It has been almost two years since I was elected to the CAS leadership. As my term comes to an end, it is a good time to reflect upon what I have seen and learned during my time in office as president-elect and president.
When I was elected it had been about a decade since I had been actively involved in any CAS leadership role, having taken only occasional special project volunteer roles with the CAS in the interim. I soon discovered the CAS was certainly not the organization I had come to know so well from my previous terms as vice president-admissions and board director.
While many issues facing the CAS seemed to be timeless, there were also many new concerns. Perhaps the biggest change I saw in the CAS over that intervening decade was its sheer growth in size, both in membership count and geographic diversity. With every CAS meeting I continue to be impressed by the new Associates and Fellows — not only the number of those becoming members but also the enthusiasm and diversity of each new class. The CAS staff has also grown commensurately with the CAS membership, and the staff has added many skill sets to better serve our membership.
Upon joining the CAS leadership team as president-elect, I learned of two new and very exciting initiatives by the CAS: technology-based exams (TBE) and the CAS combination with the SOA, neither of which proved successful. Although the outcomes of these initiatives were difficult to take, the CAS leaders and I learned quite a lot.
For TBE, we’ve gone back to the drawing board and will be bringing a new version of TBE to candidates when we are completely satisfied that it will work smoothly for all involved. We hope to offer TBE in the future.
As for the combination, we learned that both organizations hold like values and do many things similarly. Each group also learned that the other has some great alternative practices.
We have soldiered on, and I believe that we are a better organization and that I am a better leader because of those challenges last year while I was president-elect.
My presidential year has been a time of recuperation and regeneration. I am happy to report that there have been a number of significant events this year as well.
With every CAS meeting I continue to be impressed by the new Associates and Fellows — not only the number of those becoming members but also the enthusiasm and diversity of each new class.
We expanded our staff, hiring two new staff actuaries. Ran Guo, FCAS, is our director of international relations, lives in China and has hit the ground running as our point person leading CAS initiatives in that part of the world. We also hired Wes Griffiths, FCAS, for the newly created position of admissions actuary. He is a long-time CAS volunteer and he will work out of his home in Minnesota and CAS headquarters in Virginia.
We completed our quinquennial membership survey, which, as usual, has given CAS leadership much to consider. Membership input is vital to developing and refining our strategies for growth.
We established board task forces that have been very busy on a number of CAS initiatives:
- Predictive analytics
- Education process review
- Strategic alliances criteria
- The CAS Institute expansion
- CAS staff/volunteer model evolution
- Diversity and inclusion joint efforts
Before my term as president ends, each of these task forces will have brought or will be bringing recommendations to the board to consider in the coming year.
And lastly, I want to thank and wish a fond farewell to our executive director, Cynthia Ziegler, who will leave the CAS at the end of this year. In her 18-year tenure, she has led the organization through tremendous growth. The search for a suitable new executive has been completed and Victor Carter-Bey joins the CAS on October 28 as our CEO. I am looking forward to working with him and seeing the new directions that our organization will take.
It has certainly been a tremendously exciting time to be CAS president. Thank you for putting your trust in me.