Susan Wiggs, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss…you see my problem. Right now I am working my way through Jilly Cooper’s Rutshire Chronicles and Julia Quinn’s novels.

Fred Kilbourne created a summer actuarial internship for me. That was my first job in the actuarial field. He also provided valuable advice early in my career. Woody Beckman, whom I met that summer, was very helpful then and when I was starting Tiller Consulting Group, Inc. Many others helped along the way by asking me to speak and be on committees and task forces. I also want to say that there were some actuaries actively working against me becoming a successful actuary early in my career (in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s). There also were some passively working against me. I decided that the best revenge is to be successful, which I think I have been and continue to be.

Raising four very interesting, accomplished, and successful children who make a positive contribution to the world.

There have been many and, hopefully, will be many more. But being the CCA President, while a lot of work, was very rewarding and fun. I could not have accomplished all I have done at the CCA without the wonderful staff.

I earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in Mathematics from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Science in Statistics from Stanford University.

I believe the purpose of life is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. This is based on writings by Leo Rosten but often is inaccurately attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Learn to communicate! My father told me many times while I was growing up that it did not matter how smart you were if you could not explain what you were thinking to everyone with whom you needed to communicate.

I think the actuarial profession restricts itself more than it should. We have the skill set to help with working with all types of data and managing risks in many areas: pandemics, banking, utilities, etc.

I think it is important to have skills other than “just” being an actuary. I have credentials and expertise in underwriting, risk management, and enterprise risk management. I also write a lot and speak frequently to hone my communication skills. My goal as a consulting actuary is to help my clients solve real world problems in practical ways.

Calculators, computers, and computer programs are tools that can help us do our jobs quicker and sometimes better. I am concerned that some of the younger actuaries may not have enough experience without these to know whether the results are correct or reasonable and do not know how to check the results independently. Long live the HP 11C!

I would be a full-time writer of fiction books, plays, and screenplays.

I seem to fill up any free time that appears. I do a lot of professional volunteer work. My primary non-work-related activities at the moment are reading for a few minutes before I turn out the light at night, cooking, attending plays, and traveling. I also play piano and do a wide variety of handcrafts, although I do not do nearly enough of either. I plan to get back to fiction writing soon and maybe back to performing (see below).

I can sing, dance, and act and have been an extra in movies, been nominated for a community theater award, and sung with a professional opera company.

It feels like home.

[Have a question for Margaret? Send the CCA an email at containing your contact information, and we’ll get the message to her on your behalf.]


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