Be a Leader

Expanding your leadership skills with the SOA’s Leadership & Development Section Kelly Hennigan & Mitch Stephenson

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) has a wide array of professional interest sections, many of which are focused on specific business practice areas. The Leadership & Development (L&D) Section is unique in that it is one of the few SOA sections applicable to all actuaries—regardless of their career trajectory.

The L&D Section is a forum for the exchange of innovative ideas, as well as a resource for current business skills and development opportunities. The mission of the L&D Section within the SOA is to promote and facilitate leadership, business and personal skills development for section members and affiliates, and for the current and future members of the SOA.

The key objectives of this section are to:

  • Provide tools to facilitate personal career development.
  • Provide results-oriented skills and knowledge for current and developing managers.
  • Bridge from technical knowledge to decision-making and implementation.
  • Develop educational opportunities and provide resources for all actuaries who strive to become more effective leaders within their business organizations.
  • Offer opportunities to network, enhance management practices and experience professional feedback.

Section members have access to printed issues of the L&D Section newsletter, The Stepping Stone, the e-newsletter LeaD, the getAbstract library (offering summaries of business books), discounts on section networking events, L&D podcasts and webinars, and L&D’s LinkedIn group.

Over the last few years, the L&D Section has continued to evolve. One of the most visible changes was the 2015 name change—from Management & Personal Development (MPD) to Leadership & Development (L&D). This was an outcome of listening to our members and taking into account survey feedback.

Section leaders participated in a face-to-face meeting in 2016, which enabled the group to level-set on priority initiatives and resources—specifically with a focus on The Stepping Stone, meeting speakers and networking opportunities for section members.

Members can expect to see continued transformative efforts with The Stepping Stone in the form of shorter, “blog-style” articles, and the piloting of an e-newsletter communication containing current events and resources.


Join the SOA’s Leadership & Development (L&D) Section. As a member, you’ll receive numerous benefits, including:

  • Printed issues of The Stepping Stone and receipt of the LeaD e-newsletter
  • getAbstract’s library, offering summaries of business books
  • Discounts on section networking events
  • L&D podcasts and webinars
  • L&D’s LinkedIn group

Visit for more information.

The SOA has 20 sections dedicated to bringing their members important and relevant information about their area of interest through a variety of channels. Members of the SOA and fellow industry professionals can join one or more sections.

Visit to join.

The section will continue to engage quality speakers at SOA meetings and symposiums. Nonactuarial speakers—such as executive coaches, career consultants and social media experts—along with actuarial-related leadership panel sessions, have received positive feedback and counterbalance the technical topics typically offered at SOA meetings.

The section will continue to facilitate and offer a variety of networking opportunities for actuaries. In addition to the popular Women’s Leadership Forum and Luncheon at the SOA Annual Meeting & Exhibit, the L&D Section Council offered a “Breakfast with Senior Leaders,” held at the 2016 SOA Annual Meeting & Exhibit in October, where each breakfast table was hosted by an experienced actuary who has been in a senior leadership, senior management or C-suite role.

Section members can expect to see the L&D Section offer a variety of different resources. For example, in 2014, the section began recording podcasts. Now, there are 10 available on the SOA’s website and iTunes, and more will be added in the future. Also, the L&D Section offers regular webinars with a variety of speakers and topics. In 2016, one of our webinars attracted more than 600 participants!

It’s an exciting time for the L&D Section and the actuarial field. We continue to grow and adapt, while remaining responsive and relevant. We invite you to join the L&D Section! If you are interested in learning more, please visit

Kelly Hennigan, FSA, CFA, was the 2015–2016 chairperson of the Leadership & Development Section Council.
Mitch Stephenson, FSA, MAAA, is a member of the Leadership & Development Section Council.