Meet the Candidates: Alejandro Ortega

  • ACAS Month/Year: November 2005
    FCAS Month/Year: July 2006

    Education:

    Bachelor of Science, Mathematics
    California Institute of Technology
    2000

    Current Employment:

    Sabbatical

    CAS Activities and Publications:

    University Liaison – Liaison to universities in Latin America  2015 – 2020
    International Ambassador – to Actuarial organizations in Latin America 2015 – 2020
    International Leadership Group  2020
    Joint Committee on Career Encouragement and Actuarial Diversity (JCCEAD) 2014 – 2019
    Joint Committee on Inclusion, Equity and Diversity (JCIED) 2019 – 2020
    CAS Diversity Committee – (Vice Chair 2015-2016)  2015 – 2020

    Other Actuarial Organizations (please list activities, positions, and years):

    Organization of Latino Actuaries – Co-founder, and served three year 2017 - 2020
    presidential term

    Actuarial Foundation – volunteer on scholarship review committee
    SOA – volunteer speaker at High School Actuarial Events

    Other Professional Designations:
    CFA, 2007
    MAAA, 2009

  • Employment History - Prior Employers:

    Farmers Insurance 2002 - 2007
    Actuarial Analyst, Product Manager

    AIG
    Transactional Actuary – Large Account pricing  2007 – 2009
    Latin America Regional Actuary 2009 – 2012
    Latin America Chief Actuary 2012 – 2015

    The Infinite Actuary, Instructor – Exam 7 Review Course  2012 – Present

    Membership and Activities in Other Organizations:

    Speaker and emcee at Actuarial High School Days in Chicago, IL and Stockton, CA

    Speak 5-6 times per year since 2016 on Actuarial topics and Diversity topics in the United States in Latin America

    Civic Activities:

    LACES Calculus Camp – Assist Calculus students in prep over a 3 day 2007 - Present
    weekend and talk about actuarial profession

    Coach local elementary and middle school math teams 2016 - Present

    Awards and Recognitions:

    CAS – Above and Beyond Achievement Award 2018

  • The CAS has a goal to improve diversity in the profession – I summarize the issues as Access and Retention.

    Not everyone has Access to the profession – this is often due to financial barriers and lack of network, such as for Black and Latino candidates, though it can be for other reasons as well – I think of the barriers for people with disabilities.

    It is important also to recognize that entering the profession, does not mean staying in it.  This is Retention. My colleagues at the Network of Actuarial Women and Allies (NAWA) tell me that many women leave the profession because they cannot find jobs with the flexibility they require – our industry is losing out on great talent.

    The Sexual and Gender Alliance of Actuaries (SAGAA) has been doing great work here by educating our actuarial colleagues on the LGBTQ community – their instagram page (@sagaactuaries) for example, provides guidance on the use of pronouns, and how we can create a more inclusive environment by normalizing stating our pronouns when introducing ourselves.

    My work in co-founding and being part of the Board and execution team at the Organization of Latino Actuaries (OLA) gives me the experience to help the CAS reach its goals.

    OLA was created in 2017 out of a desire to help more Latinos enter the profession, and it has been a successful organization in its short history. We launched programs that find high school students and tell them about the profession, connect them with mentors, and give them the advice they need. We also launched programs to connect university students with companies, so they would have an opportunity to interview for jobs. OLA’s online career fairs were a tremendous success during the pandemic. I’m convinced OLA’s work has already moved the number of Latinos entering the profession from 2% to nearly 4% in just a few years.

    In OLA’s third year, we increased the number of corporate sponsors from 3 to 14, and event sponsors from 5 companies to 20. The growth in sponsors is evidence of the impact that OLA is having.

    I am deeply tied to the people, organizations and initiatives working to address these issues. I want to be part of driving them forward, and being a member of the CAS board will allow me to directly influence Access and Retention within the actuarial profession.

    I look forward to serving both the CAS and these communities.

  • I support the CAS three strategic pillars:

    • Building Skills for the Future
    • Diversifying the Pipeline
    • Expanding Globally

    Building Skills
    In addition to 1) Analytics, 2) Problem Solving and 3) Domain Knowledge, I would like the CAS to also help train our members in communication. 

    In my career, I’ve seen that an actuary can increase their influence tremendously by being a good communicator.  This is not a skill we would want to test, but rather provide opportunities for training, possibly through webinars or at CAS conferences.  In addition, regional CAS meetings provide an excellent platform for actuaries to present to a warm audience as they develop their speaking skills.

    Diversifying the Pipeline
    This can be summarized into two components 1) Access to the actuarial profession, and 2) Retention in the profession.  My work on the CAS/SOA diversity committees since 2014, and the creation of programs for OLA gives me the experience to support these initiatives. Two OLA programs that were particularly successful are OLA’s Travel Program, and OLA Academy.

    OLA’s Travel program – we sent candidates (mostly students) to conferences around the country, such as the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) Annual Convention, and the Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) Annual Conference.  These conferences have a lot of similarities to a CAS meeting, but for students.

    We provided excellent networking opportunities for students to meet industry professionals.  Candidates could also attend professional development sessions, and interview for actuarial entry level positions and internships.  We found this was also an excellent training ground for individuals as they prepared for the recruiting season in the fall.  These conferences were very successful for OLA’s candidates.

    OLA Academy – we built a training program that was online and on-demand (prior to the pandemic) to prepare students for the interview process.  The members get their resume reviewed by a professional, 3 mock interviews by industry professionals, and a course on networking, and a mentor. The goal was to prepare students for the Travel program. This program allowed us to prepare 160 candidates in 2020 for the recruiting season.  Over 80 candidates landed an actuarial position or internship.

    Expanding Globally
    The CAS is the global leader in Property & Casualty education, and yet we are not recognized everywhere for this.  It is valuable for the CAS to improve our brand around the globe.  My experience in Latin America prepares me for this. When I re-created the CAS Latin America committee in 2015, we were not engaged with many actuarial organizations in the region. Our committee created and nurtured relationships with the Association of Colombian Actuaries, Ecuadorian Association of Actuaries, Institute of Brazilian Actuaries, Central American Association of Actuaries, and the longstanding relationship with actuarial organizations in Mexico. In the last few years we have invited their members to speak at our conferences, and have been accepted as speakers at their conferences.

    Building relationships with Actuarial organizations around the world will give us access to their members, and allow us to provide P&C education, and develop our brand. 

  • Candidates respond to member submitted questions

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