Serving on the CIA Board: the Why, the How, and the Who

This article originally appeared in the CIA (e)Bulletin.

The 2019 Board elections are underway, and once again the CIA seeks enthusiastic, skilled professionals to serve. Thinking about running? To help you decide if it’s the right fit for you, we asked current and former Board members what serving on the Board has meant for them and the profession. The deadline to submit your name is April 1.

The Why

Whether it is working to shape the actuarial profession in Canada, connecting with peers, or laying the foundation for future actuaries, a role on the CIA Board provides the opportunity to reach one’s professional goals in a collaborative and exciting way.

For Benoit Miclette, Board Director and Chair of the Practice Development Council, it is the chance to be part of something bigger.

“Playing a role in the transformation of the CIA governance structure provided a valuable opportunity to think about the needs of actuaries and the role of the profession,” he says.

Marc Tardif, President-elect, has been inspired by connecting with young actuaries. “Presenting at the Actuarial Students’ National Association (ASNA) has been my most memorable experience so far,” he says, “seeing all those aspiring actuarial students and thinking about how we must all play a role in ensuring that they have good opportunities.”

For past President Dave Dickson, the Institute’s active international presence was important. “Being President exposed me to many other actuarial organizations and I met and worked with a number of actuaries from around the world,” he says.

The How

Volunteering on the Board requires time, expertise, and an ability to deliver. Actuaries are busy and the prospect of finding the time to take on more responsibility can seem daunting; however, volunteering turned out to be easy to prioritize for these Board members.

“Once you identify your purpose for volunteering, it creates the drive necessary to find a place on your agenda,” says Mr. Miclette. “For the most part, being an active volunteer, and more specifically a Board member, provides another opportunity to exercise strategic and collaborative thinking.”

Board Director Fei Xie agrees. “Although it is volunteer work, I view this more as an opportunity to learn from leaders in the profession and industry as well as discover new fields and initiatives,” she says. “Learning is important for both career and professional development. An expanded network is also an added bonus.”

The Who

We value diversity, and we want members to see themselves represented at every level of the CIA. All members should feel empowered to stand for election, to bring their diversity of backgrounds, knowledge, and points of view to the ballot. Current Board Director Renée Couture explains, “Everyone has something to contribute and no one should feel like they can’t run, nor should they be intimidated by the opportunity.”

“Diversity, across many dimensions, is the very foundation of good decision-making,” says Sharon Giffen, Immediate Past President. “All voices of our membership need to be heard and respected to secure engagement; especially at the President-elect level, this ensures that the public head of the profession reflects the values of the membership.”

President John Dark echoes those sentiments. “We need voices from throughout our profession to be heard and to have a chance to influence things,” he says. “The demographics of our profession are way different today than when I started. We’re better as a profession for that and our leadership should reflect that.”

A Special Note about President-elect

Becoming President-elect does involve a significant time commitment. While many past presidents were retired or semi-retired when they took on the role, many continued to work full time, with accommodation from their employer.

Jacques Tremblay, who served as President from 2014–2015, was one of those full-time workers, yet managed to dedicate one day each weekend to catch up on CIA matters. “You know the expression, if you want something done, give it to someone who is busy!” he said in a February 2017 (e)Bulletin article. “The reality is that you can manage this commitment. I received great support from Michel Simard, our Executive Director, and the entire CIA staff. I also received great support from my colleagues at work.”

This year, take a chance on an opportunity that offers personal growth, professional achievement, and the influence to effect change. Consider running for election. The CIA wants you!

Learn more about the 2019 Elections.

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