What’s New with OLA: Programs, Initiatives, and Ways to Get Involved

by Nitai Patel, Candidate Representative to the Candidate Liaison Committee
The Organization of Latino Actuaries (OLA) is a group of hardworking individuals whose mission is “to increase the number of Latino Actuaries by promoting the profession and providing guidance, mentorship, and networking opportunities.” I recently got the opportunity to speak to Danny Fernandez, FCAS, one of OLA’s founders and its current president. As a member of the OLA Board of Directors, Fernandez spoke about many of the initiatives OLA has undertaken since its incorporation in 2017. Following are some of OLA’s new and established programs for college students, recent grads, and career changers, as well as ways to get involved as a member of the industry.

Exam Stipend and Reimbursement Programs

The CAS and SOA currently have a joint Diversity Exam Reimbursement Program for African American, Hispanic, and Native North American candidates. OLA has now started the Exam Reimbursement Scholarship to cover the cost of an actuarial exam (P/FM/IFM) for candidates who were close to passing with a 4 or 5 but wish to retake the exam. Additionally, OLA established the Exam Study Material Stipend Program to provide candidates with financial support as they prepare for Exams P, FM, and IFM. Stipend recipients can get discounted exam prep materials from The Infinite Actuary, Coaching Actuaries, and ACTEX Learning. We encourage all eligible candidates to take advantage of these great opportunities and get a head start on the rigorous exam-taking process. 

Academic Scholarships

OLA offers the Organization of Latino Actuaries Academic Scholarship, with awards up to $5,000, which helps motivated students get the financial support they need to pursue the actuarial profession. With the support of their sponsors, OLA also often pairs some of these scholarships with internship opportunities, so winning students get real-world experience in the industry. In 2020 OLA successfully awarded $50,000 in scholarships, and it is very thankful to its corporate sponsors that helped make it possible. See Sponsorship on the OLA website for further benefits of donating to and sponsoring OLA’s programs and initiatives.

OLA Academy

One incredible program that OLA has pioneered is OLA Academy, an online program that teaches candidates important skills such as creating effective LinkedIn profiles, writing resumes, networking, and job interviewing. Additionally, OLA Academy sends its candidates to events and industry conferences, where they can find networking opportunities and mentorships, as well as access to other professional development events and career fairs. OLA Academy had over 160 participants in its inaugural year and has had 70 placements into internships and entry-level roles so far. As OLA Academy opens back up in 2021, we highly recommend candidates apply for such a unique and remarkable opportunity!

Volunteering Opportunities

Several programs that OLA provides for candidates are carried out by volunteers. As such, there are many ways for members of the industry to get involved, including mentoring actuarial students, reviewing resumes, conducting mock interviews, and assessing scholarship applications. Additionally, members of the industry can help by increasing awareness of the actuarial profession when visiting high schools and universities in various cities throughout the country. It can also be helpful to provide connections to Latino actuaries who you may know so that OLA can continue to grow its network. To find out more about how you can get involved, we encourage you to fill out a volunteer form online indicating your interest.

Online form: https://www.latinoactuaries.org/volunteer/

Donations and Sponsorship

In order to fund many of its amazing programs and initiatives, OLA makes use of individual donations as well as corporate sponsorships. OLA appreciates all its individual donations “as they can change the future of a Latino actuarial student.” A $200 donation can help fund a candidate’s exam material cost; a $250 donation will subsidize a candidate’s actuarial exam; and a $500 donation will help send a candidate to an event or conference where he or she will meet company representatives, have numerous networking opportunities, and gain invaluable professional development. 

By becoming corporate sponsors, companies can show their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Corporate sponsors help support OLA’s overarching mission to fund travel to conferences, actuarial exam scholarships, academic scholarships, and OLA’s administrative costs. In addition to partnering with the CAS and several other organizations, OLA aims to build long-sustaining connections with the industry. It has already gained corporate sponsors throughout the property-casualty industry, and we continue to encourage companies to get involved with our organization. Interested corporate sponsors can contact OLA’s Director of Corporate Engagement Isaac Maycotte at imaycotte36@massmutual.com. OLA provides the support that Latino candidates need as they make their transition to the industry.

To learn more about OLA and the opportunities available, visit latinoactuaries.org and our LinkedIn Page here!