Volunteering to Advance the Profession

There are many ways to get involved with the SOA James M. Glickman

Photograph: Hyon Smith

When I took office as Society of Actuaries (SOA) president, I announced one of my biggest priorities for the year ahead would be to enhance each member’s experiences with the SOA and, to the extent possible, get more actuaries actively involved in volunteer activities. There are so many volunteer opportunities to consider, from education and research, to professional development and section-focused efforts.

Let’s look at why volunteering is so valuable, both for you and the actuarial profession. We are a volunteer-driven organization: from exam grading, to the development and implementation of our Strategic Plan, to speaking opportunities at professional development events and participation in actuarial research—all of these activities move the profession forward thanks to the efforts of members like you. Without volunteers serving on professional interest section councils, we wouldn’t have the expert-driven newsletters, podcasts, research nor professional development events. Meetings such as the Life & Annuity Symposium, the Enterprise Risk Management Symposium, the Health Meeting, the Valuation Actuary Symposium and the SOA Annual Meeting & Exhibit could not exist without the volunteer efforts of our sections and their members.

For example, you don’t have to be an educator to participate as an exam grader or help to create new exam questions. Likewise, you don’t have to be a researcher to join a research project oversight group (POG) and guide the accuracy and objectivity of a research project or experience study. These groups are vital to the actuarial profession, regardless of topic. By serving on POGs, you’re helping to complete research that will benefit the profession.

I’ve been an FSA for 35 years and have served as a volunteer for nearly 40 years. I’ve found my volunteer experiences to be among the most rewarding activities of my professional career. I’m especially proud of the work creating and watching the SOA Long Term Care Insurance Section grow. For those of you who don’t know, I have worked closely within the long-term care insurance industry for the last 30 of my 47 years in the actuarial profession. I encourage you to take the time to engage with one or more of the sections that fit your particular areas of interest. A little bit of your time and effort will go a long way toward enhancing your area of practice, and I am sure you will find it personally rewarding.

The SOA seeks to get all members involved, especially those members who now make up nearly half of all our FSAs—the millennial generation. The SOA Board has identified as one of our most important strategic projects the development of new ways to engage with members and encourage all to participate. Two recent examples include a digital initiative now underway to better engage with our youngest members and a Member Recognition Program, which provides annual thank-you gifts to our members who earn the most participation points. Please review the program to see how you can qualify.

Whether you have volunteered in the past or have been meaning to volunteer, I encourage you to consider participating in one of the many opportunities to help make your profession even better.

James M. Glickman, FSA, MAAA, CLU, is president of the Society of Actuaries.

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