Actuarial Adventures in Social Media

Q&A with Vy Le, MBA, CFA, FCIA, FSA, CERA, Canadian actuary, influencer and YouTube personality Mavis Shang and Valérie Adelson



Vy Le, MBA, CFA, FCIA, FSA, CERA, is an actuary first and a learner always. As an influencer and YouTube personality, she’s also, in her words, a “creativepreneur,” having initiated and nurtured her social media path to becoming a well-rounded actuary and leader. She welcomes others to join her on a journey to “study smarter, work better and live happier.”

Here, she answers questions you may have, whether you’re starting your own social media-enhanced career journey or looking for actuarial inspiration on your path to becoming a creativepreneur.

What triggered your attempt to link actuarial practice with social media?

For me, having a colorful life increases my chances of feeling satisfied. It’s like the concept of not putting all your eggs in one basket. Thus, I always have many things going on—full-time work, part-time wedding and portrait photography, volunteering, studying (currently seeking a second master’s degree  in computer science/IT) and so on. During the pandemic, I gained more time by working from home and doing everything online; the photography business also slowed significantly because weddings were rescheduled or canceled. Since I had more free time, I wanted to try new ventures. I thought about blogging and social media, as I wanted to share my knowledge in studying and working—now that I have more wisdom.

I started blogging initially but was not a writer, so that idea failed after a few months. Then one quiet night, when I was by myself, I decided to make a video in Vietnamese about what an actuary is since the actuarial profession is not well known in Vietnam. And that’s how I started my YouTube channel, talking about the actuarial profession. I did more videos at the beginning in Vietnamese (with English subtitles) about actuarial work. As I shared my content on LinkedIn and talked to more people, I saw a growing demand to learn about the actuarial profession in many emerging markets in Asia, like Vietnam and Malaysia. So, I switched to making more videos in English and started to interview various actuarial professionals globally. Even in developed markets like Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, people interested in the actuarial profession may not know what we do, especially in the nontraditional areas. Therefore, I want to raise awareness of different fields and areas we can work in, for both aspiring and current actuaries. And not just the actuarial profession—I want to promote career planning related to math, so the younger generation can make an informed choice on which paths to pursue.

How does social media enable actuarial practice?

Social media allows one to connect with a broad audience that you may not have had an opportunity to reach previously. There are many platforms like YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok where you can reach different groups. I think it’s a great way to spread knowledge about the actuarial profession so people can learn more about this career path. There is still little content about the actuarial profession on social media compared to other careers like data science and computer science.

In addition, it’s a good way to reach people within the actuarial community. For my channel, I create content for various levels of viewers—from basic knowledge like “Actuary 101,” which can help parents and students learn more about this profession, to videos interviewing executives sharing their career paths, which can benefit working actuaries. I recently helped the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) by creating short videos interviewing board of director candidates, spreading the word about elections and encouraging voting. I see an opportunity for actuarial organizations to be creative in their communication, content and channels when reaching their members.

A good product also needs a good marketing plan to be successful. Many of us volunteer to create content (webcasts, conference coverage, articles, etc.) to support the actuarial community. So, we need to do our best to market and spread this good content and reach more people.

Furthermore, social media is a great way to network and connect with people. I’m fortunate to meet many awesome individuals and reconnect with old acquaintances who support my work and become guest speakers on my channel. Also, it’s a great opportunity for me to practice communication skills and public speaking. They say practice makes progress!

What are the main challenges?

To be honest, it is a lot of work to create content and maintain the YouTube channel consistently. Basically, one needs to be a writer, presenter, recorder, editor, administrator, marketer and more. In the beginning, it took me about 15–20 hours to create a 10–15-minute video. The first few months were tough as I tried to learn the software and keep up with my weekly schedule. I wanted to approach this like a “business,” where I identified the channel’s objective, target audience and branding. I’m not suggesting other people do the same, but I believe there’s always a “cost of doing business,” and one needs to evaluate if what they’re doing is worthy. So, I want to evaluate from time to time whether my channel is adding value as I (and my guests who volunteer to be featured on the channel) can always volunteer in other ways to give back to the community. I have to say, I have reached a happy medium where I am more efficient in creating content and not pressured to keep things up.

What is your expectation about the future with actuarial topics on social media?

It will continue to be broader in scope, ranging from technical knowledge and skill sets to career paths. From a LinkedIn post or a short reel to a complete YouTube channel, it’s getting easier for people to create content. I think there will be more people creating content on social media, which is great, as no one is an expert on everything. Sharing is caring!

Any final words of wisdom you want to share with other actuaries who might want to try out social media?

Just get started. You can try out different platforms to see what appeals to you (e.g., blog, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn). Like many things, it’s best to experience it to know whether or not you like it. Regardless of the results, I believe it will be a great learning opportunity. We know social media is not going away. Knowing how to use it (to your advantage) will be a great skill.

Vy Le, MBA, CFA, FCIA, FSA, CERA, is director of Canada Financial Risk Management for Canada Life and “creativepreneur” of the website and YouTube channel V Life Journal.
Mavis Shang, FSA, FCIA, is a contributing editor for The Actuary Canada.
Valérie Adelson, FSA, FCIA, is a contributing editor for The Actuary Canada.

Statements of fact and opinions expressed herein are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Society of Actuaries or the respective authors’ employers.

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