The Power of the Actuarial Community

February 15, 2023

by: Derek Guyton

When it was announced that I would become president of the CCA, the question I was asked most was: “Why did you decide to give up your retirement time and freedom to take on that?” My answer has always been, essentially, that I view this time as a way to give back to the profession that has meant so much and been so rewarding to me.

That got me to thinking about how much of my actuarial experience has been touched by the generosity of other actuaries. Throughout my career, wherever I have worked or in whatever situation I have been, I have always been struck by the willingness of actuaries to share information with, provide advice to, or generally help fellow actuaries. But the generosity I have experienced and witnessed can be traced all the way back to when I was studying for my first exam.

When I was at Drake University studying for Part 1, which was Calculus for me, students would organize study groups to help each other work through difficult issues and share sample problems for practice. These same students would celebrate your passes and commiserate with your fails. Though I did not realize it at the time, the exams were written, administered and graded by volunteers unselfishly giving up their free time to keep the profession fresh and vibrant. Just think of all the effort that goes into the examination process!

While the various actuarial organizations have valuable staff teams doing really important work, volunteers spend time on and contribute expertise to various endeavors. Think of all the meetings planned and delivered. Think of all the standards that have been developed and the review process for those standards. The list goes on and on. Every organization has multiple committees doing really valuable work. The number of actuaries involved, and the volume of hours provided by volunteers is immense.

Our actuarial organizations could not exist and provide all their important services without volunteers. However, as I mentioned earlier, the degree of basic kindness and sharing goes beyond the organized volunteering. Behind the scenes and day-to-day, actuaries spend significant amounts of time beyond the requirements of the job informally mentoring and training younger actuaries. Additionally, actuaries are active in online informal communities that provide forums for them to ask questions and get help from other, often competing, actuaries who are willing to spend their free time helping people they might not know. 

Another great example of the actuarial spirit of sharing came to my attention in the latest installment of the CCA’s Leadership Development Series hosted by Michael Clark. In January Michael interviewed Chelsea Adler and much of the discussion covered her passion for sharing. On her website,, Chelsea’s mission statement says: “I would not be where I am today without the help, guidance and encouragement of so many. My hope with this blog is to express my gratitude through helping others pursue their dreams.” I highly recommend you visit Chelsea’s website and Instagram page for some really great insights.

I’m positive you can come up with examples from your own career of the kindness and generosity you have experienced. This is the undeniable power of the actuarial community at work.

If you are currently a volunteer in any way, shape or form, I thank you. Please share your experiences with your friends and colleagues and encourage them to share their time and wisdom. If you are not currently volunteering, I promise you will love the experience and never regret the time you spend helping others.