Volunteer With SOA Education

Expert tips for beginning your journey Stella-Ann Ménard
Stella-Ann Ménard, FSA, FCIA

Photo: iStock.com/SvetaZi

As you begin (or consider) volunteering with Society of Actuaries (SOA) Education, you may have questions. As a long-time SOA Education volunteer and past general chairperson of SOA Education, perhaps I have answers that will help.

My volunteer journey began in 1993. I had just obtained my FSA when I got a call from SOA volunteer Bruno Gagnon, FCIA, asking if I wanted to get involved in SOA Education. It’s been an incredible journey of learning, support and networking since. I hope your volunteer journey is just as rewarding.

What would it mean for me to volunteer?

I could be a member of a team dedicated to writing and marking SOA exams. I also could network with actuaries from different backgrounds and experiences and other regions and countries. I would see different parts of the SOA Education system and make it happen. For example, while volunteering, I would travel to different cities in Canada and the United States for meetings. Volunteering had always been a part of my life, so I agreed.

Learn More

For details about current volunteer opportunities, visit the Volunteer Opportunities section on SOA Engage.

What did I find out about volunteering initially?

First, I found in my recruiter a coach who was invested, professional and ready to spend time sharing his education experience and knowledge. I also found a dedicated group of actuaries working together with a common goal of accomplishing the task at hand. The committee’s executive members had a strong communication channel with the SOA Education staff to ensure the finished product was adhering to the SOA Education examination standards. The volunteers did not hesitate to act as subject-matter experts in their field of work and share their technical or other knowledge. It was understood that high-quality work comes with a great deal of effort, discussion, debate and challenge. Every time the group would meet, the feeling was as if we had just seen each other the day before, and we would continue to work as if we had always worked together.

What benefits does volunteering bring?

The most interesting aspects of this endeavor are of a different nature. For example, the first privilege was to work with subject-matter experts who were highly regarded and respected in the industry and learn from them. This could be from a technical and leadership point of view. It was rewarding to see a group of volunteers with similar interests working together efficiently while having fun. The members had specific roles and would not hesitate to help their colleagues when needed. Over the years, SOA Education volunteers have shown they can adapt to change quickly. The adjustments that were put in place during the pandemic are a great example.

A member volunteer can gain experience and look for opportunities to grow in their role and take on different responsibilities. The possibilities are diverse, allowing a member to become an expert in their role or a leader within the exam team, depending on their interests, skills and circumstances.

Having participated in all the possible levels within the SOA Education volunteer structure, I honestly can say the experience has been challenging at times—but always highly rewarding. I would relive the journey at any time, as I made very dear friends along the way.

Stella-Ann Ménard, FSA, FCIA, is a past general chairperson for SOA Education. She is also associate senior adviser at PBI Actuarial Consultants Ltd in Montréal, Québec, 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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