Each year more than a third of CAS members participate as volunteers. Some of them have gone “above and beyond” for a focused and finite project over the course of a year. Some are new to volunteering and the CAS but have exhibited outstanding leadership. Others are long-time volunteers who have devoted their time and energy throughout their careers to elevating and advancing the actuarial profession. The CAS honored eight such exceptional CAS volunteers at an awards luncheon on November 16 during the 2015 CAS Annual Meeting at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown.
The Above and Beyond Achievement Award
The Above and Beyond Achievement Award (ABAA) recognizes short-term volunteer contributions during the previous year.
Paul Brehm (FCAS 1989), a University of Minnesota alum, was awarded a 2015 ABAA for his work in university engagement. After a University of Minnesota professor approached him with an idea to create and teach a case study for actuarial science students, Brehm not only wrote the material but recruited three actuaries to help with the presentations and provided dinner for the students. Brehm also made himself available outside of the classroom, which gave the students a glimpse of the types of projects a property-casualty actuary might work on. Brehm enjoys giving back to the school and teaching about P&C insurance, particularly because many actuarial programs are focused on life and health actuarial practice, “I feel like I can bring a real-world flavor to the course,” Brehm said.
Emilee Kuhn (FCAS 2010) received a 2015 ABAA for her efforts on the Committee on Professionalism Education (COPE) leading a subgroup that came up with new ways to present continuing professionalism education material. The COPE subgroup revamped games such as Jeopardy! and Family Feud into audience-participation sessions that have been immensely popular with the CAS members. “The best part is when people come up to you and tell you how much they enjoyed the presentation,” Kuhn said. “I love that!” Kuhn also led the formation of a library of professionalism continuing education resources that includes up-to-date copies of presentations. The materials are available to all committee members and can be used for professionalism sessions at CAS or Regional Affiliate meeting. “I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of really great people throughout the CAS,” said Kuhn. “I now consider them friends.”
For ABAA recipient Michael R. Larsen (FCAS 1982), the most satisfying result of working on the Examination Committee is shaping the future for the next generation of actuaries. He has served Exams continuously for the last 12 years and 20 years out of the last 30. Larsen anticipated the trend of exams covering more statistics and was instrumental in creating the S1 and S2 syllabus for Exam S, which one of his nominators described as “one of the most important changes to the CAS education system in decades.” Volunteering also keeps Larsen learning new things. “I find that writing questions causes me to look at material I have seen before in a new way and helps me in a professional sense,” said Larsen.
Elizabeth Merritt (FCAS 2010) was awarded an ABAA for her work leading the CAS Student Central working group. Student Central is a new membership program for university students and part of the CAS strategic initiative of university engagement. Merritt has brought energy and structure to the group, organizing members and students to better the Student Central website. Leading by example, she has recruited volunteers for web content and inspires others with her hard work. I have always found great satisfaction in volunteering,” said Merritt. Along with her work with students, Merritt is an officer for the Midwestern Actuarial Forum, a CAS Regional Affiliate, and serves on the Examination Committee. “In each of these cases,” she said, “I have expanded my network, met some wonderful people and made connections that will last throughout my career.”
“The candidates and new members are the life-blood of our society.” — Virginia Prevosto
The New Members Award
The New Members Award (NMA) recognizes volunteer contributions during an individual’s first five years from their most recent credential.
Jennifer Balester (FCAS 2012) received an NMA for her work on the Examination Committee, which she joined the first sitting after her Fellowship. Balester’s dedication to CAS admissions was soon recognized, and she became the Exam 5 writing vice chair after only one year. Balester’s nominator wrote, “She has a positive attitude that is contagious, and her work and contributions are always at a high caliber.” In addition to her role as vice chair, she has continued to write and grade questions. “I love to see the passion that everyone brings to the Exam Committee,” she said. “Everyone from the newest Fellow to the 20+ year committee veteran strives to ensure that we are providing a high quality educational experience to students.”
In his relatively short time with the CAS, Dan Tevet (FCAS 2011) has proven himself an exemplary volunteer. His NMA primarily recognizes his work on the Candidate Liaison Committee (CLC), where he has served as a candidate representative, committee member and now chairperson, and has contributed numerous Future Fellows’ articles. His other volunteering activities include presenting at meetings and online webinars, and serving on the Member Advisory Panel Committee, the Committee on Professionalism Education, and the Examination and Syllabus Committees. Tevet volunteers because he wants the actuarial profession to be valued and respected into the future. “We need to ensure that the CAS continues to train and credential high-quality professionals with the necessary skills to do good work,” said Tevet.
The Matthew Rodermund Memorial Service Award
The Matthew Rodermund Memorial Service Award annually acknowledges CAS members who have made considerable volunteer contributions to the actuarial profession over the course of their career.
As a CAS volunteer leader, Virginia Prevosto (FCAS 1982) has used her experience to make tough decisions. She began serving on the Examination Committee in 1984 and then branched out to other committees and task forces revolving around basic education and admissions. “I soon realized how important and critical these areas are to the CAS,” said Prevosto. Her service has included terms on the Syllabus Committee, the Candidate Liaison Committee (a term as chair), and the Committee on Management Data and Information (a term as chair). But in 2012, while serving as the CAS vice president-admissions, Prevosto faced one of her toughest challenges when the United States’ Mid-Atlantic coast was hit by Hurricane Sandy, coinciding with the CAS fall examination sitting. She led the CAS staff and the Examination Committee to ensure that all test takers affected by the hurricane were able to attend an exam siting. “The candidates and new members are the life-blood of our society,” said Prevosto. Her commitment to CAS exams has benefited test takers all over the world.
Like many CAS volunteers, Sheldon Rosenberg (FCAS 1976) got his start on the Examination Committee. This led to years of diverse volunteer service to the CAS with many leadership roles, including chair of the Actuarial Review Editorial Board and the Ratemaking Seminar, Continuing Education and Audit Committees. He also served on the Discipline Committee and the CAS Board of Directors, and as vice president-administration. A recognized leader known for his sense of fairness, Rosenberg was chosen to head up the Task Force on Classes of Membership, which dealt with complex organizational issues. Sheldon Rosenberg and his lifetime of service illustrate the path many heralded volunteers have taken to accomplish a variety of CAS initiatives.
Congratulations to all of our 2015 volunteerism award winners!