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The 2021 CAS Volunteer Awardees: In Their Own Words

About one third of the CAS membership volunteers every year. Some of these volunteers 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.

Based on nominations from their peers, the CAS honored 13 exceptional volunteers during last year’s Annual Meeting. With National Volunteer Work happening on April 17-23, we thought it was the perfect time to honor these volunteers by giving them an opportunity to speak out on their experiences volunteering with the CAS — why they do it, what they enjoy most about it and what means the most to them.

The New Member Awards

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

Gloria Asare (FCAS 2021)

Recognized for her work with the International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA).

“Since a young age, I have always enjoyed volunteer work. Not only is it an impactful way to give back, but it is also an opportunity to learn something new and is an easy way to meet and get to know new people. I decided to start volunteering with the International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA) specifically after attending my first ever Annual Meeting in 2018. The warmth, energy, vulnerability and openheartedness of fellow attendees caught me right away. Being surrounded by fellow aspiring actuaries that looked like me, who shared stories of similar struggles, while there purely to support each other, had me think right away of wanting to expand the IABA’s reach to Canada. I started the Toronto affiliate six months later and continue to have the privilege of serving as a co-leader in addition to having the role of Friend of the Board. With Black actuaries making up less than 2% of fully credentialed actuaries across North America, hearing the direct feedback of how the Toronto affiliate and the larger IABA organization has touched numerous individuals and supported them in their goal to become successful actuaries is immensely rewarding. Many actuarial organizations have a great need for volunteers and everyone has skills that could benefit them. If you’re not already, please consider contributing in any way — big or small.”

Sara Chen (FCAS 2021)

Recognized for her work with the Microlearning Task Force.

“What I enjoy the most about volunteering is the sense of community and the passion that the volunteers and CAS staff bring. When I started volunteering, it was earlier in my actuarial career, and I was uncertain of how much I could contribute. But the volunteer groups that I joined were all very welcoming and supportive, and I was able to contribute in more ways than I initially imagined. One of the aspects that makes volunteering for the CAS unique is the many opportunities that span a variety of interests and time commitments, so I was able to find the opportunities that suited my schedule and skillsets. I’ve met so many amazing people through volunteering that I wouldn’t have been able to meet otherwise, and I love being able to work with them to continue to push the organization and the P&C actuarial field forward.”

Kenneth S. Hsu (FCAS 2021)

Recognized for his work with the Professionalism Education Committee.

“My first ever CAS-sponsored event was the Course on Professionalism in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a few years ago. I was extremely impressed by the selflessness of all the volunteers, and I knew I wanted to give back to the community when I could. Since then, I have participated on a few committees to work on various projects. The best thing about volunteering is you get to meet and work with people outside of your company. It is one of the easiest ways to expand your knowledge and network. Through volunteering, I also learned how to communicate better and work on skills that I couldn’t get on the job, such as project management and professional writing — skills that I always wanted to develop. Still not convinced that you should volunteer? Another benefit of being a volunteer is that you get all the inside scoops early! A benefit to help you schedule your travel plans ahead!”

Erin Lachen (FCAS 2017)

Recognized for her work with the Syllabus and Examination Committee.

“As with most candidates trekking through the exam process, I was determined to spend some time on the other side of the exams to give back. I was glad to find a volunteer role that aligns well with my expertise and my passion. I love meeting up with like-minded folks twice a year to work through the exam-writing and grading process. I always find myself reenergized and excited about my job and the profession afterward.”

Allison Newhouse (FCAS 2017)

Recognized for her work with the CAS Student Central Summer Program and University Engagement Committee.

“Volunteering on the University Engagement Committee has been a fun way to work with actuaries across the industry and have an impact on university students, professors and curriculums to build awareness of the actuarial profession and showcase the career opportunities available as a CAS actuary. Our working group has a lot of fun putting together programming and networking opportunities for students throughout the year. The CAS Student Central Summer Program was such a hit in its first year — it was a great challenge for us to continue the tradition and make the program even better in its second year. The elements of volunteering I enjoy the most are brainstorming and executing new creative ways to engage students and working with a group of volunteers and CAS staff that are equally as passionate about teaching students about the actuarial profession.”

Above and Beyond Achievement Award

Recognizes outstanding volunteer contributions during the previous year.

Patrick Ford, FCAS

Recognized for his work with the Syllabus and Examination Committee.

“Since finding value in the credentialing process and the community events, I feel it’s only right to give back to the organization that has provided that value. I enjoy playing a small part in shaping future actuaries that will go on to lead the profession. I also enjoy networking and getting to share ideas with actuaries outside of my sphere. Honestly, the one thing that stands out is how critical it is to the ecosystem. Without sustainable levels of volunteering, becoming and being an actuary would be a lot more expensive and thus a lot less inclusive.”

Patricia Hladun, FCAS

Recognized for her work with the Syllabus and Examination Committee.

“After qualifying as an FCAS in 2002, I received a call from [a Syllabus and Examination Committee member to volunteer as a subject matter expert]. Even though I worked in financial reporting, I didn’t consider myself an ‘expert’ and was a bit hesitant. However, I decided to help out. Since then, I have volunteered for the CAS almost exclusively for the Examination Committee and have held many committee roles including … question writer, grader, consultant and syllabus liaison. As someone who has mostly worked in organizations with very small numbers of credentialed P&C actuaries, volunteering has provided me with a network of contacts to lean on (the “call-a-friend” option) and, as a plus, the work has been a lot of fun! I really enjoy meeting people, both professionally and personally, from around the industry. Volunteering can give you a broader view of the industry, particularly if you work in a small organization or in a narrow role. I also volunteer for the Canadian Institute of Actuaries on a P&C financial reporting committee and can say that I am continually learning from my volunteer roles.

Shengli Huang, FCAS

Recognized for her work with the Syllabus and Examination Committee.

“Volunteering helps me get experience in the areas that I am interested in or want to develop further. It provides opportunities to learn and to practice important work and life skills such as communication, organization and teamwork. Volunteering connects me to others. Dedicating my time volunteering is a great way to meet new people, expand my network and boost social skills. Doing good for others and the community provides a natural sense of accomplishment. I have found that volunteering increases self-confidence as I continuously meet and learn from different people. It also made me feel that I am making an impact.”

Stephanie Gould Rabin, ACAS

Recognized for her work with the Reinsurance Seminar Committee, Annual and Spring Meeting Planning Committees and Learning Enhancement Process.

“Without our volunteers, the CAS would not be the professional organization we need it to be: one that provides professional certification, intense knowledge, and depth of content to drive our actuarial expertise forward. For event planning, the content is best served coming from people who live and breathe the insurance industry. And, from me specifically — Much like our program of exams themselves, I feel it is important to bring the wealth of knowledge of the insurance industry to the table. By bringing in information from outside our “box” of actuarial knowledge, we can actually expand that box and become more innovative, relevant and forward thinking. I enjoy being able to use my own expertise to fill in for potential gaps that help the CAS. I’m currently an actuary working outside the actuarial track in a corporate strategic role with responsibilities across a wide range of functionalities. So, I love that I can share some of my own experiences — even in some small ways — with volunteering. It gives all of my hard work more meaning. And let’s face it … actuaries rock! My work with Learning Enhancement (Brain Rules and More!), the Insurance On-Demand Working Party and CARe have also given back to me both personally and professionally. I reference this work with clients and colleagues all the time in support of what I do. So, how can you not enjoy volunteering? When I transitioned away from a pure actuarial role and became credentialed as an industrial organizational psychologist, I never thought the two would meet! The CAS has been incredibly fashion-forward in hiring a learning specialist to enhance people’s experience at our meetings. And while I like to think of myself as an experienced presenter who has expertise in people’s motivation, leadership and learning, I still learned more! And so, the Learning Enhancement Program (LEP) at our meetings is such a great step for the CAS. As a coach of our LEP mentors, I love that I can keep searching for more and better ways to get the message and learning out there. It is an ever-changing process that is incredibly fulfilling. I only wish I could spend more time, but the day job calls me back!”

Lisa Yeung, FCAS

Recognized for her work with the Syllabus and Examination Committee.

“Volunteering for the CAS gives me the opportunity to meet new people outside of work. Also, this is a great opportunity to meet the new generations. You will get to see the future of this actuarial community. Meeting new people is what I enjoy the most. Also, the feeling of accomplishment is what keeps me going as well.”

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

Rick Gorvett, FCAS

Recognized for over 30 years of volunteerism.

“Helping to enhance one’s profession is important to me, and so it’s always been very satisfying to volunteer for the CAS — our professional society. As an academic, I’m helping to prepare the next generation or two of actuaries, and I’d like them to experience the same kind of up-to-date, dynamic professional society and environment as I was fortunate enough to experience throughout my career. In addition to the satisfaction of helping the Society and profession, volunteering has most certainly helped me to become a better actuary, colleague and person. The opportunities to work with intelligent people on important and relevant issues have been a huge factor in the development and enjoyment of my actuarial career. Meeting, working with, and getting to know some incredible colleagues — both members and staff of the CAS — has always been the aspect of volunteering that stands out for me. The consistently high level of professionalism, energy and dedication of CAS volunteers and staff is something for which I am truly thankful.”

Leslie Marlo, FCAS

Recognized for over 24 years of volunteerism.

The CAS has been instrumental to me in furthering my career aspirations. I would not be where I am today without the CAS, so it seemed only appropriate to give back to the organization — and there are so many ways to give back. After receiving my Fellowship, I started my volunteerism on the Exam Committee — as have so many volunteers over the years — but I quickly realized my interests lie elsewhere. That was not a problem, since there are so many ways to be involved and help out in areas that are meaningful to each individual. I get fulfillment from the sense of accomplishment and productivity that comes from a job well done, all the more so when knowing that volunteerism directly helps our profession and our actuarial community. It is gratifying to see what can be done when combining our expertise and skill sets as actuaries with the expertise and skill sets of the CAS staff. Another very significant component of volunteering from my perspective is the opportunity to meet and interact with professionals — both CAS staff and other actuaries — that I would never otherwise have had the opportunity to meet. I have made multiple life-long friends through volunteering over the years.

Robert F. Wolf, FCAS

Recognized for over 28 years of volunteerism.

Early in my career, I was so intrigued about how special an institution the CAS is in its dedication to its high standards of practice. This propelled me to contribute to help maintain these high standards of practice. Time and time again, our profession has been praised and respected as trusted advisors. It is this very bedrock that sets the CAS apart and that continues to determine who we are and evolve to be. It is the endless chain of volunteers stemming from mentors to candidates, who then become mentors to the next set of candidates, and so on, that serve as the “essence” of the CAS. I am humbled to achieve the Matthew Rodermund Award in recognition of my contribution to this wonderful, endless chain of volunteers. What I enjoy most about volunteering is experiencing the fact that, while I have extreme passion to give back to the profession as my mentors have given to me, I receive more than I give.

Whether it is in writing and grading exam questions, speaking and debating topics at our meetings and seminars, writing articles, being elected and serving on the CAS Board of Directors, or serving other various committees, the one thing that stands out for me is realizing the blessing of all the friendships I have made with other volunteers serving with common dedication and passion along with the wonderful, equally passionate dedicated CAS staff. It is in these relationships that make the CAS, the CAS.

Nominate CAS Members for Volunteer Awards

Please visit the CAS website under the volunteer tab (https://www.casact.org/awards-prizes-scholarships), where you can find more information on award eligibility.

The nomination window will open in mid-May 2022, 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 mbevarelli@casact.org.