Volunteer Award Winners

Matthew Rodermund Memorial Service Awards

Arlie Proctor, FCAS
Arlie Proctor

Arlie received the Matthew Rodermund Memorial Service Award for their many years of volunteer experience and contribution to actuarial profession.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

What I enjoy most is meeting and interacting with members from all walks of life. When you are exposed to many members outside your own company, you realize that the roles and responsibilities given to actuaries varies widely and that actuaries are very adaptable when it comes to learning new things and applying them to the jobs their companies give them or that are required for their volunteer roles. That makes you a much more confident person when faced with a new challenge.

What advice do you have for new CAS members just getting their start in volunteering?

Bring your eyes and ears to the experience first and foremost. If you approach volunteering as a learning opportunity, you will rarely be disappointed with your returns. Every assignment and every new colleague you meet presents an opportunity to add new knowledge and/or skills to your actuarial and managerial repertoire. The experience will make you more valuable to your employer if you approach it that way.

Anything else you want to share?

I did not start my CAS experience as a volunteer. It was actually mandatory for all new Fellows to join a CAS committee at my employer in the early 90’s. I am, however, grateful to Dave Hafling and Gary Dean for “voluntelling” me. I think I’ve been in a volunteer role continuously ever since because of the learning opportunities and the friends I’ve made among CAS members.

Karen Terry, FCAS
Karen Terry

Karen received the Matthew Rodermund Memorial Service Award for their many years of volunteer experience and contribution to actuarial profession.

Why do you volunteer for the CAS?

My first opportunity as a volunteer was “suggested” to me by my department head just prior to obtaining my Associateship. This single opportunity instilled the volunteer bug that endured throughout my career. It’s exciting that the CAS has remained a volunteer driven organization. Every volunteer opportunity provides a chance to meet new people, learn new things and potentially help influence where the profession is headed.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

At the risk of being cliché, it’s the people that always make the difference. Volunteering for the CAS brought so many opportunities to meet new people and gain so many different perspectives to the issues and challenges we face as professionals. Every opportunity brought new insights and expanded my knowledge and awareness both within and beyond the boundaries of my areas of expertise.

Is there one aspect of volunteering that stands out?

When I think back over my career and the time spent volunteering what stands out most (other than the people I met and worked with) is the wide variety of those volunteer opportunities. Depending on the opportunity, my role may have drawn upon my subject matter expertise, my organizational skills, my leadership skills, or any combination thereof. No matter the role each one helped me improve my skill set and deepen my knowledge.

What advice do you have for new CAS members just getting their start in volunteering?

For those new CAS members considering their role in volunteering I offer two learnings from my personal experience. First, don’t be afraid to speak up and contribute to the conversation. Sometimes just a slight difference in opinion or a new perspective can enhance and deepen the discussions and results. Secondly, don’t underestimate the importance of leadership and facilitation skills. You don’t have to be the expert to facilitate and direct a meeting to help achieve the group goals in a productive and efficient manner.

New Member Award

Sandy Lowe, FCAS
Sandy Lowe

Sandy received the New Members Award for their work on the Network of Actuarial Women and Allies (NAWA).

Is there one aspect of volunteering that stands out?

As a volunteer, I’ve had the opportunity to significantly expand my actuarial network. Previously, my actuarial network was largely comprised of actuaries from my own company. As a volunteer, I’ve been able to work with and learn from actuaries across the industry and of varying tenure/experience. It has been exciting to meet others with the same passion and to work together toward a common goal. I’ve also made some great friends along the way!

What is the thing you are most proud of with regards to volunteering?

Co-founding an organization was definitely not what came to mind when I first became a volunteer, but I am proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone, and I am really proud of what we’ve accomplished so far with NAWA (Network of Actuarial Women and Allies). What started as an idea to connect and support women in the profession, has turned into an organization with over 700 members and over 1900 followers on LinkedIn in just a few short years. Starting NAWA was no small task, but given the meaningful connections and conversations we have already started to facilitate, it has been well worth the effort. I am looking forward to what comes next for NAWA!

What advice do you have for new CAS members just getting their start in volunteering?

Everyone has something to bring to the table, yourself included! When I first started volunteering, I oftentimes would find myself in conversations with other actuaries much more experienced than myself. As a newer volunteer, it took effort (and still does!) to remember that my perspective is just as valuable, and to feel confident speaking up. It helped to keep in mind that no two people have the exact same background or experience, and that I was in the conversation for a reason. The more I found myself contributing ideas, the more fulfilling my volunteer experience became.

Sarah Manuel, FCAS
Sarah Manuel

Sarah received the New Member Award for their work on the Candidate Advocate Working Group.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

I enjoy meeting and getting to work with actuaries I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to meet, and working toward a common goal of making the profession better.

What advice do you have for new CAS members just getting their start in volunteering? 

There are tons of volunteer opportunities within the CAS in all kinds of areas. If you’re passionate about exams, start as a grader – but if you think event planning sounds like something you’d enjoy more, you could join a working group focused on that. I’ve found that my favorite volunteer experiences have been ones where I’m passionate about the subject, the work is engaging, and I like the people I’m volunteering with. If the first volunteer opportunity you try doesn’t work out that way, try something else!

Nicolas Vega, FCAS
Nicolas Vega

Nicolas received the New Member Award for their work on CAS’s International efforts.

Why do you volunteer for the CAS?

There are two main reasons I’m volunteering for the CAS. The first reason is giving back to the profession and the CAS. The second reason is that I see this as a way to contribute to Latin America's actuarial development. I strongly believe in the empowerment of becoming an actuary, especially via exams, and how the profession helps people find a way in life.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

This answer is easy: the people I’m constantly interacting with. By volunteering, I’m sharing my time (mainly discussing, but not only, actuarial topics) with a diverse group of people; with different backgrounds, in different stages of life, with different opinions… you name it.

Is there one aspect of volunteering that stands out?

Again, the people and the community. The sense of belonging the CAS has as a professional organization is second to none.

Best memory about volunteering?

There is not a single memory that stands out over the rest. What comes to my mind is a recollection of moments of us cruising in-person (or virtually) around various Latin American countries, promoting the actuarial profession and the CAS while showing people a different option to stand out.

What is the thing you are most proud of with regards to volunteering?

I can change someone’s life, at least a bit, with a timely advice, a needed encouragement, or mentorship.

What advice do you have for new CAS members just getting their start in volunteering?

Get involved as much as possible and enjoy our community. The bond that holds the CAS is powerful; it all starts with the volunteers.

Anything else you want to share?

Yes, emphasize my conviction regarding the power of our profession and our organization. Becoming a CAS-certified actuary will test different aspects of the person, for example, discipline, focus, endurance, and sometimes how to manage failure. These are qualities that will serve well in life. Volunteering gives back and contributes to expanding these virtues in society.

Charles Zhu, FCAS
Charles Zhu

Charles received the New Member Award for their work on the University Engagement Advisory Working Group.

Why do you volunteer for the CAS?

I volunteer for the CAS in the University Engagement Advisory Working Group to help guide and support future generations of actuaries. As a student, I had the privilege of speaking to and learning from professional actuaries through case competitions and other events at my university. These experiences shaped my career as an actuary, and I would like to give back and support future actuaries.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

What I enjoy most about volunteering is the opportunity to talk with students through case competitions and other university events. I am passionate about being an actuary, and I enjoy being able to share my experiences with students to inspire them to choose the actuarial career as well.

What advice do you have for new CAS members just getting their start in volunteering?

I would encourage all new CAS members to volunteer on a committee they are passionate about. Whether university engagement, research & publications, or professional education, aligning passion with volunteering efforts will make it more worthwhile and exciting.

Anything else you want to share?

Volunteering is a great way to support the actuarial community and to meet other actuaries. Through volunteering, I've met many good friends, most of whom I would have never crossed paths with if not for volunteering.

Above and Beyond Award Winners

Sherwin Li, FCAS
Sherwin Li

Sherwin received the Above and Beyond Award for their work in the Asia Regional Working Group and international activities in China.

Why do you volunteer for the CAS?

After I got the qualification of FCAS, I always wanted to do some volunteer activities for the CAS especially to do something for the immature local P&C industry in Asia. By chance, I learned that there was a local committee established by the CAS in the Asia, the Asia Regional Committee (ARC), so I joined it. I helped to connect the CAS leadership with the local actuarial organizations in Asia and I facilitated the Course on Professionalism (COP) in Asia. After a period of time, the term of the chairperson of the ARC at that time expired. As she found that I was active in the CAS ARC, she entrusted me to continue the operation of the CAS ARC. Then I did the job until now.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

What I did to connect the CAS and the Asian local industry was recognized by both the CAS and the Asian local organizations. That makes me enjoy most.

Is there one aspect of volunteering that stands out?

I felt that I can often find some opportunities and practical actions to enable the CAS to cooperate effectively with the Asian local organizations or serve members better. For example, I bridged the CAS and the Chinese local regulator when the regulator was constructing its new solvency regulatory regime, C-ROSS.

Best memory about volunteering?

The best memory for me is that I had special dinner together with the CAS leaders on the evening before the CAS Spring Meeting when most of the CAS leaders could say my name out directly.

What is the thing you are most proud of with regards to volunteering?

The establishment of the event "the PKU-CAS Actuarial Month" since 2012, which was held in each fall semester at Peking University in China. The mode has been copied by other universities.

What advice do you have for new CAS members just getting their start in volunteering?

You must keep a positive attitude even if the result of your volunteer work does not meet your expectations. The most powerful thing in the world is that you always do the same thing.

Brett Jaros, FCAS
Brett Jaros

Brett received the Above and Beyond Award for their work on the University Engagement Advisory Working Group.

Why do you volunteer for the CAS?

I have served on the CAS Trust Scholarship committee for 10 years, most recently as its chair for 3 years.  The importance and purpose of volunteering are often taken for granted in many areas of society, and within our CAS included.  At its most basic, giving back to an organization that first blessed me with a career of learning and opportunity simply seemed natural.

But for me, the importance of volunteering to give back to our Society and its future members stems from a particularly meaningful experience.  I was a past winner of the Trust Scholarship myself, while majoring in actuarial science in college.  Having had spent considerable time and effort in school to not only satisfy coursework but also pass actuarial exams – receiving the scholarship was most importantly an affirmation of the hard work and sacrifice required in those early years.  I remain grateful to this day for the CAS and its members who saw something of note in that young college student. 

Fast forward a few years, and I knew I wanted to be able to continue the cycle of passing on reward and encouragement to eager and hard-working college students on a similar pursuit.  Years in and out, I have thoroughly enjoyed our committee’s work to review the accomplishments, experiences, and inspiration of dozens of candidates.  And more often than not our committee found itself in the bittersweet situation of being limited by only a few scholarship dollars to award – naturally we couldn’t provide awards to every single qualified candidate that applied.  An unavoidable and frustrating implication, for sure, but a fact that nevertheless encouraged us: I have no doubt the CAS is in good hands given the caliber of incoming actuaries joining our ranks.

What is the thing you are most proud of with regards to volunteering?

The scholarship committee itself has changed in many ways over the past 10 years, but one of my favorite changes has been the engagement with which our committee connected with the applicants in recent years.  At the end of each season, our committee writes individualized letters to every single student applicant, thanking the student for applying and encouraging the continuation of all their worthy efforts on the path to the CAS.  Especially for those who weren’t fortunate to win a scholarship, I believe this additional outreach has and will continue to build an important bridge between those on the difficult journey towards credentials, and those who have benefited from having completed it.  My hope is to cross paths with many of the students I have personally evaluated over the past 10 years, to see them reach their goals and to look back at how far they’ve come.

What advice do you have for new CAS members just getting their start in volunteering?

My advice to CAS members beginning to volunteer is to simply be committed with your time and energy.  There are many committees to serve on, and you may not feel qualified or interested in some of them.  But remember: “there is one body, but it has many parts”.  To not only function but thrive as the premier casualty actuarial society, all components of the volunteer landscape must be filled by committed members who recognize the value of giving back.  Even in some roles that may not seem as visible or as glamorous as others, I believe that with a fully committed spirit you’ll realize the value your time adds toward furthering the ultimate impact of the CAS and its members. 

Amber Rohde, FCAS
Amber Rohde

Amber received the Above and Beyond award for their work on the International Member Services Task Force and the Network of Actuarial Women and Allies (NAWA).

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

There are two things I enjoy most about volunteering. First, it’s impact. It’s helping to drive change and moving things in a positive direction – whether that’s with the International work I’ve done, or the work we’re doing with the Network of Actuarial Women and Allies (NAWA). The second thing, which is what makes it so fun, is the connections you make with people. I remember attending my first CAS meeting and feeling so shy – not knowing anyone except my coworkers. In those situations, I would become extremely introverted and stay close to those I knew. After over 10 years of volunteering, that couldn’t be farther from my experience. I now know so many friendly faces, and a lot of that is through the connections I’ve made at the CAS.

What I love is that everyone I meet has their own unique perspectives and experiences. From that, I have grown personally and professionally. Also, I now look forward to all the people I get to talk to (or catch up with) when I go to the meetings. Volunteering is a decision I have never regretted.

Best memory about volunteering?

I have many great memories that have come with volunteering. One great memory I have, is when I attended my first volunteer leadership conference. I had been leading various international groups for many years. Through my work chairing the International Members Services Task Force (IMSTF), I had become accustomed to teleconferences, and eventually video conferencing. The volunteer group is generally around 30-40 people from around the world, so virtual meetings with people on all different time zones is/was standard. The first ‘volunteer leadership conference’ I was able to attend was pretty late into my journey – it may have been 2017 or 2018. Regardless, it was the first time I had met some of the great people that I had been working with for so many years. Specifically, having a pint with Alejandro Ortega, Bob Conger, and Ron Kozlowski was such a great moment for me. They were as fun in person as they are to work with. I remember meeting so many others at the CAS and across other volunteer groups at that meeting as well. Such a rewarding experience for me, personally.

What advice do you have for new CAS members just getting their start in volunteering?

When I first completed my exams. I wasn’t sure if I was going to volunteer or not. I had just moved overseas and was adjusting to both a new country and new role. My life was pretty full at that moment. However, my first real volunteer experience occurred shortly after the move – and it came from peer pressure – a story for another time. With that, I was happy I did it. I have gained so much professional and personally from my 10+ years of doing so. I would say to the new member, just do it. Sign up – but find something you may be passionate about. And if you’re not sure, that’s okay. Explore. When you indicate interest in volunteering, it’s not a permanent commitment, or really a commitment at all. It may mean you’ll have a conversation with someone, and you can use that as an opportunity to see if it’s the right fit. Long story short, explore what there is. You may be pleasantly surprised to find something you’re passionate about, or discover a new passion you have. And if nothing else, you’ve maybe had a conversation with someone you didn’t know before. If you do volunteer, you are likely to grow personally, professionally, and expand your network. I have grown from my experience and met some amazing people along the way. I’m so happy that I made the decision to volunteer that day (or rather, that my friend peer pressured me to do so) – zero regrets, and only gratitude from me.

Kevin Roll, FCAS
Kevin Roll

Kevin received the Above and Beyond Award for their work on the Limited Attendance Seminar Planning Working Group.

Why do you volunteer for the CAS?

Volunteering is core to the function of the CAS and I’m happy to do my part. After finishing my exams, I wanted other ways to stay connected to our association and volunteering was the answer. In addition to providing the needed people-power to have our organization strive, volunteering also allowed me to network with others and build meaningful relationships.

Is there one aspect of volunteering that stands out?

Something that stands out about our volunteering opportunities that I didn’t realize when I was just taking exams, is all the work that goes on to make our organization run. From writing/grading exams to organizing/delving a large meeting, volunteering gives you that behind-the-scenes view to see the incredible work that our volunteers and CAS staff do.

What is the thing you are most proud of with regards to volunteering?

One of the things I am most proud of in my volunteering history is giving the opportunity of being a leader/chair to a junior member. It was rewarding to offer the role, work with the individual, and then see them excel. Passing the torch was something that I didn’t anticipate as being all that meaningful at the time, but looking back now, it definitely stands out. The individual now has this experience under their belt to open doors elsewhere in the CAS if they choose to volunteer in other areas.