Member News

The 2019 CAS Volunteer Awardees: In Their Own Words

About a third of the CAS membership volunteers every year. Of that group, the CAS honors those who were recognized by their volunteer peers for excellence. Some go above and beyond for a focused and finite project over the course of a year. Some are new to volunteering and to the CAS but have shown themselves to be outstanding leaders. Others are long-time volunteers who have devoted themselves throughout their careers to elevate and advance the actuarial profession. The following are 15 such exceptional CAS volunteers.

The New Members Awards

Recognizes volunteer contributions during an individual’s first five years from their most recent credential.

Laura Cremerius (FCAS 2015)

First volunteered in 2015.

Recognized for work with the University Engagement Committee.

“I really enjoy meeting and collaborating with CAS staff and fellow volunteers from around the country, and I appreciate the variety of ways to get involved with the organization. It’s easy to find volunteer roles that match your interests, development goals and capacity. It’s really exciting to see all of the resources that the University Engagement Committee has launched and improved over the years to help make actuarial science more accessible for university students. For example, when we host Student Programs, we get to bring students outside of the classroom and give them a glimpse of the real world of the actuarial profession for a day. I think this really boosts their understanding of the career and gives them an advantage as they enter the workforce. And these events really are a team effort; we rely on volunteers to serve as mentors, speakers and career panelists, who all contribute to making the day meaningful for the students.”

Melissa Huenefeldt (ACAS 2014)

First volunteered in 2014.

Recognized for work with the Professionalism Education Committee.

“When I took the Course on Professionalism as a pre-ACAS, I sat with one of the course facilitators (Marty Simons) at lunch. I told him that once I became credentialed, I was going to volunteer for the Professionalism Education Committee. I remember thinking how incredible it was that actuaries, with full-time jobs, took time out of their busy schedules to teach the candidates the importance of professionalism. This is my chance to give back to the organization that has played a large role in my career development. I get to help candidates take that big step in their path to becoming a credentialed actuary. I have met so many new people as a part of this committee, both fellow actuaries and actuarial candidates. I have facilitated courses with past CAS presidents. I have had candidates attend the course who, after becoming credentialed, join the committee. I feel like our committee is a great gateway volunteer opportunity, and we have many members who have been a part for many years.”

Sean Smith (FCAS 2014)

First volunteered in 2013.

Recognized for work with the Exam Committee.

“After completing exams, I was curious to learn more about how the exam process works and wanted to contribute towards improving it. I’ve continued to volunteer because of the great people I’m working with and the importance of admissions to the goals of the CAS. The amount of effort and coordination put into the exam process by hundreds of volunteers is incredible. It’s great to work with other Fellows who are passionate about making the exam process as fair as possible for current students.”

The Above and Beyond Achievement Awards

Recognizes short-term volunteer contributions during the previous year.

Eric Blancke (FCAS 2016)

First volunteered with the CAS in 2016.

Recognized for work with the NAIC educational requirements working group.

“I volunteer to give back to the actuarial community. Like all credentialed members and students, I spent my early career diligently studying. After finishing my exams, I wanted to be a voice for future Fellows to improve the admissions process. Despite being a relatively new volunteer, I find my voice is always heard openly and respectfully. I try to maintain the perspective of a student in everything I do. There are volunteers inside fighting to keep academic rigor high without sacrificing quality and fairness — I always try to be one of them!”

Christian Coleianne (FCAS 2004)

First volunteered in 2004.

Recognized for work on the University Engagement Committee.

Coleianne’s nominator wrote the following on his behalf: “The CAS University Award Program is well respected among the academic community, and much of this success can be attributed to having Chris as the program’s program leader. Chris is passionate about the vision of the program, which is to promote P&C education and to share ideas across schools so that more students gain exposure to property and casualty concepts and more programs are willing to hire P&C adjunct professors to ensure the concepts can be taught.”

Minchong Mao (FCAS 2007)

First volunteered in 2007.

Recognized for playing a central role in establishing the new CAS Institute (iCAS) credentials in catastrophe risk management.

“When iCAS decided to establish a certificate for catastrophe risk management, I felt this was a great opportunity to enhance CAS’s presence in catastrophe risk management and modeling. When we started, a lot of cat management expertise existed outside of CAS. Because I had been practicing in this field for over 15 years and had broad connections, I thought that I could help build a solid curriculum to benefit the industry and CAS members and help CAS recruit qualified volunteers to develop the curriculum. The CAS is a strong organization that largely depends on members’ volunteer work. As a member, I benefit from organization’s reputation and network. I want to give back to the Society whenever I can. This is a unique opportunity to start a big project, engage a lot of people within and outside of the CAS. I enjoy the experience to lead a big project, to start from scratch, to be able to overcome resource limitations and to balance the priorities of other volunteers. This experience makes me more effective at work. I really appreciate that iCAS gave me this opportunity.”

Sarah McNair-Grove (FCAS 2004)

First volunteered in 2005.

Recognized for work with the NAIC education requirements working group.

“Being an actuary has been fun and has provided me with many wonderful career opportunities. Volunteering for the CAS allows me to give back to the organization and lets me invest in the careers of other actuaries. I enjoy the satisfaction it brings with the feeling that I am a part of the CAS and that I am contributing to the organization.”

Scott Merkord (FCAS 2013)

First volunteered in 2013.

Recognized for work with the NAIC Task Force.

“I volunteer for the CAS to ensure a strong CAS for the future as I recognize this organization has provided so much to my career through a valuable credential. I really enjoy the relationships that I have built through volunteering such as laughing over group dinners and learning from peers. Through volunteering, I started to view the CAS as a community and have really enjoyed getting to know the CAS Staff who work really hard for the members.”

Christopher Monsour (FCAS 1999)

First volunteered in 2000.

Recognized for his work with the iCAS Certified Specialist in Predictive Analytics credential.

“I do volunteer work for the CAS in order to help the CAS enhance the actuarial profession and help it continue to keep up with developments, especially with respect to data science and machine learning. I enjoy volunteering because of the opportunity to network with other actuarial professionals whom I might not otherwise get to know; for example, the Professionalism Policy Review Council reviews proposed changes to the standards of practice, where I routinely collaborate with the regulatory actuaries and auditors in addition to the company and consulting actuaries, to ensure that we capture a diverse perspective. It also helps that the CAS staff is very supportive. What stands out to me most about volunteering is just how much there is to be done. Realizing we all have busy times in our lives when we can’t do much volunteering, I’d encourage those who are not at those busy times to volunteer. I’m also supportive of the CAS’s plans to add staff to get more work done. Volunteers should still play a critical role in my opinion, but my experience suggests there’s way more the CAS should be doing than it can do with the current model.”

Michael Speedling (FCAS 2005)

First volunteered in 2009.

Recognized for his work on the Professionalism Education Committee.

“I volunteer for the CAS because it makes me happy to do so. I have benefited from the actuarial community, and by volunteering, I get to give back while interacting with my friends, making new friends and trying new things. It also gives me a sense of accomplishment and allows me to share my experience with other actuaries. The best thing about volunteering is working and building lasting relationships with great, like-minded actuaries while accomplishing goals that benefit other actuaries. What really stands out? The people. They are great! They are engaged and willing to give their time to help out. They are the best.”

Chris Styrsky (FCAS 2004)

First volunteered in 2004.

Recognized for his work on the Exam Committee.

“I enjoy getting to know other Fellows that I would never meet if we weren’t volunteering on the same committee. It is a great opportunity to meet individuals within the CAS community, but outside of my discipline. It is impressive to see how many people are dedicated to committing their free time and give back to the organization.”

The Matthew Rodermund Memorial Service Award

Acknowledges CAS members who have made considerable volunteer contributions to the actuarial profession over the course of their careers.

Don Mango (FCAS 1994)

First volunteered with the CAS in 2001.

Through the years, Mango has served on multiple committees, been the chairperson for the Audit Committee, served on the Executive Council, and been a two-time member of the CAS Board of Directors.

“I have found my CAS volunteering efforts, from writing papers and presenting to committees to executive council to the board, to be among the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of my career. The beauty of the CAS is that it creates almost a seamless career experience, uniting your work world inside your employer with the broader profession and the industry as a whole.  [Volunteering provides you with a] chance to contribute and make a difference. The CAS culture of openness, sharing, collaboration and communication is the envy of many other professions. The volunteering platform we have gives members at any career level the opportunity to learn new skills, share knowledge and give back. The whole profession is a shared asset into which we all make contributions and from which we all draw resources and value. Volunteering is how you ‘make a deposit.’  [Volunteering] is  free career development — not easy to find these days. Look at the range of committees, presentations and publications. Find something that interests you, and chances are the CAS has the means to make it happen in the real world. “

Mary D. Miller (FCAS 1998)

First volunteered with the CAS in 1998.

Through the years, she has served on multiple committees, was a member of both the CAS Executive Council and Board of Directors; she is a past president of the American Academy of Actuaries.

Miller’s nominator wrote the following about her: “Mary D. Miller has been an FCAS for 21 years, following a number of years spent in teaching. She was the chief actuary at the Ohio Insurance Department and the chief financial examiner as well. She has also been an active actuarial volunteer and a friend and mentor to many within and outside the regulatory community. In addition to her activities with the CAS and AAA, she was an essential resource [within the NAIC] on the Casualty Actuarial Task Force and for several accounting working groups. Mary was busy enough at the Ohio Department to leave the NAIC activities to others, but she always seemed to have time and energy to help with any problem. She’s served our profession well in her various roles.”

John Purple (FCAS 1981)

First volunteered with the CAS in 1988.

Purple has served on many committees;  has chaired the Continuing Education, Ratemaking Seminar and Long-Range Planning Committees; and has served on the CAS Executive Council and Board of Directors.

“When I attained my Fellowship in 1981, I was working at Aetna Life & Casualty. The actuarial department management team was very supportive of the CAS, and new Fellows were expected (an unwritten part of our job description) to join a committee (usually an exam committee). It had taken me almost 10 years to get through the exams and I wanted no part of those committees, so I joined the Continuing Education Committee. I soon learned from the more senior actuaries on the committee the value of committee work and what volunteering meant to the overall success of the CAS. I quickly bought into the idea and have volunteered on a committee, board, council or task force every year since then. For the first half of my career I worked for a large company with many actuaries. Volunteering gave me the opportunity to interact with actuaries outside of my company, which broadened my perspective on issues of interest. I also made a number of friendships over the years that continue today. For me, professionalism education has become my area of interest for volunteering. I recognize the importance of our responsibility as professionals to our own self-regulation. After serving on the CAS Discipline Committee and then the Actuarial Board for Counseling and Discipline, I realized the importance of every actuary being aware of their responsibility to the well-being of our profession. This ongoing need to educate other actuaries on their responsibilities under the Code is what drives my current focus on volunteering.”

The President’s Award

This award recognizes one or more members who, in the opinion of the CAS president  have made significant contributions to the profession and the CAS. This award was created to recognize the work of current officers or past presidents who are ineligible for the Matthew Rodermund Memorial Service Award.

Patricia Teufel (FCAS 1979)

First volunteered with the CAS in 1979.

Teufel is a CAS past president and a dedicated CAS volunteer for over 40 years. She has shared her expertise on everything from the Audit Committee to the Employer Advisory Council. Having enjoyed a notable career as a leading principal at KPMG, she now continues to give back to the profession as a professor at the University of Connecticut. She is well-respected for her professionalism and integrity, and she is particularly passionate when imparting her knowledge to budding actuaries at the Course on Professionalism. Teufel is also president of the Seasoned Actuaries Section as well as Emeritus Trustee on the Actuarial Foundation Board of Trustees.

“Initially, volunteering for the CAS was my way of ‘paying it forward,’” said Teufel. “In addition to honing key business skills, I have been able to influence the direction and reach of the actuarial profession and the insurance industry. Volunteering is a perfect way to make a difference.”

Nominate CAS Members for Volunteer Awards

Do you know someone that you believe deserves to be recognized for a CAS Award?

Please visit the CAS website under the volunteer tab (, where you can find more information on award eligibility.

The nomination window will open in mid-May 2020, so look for that announcement! In the meantime, feel free to download the forms and fill them out at any time. Once the nomination window is open, we will accept your nomination form. We encourage nominations from any and all members. If you have any questions, email Mikey Bevarelli at