I am humbled and honored to serve as president of the CAS. It’s a great time to be an actuary and working in the P&C field. Our profession is innovating and developing new approaches and solutions that will benefit the insurance industry as well as society. I feel fortunate to be able to continue my service to the CAS at such an important and exciting time.
The CAS, like any organization, may have issues it faces, but we are well-positioned for a very bright future. We can ensure that bright future by promoting effective communication; diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I); and the essential skills identified in the CAS Strategic Plan as vital for the actuary of tomorrow: analytics, problem solving and domain knowledge. The advancement of those three issues will be the goal of my service as president.
As I indicated last summer when I made the decision to accept the nomination for CAS president-elect, my focus during my time in leadership will be on three things. First, I will work to continue to increase transparency and communication between the CAS Board of Directors and the membership. Significant strides have been made in this direction, including improved access to board meetings and minutes, and I look forward to continuing to strengthen the connection between the CAS leadership and our members.
Second, I am excited about the opportunity to continue moving the CAS Strategic Plan forward. As Kathy Antonello indicated in her most recent President’s Message in the Actuarial Review, the board met at our retreat this past August and reaffirmed our commitment to the envisioned future outlined in that plan. The first pillar of our strategic plan is focused on building skills for the future, and as we continue to build those skills, we need to boldly and frequently communicate the value that actuaries bring to those current and potential users of our services. This will ensure that actuaries continue to be sought after for our ability to apply analytics to solve key business problems.
Firsts are important because they are a signal that change is happening; but we cannot stop at firsts.
To demonstrate how actuaries solve business problems, we are working on a speaker series to highlight examples of actuaries who are doing just that — solving problems that may not be traditionally thought of as within the actuarial sphere. Stay tuned for more details.
The third pillar of our strategic plan is focused on international growth, and this will be a big part of telling our story broadly, as the opportunity to influence general insurance around the world is great. I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in Singapore last October at the Singapore Actuarial Society meeting. While I was there, I had the chance to spend time with our members, regulators and universities, and I am convinced now more than ever that we have a significant opportunity to impact the general insurance actuarial practice around the world.
Third, I commit to advancing DE&I both within the CAS and the actuarial profession more broadly. Diversifying our pipeline stands solidly as the second pillar of our strategic plan, and as we are successful in advancing this effort, all of us who are part of this great organization will benefit. While I realize that this has been a point where everyone has not necessarily seen eye to eye, I believe that by cutting through misunderstanding and misconceptions about what DE&I truly is, we can focus on the things that I believe many of us agree with.
To me, leadership is a position of service.
The CAS was founded in 1914. Ruth Salzmann became the first woman to be president of CAS in 1978. Ollie Sherman became the first Black FCAS in 1984, 70 years after the CAS was founded. Linda Shepherd became the first Black woman to attain her FCAS in 1988. Recently, my friend John Robinson, FSA, became the first Black president of the Society of Actuaries. I will be the first Black person to serve as the president of this great organization, which is a truly humbling honor. Firsts are important because they are a signal that change is happening; but we cannot stop at firsts. If you think back to many of these and other firsts, we have reached the point for some of them where we have lost count. I don’t know how many Black members we have now. And at some point in the future, as many of you stand in the role of leadership, I hope that for even the highest level of CAS leadership, we reach a point where we truly have lost count. Dare I dream for a day when the need to count is no more?
It is through faith in God, the dedication, love and encouragement of my beautiful wife, who is truly my rock and my support, the unwavering support of all the people at Pinnacle, and the support of all of you that I even feel able to serve in this role. One of my favorite pictures of leadership is from the Bible, when Jesus, who led his disciples for three years, got down on his knees and washed all their feet. He underscored his definition of leadership when he said, “The greatest among you will be your servant.”
To me, leadership is a position of service, and I commit to serving the CAS, its members and, ultimately, the constituents we serve faithfully during my term. Thank you.