CCA President Ellen Kleinstuber

A Month in the Life of the CCA President

March 8, 2022

February (and early March) was a great time to be the CCA president! I represented CCA in a variety of settings, interacting with members, recognizing the hard work and commitment of our volunteers, and sharing the value of CCA membership and its numerous volunteer opportunities with other actuarial groups. 

Over the course of the last month, I’ve been part of the behind the scenes planning for the March 9th panel discussion Celebrating Women in Actuarial Leadership with presidents of the other U.S. actuarial organizations, our moderator, Tonya Manning, and CCA past president Michael Clark. In the true spirit of “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”, when we couldn’t find a time that worked for all of us to prep together, CCA staff jumped in with the idea of two separate prep sessions, each of which was recorded for the other group to listen to. (That’s just one example of why I say our staff is the best around!) 

I hope you’ll join us Wednesday, March 9 at 10:00 a.m. CT as we talk about: 

  • Our path to leadership and the role models who inspired us

  • Changes we have seen throughout our careers that affect women in the workplace

  • How we started our volunteer journey, and the benefits we’ve reaped from different volunteer roles

These ladies are inspiring, and I can’t wait to be part of this historic event as we celebrate National Women’s History Month. If you can’t join us live on Wednesday, we will release a recording both in its full, one-hour format and in smaller segments so you can choose the format that suits you best. 

Now, back to the rest of my month…

CCA Annual Meeting Program Committee Planning Meeting
In early February, I attended the CCA Annual Meeting planning session. I’ve been very involved with CCA continuing education over the years, yet this was my first time being part of the Annual Meeting planning. I’d heard tales of how this meeting comes together and it was exactly the well-oiled machine I’d envisioned. I took the opportunity to thank this volunteer group for creating CCA’s marquis continuing education event. 

The committee collaboratively brainstormed topics for the opening and closing keynote addresses, slotted concurrent sessions, and identified new speakers. This group did a great job and has created an interesting and innovative program. 

The Annual Meeting is October 16-19 in downtown Austin, TX at the JW Marriott. This location affords attendees and their guests lots of dining, entertainment and activity options. There’s so much to see and do! I’m excited about returning to Austin this fall and seeing so many of you in person again. 

NYC Office of the Actuary Professional Development Meeting
One of my fellow CCA board members, Melissa Chacko, asked me to speak at the New York City Office of the Actuary during their monthly actuarial learning session. I shared professional triumphs (obtaining my FSA after 20+ years and being named Chief Actuary), difficult challenges I have overcome, and advice for others looking to become successful leaders.

The NYC Office of the Actuary staff asked thought-provoking questions, which helped make this one of the best parts of my role – interacting with our members and other actuaries to showcase how CCA membership supported my career growth and can do the same for others.

Actuaries Club of Philadelphia Virtual Meeting
One of CCA’s outreach missions is to support educational programming at local actuarial club meetings. For those who don’t know, my first actuarial volunteer role was as secretary of the Actuaries Club of Philadelphia (ACP), where I coordinated meeting planning and recruited pension speakers. I know local clubs can be challenged to get speakers engaged, so I’m happy CCA is stepping up to help these regional groups deliver quality continuing education. 

A brief side note for those who don’t think they have something to offer as a volunteer - I raised my hand on a whim to fill the role of ACP secretary, thinking someone else more qualified would also volunteer and I wouldn’t be selected. Two lessons learned – raise your hand when something piques your interest and be fully prepared for the person on the other end to say yes!

If you have a local actuarial club near you that is ever in need of educational content, reach out to me or the CCA staff and we will help them find a topic and speaker.

CCA Board of Directors Meeting 
My other big CCA meeting this month was our winter board meeting, where I again had the opportunity to preview the location of an upcoming CCA Annual Meeting – this time, the 2023 meeting at the Renaissance in Nashville, TN. Like Austin, the Nashville location is in the heart of the city and nearby to tons of great entertainment, tours, outdoor activities and greenspace when you travel outside the city limits.

Our meeting started with a strategic planning session, led by President-Elect Derek Guyton. We focused on the organization’s goals and objectives, and the significant risks to and opportunities for CCA. Doing this allowed us to prioritize growing membership and providing opportunities for members to engage and learn as among our top goals. Ultimately, our objective is having CCA remain the most valuable membership organization for consulting actuaries.

During our business meeting, we received updates on the work of committees and task forces, and on the 2022 continuing education events. We approved our 2022 budget and charitable giving plan, talked about maintaining our strong financial position despite inflation, and considered how best to continue providing members with the high-quality services and experiences they expect from us.  

Our board is truly benefiting from a return to in-person meetings. We can be more collaborative and engage in deeper discussions on important topics. 

NIRS Annual Retirement Policy Conference
On the heels of being a judge in the jointly sponsored CCA and NIRS Innovative Public Pension Plan Funding Strategies contest, NIRS invited me to moderate a panel discussion at their Annual Retirement Policy Conference featuring representatives from the three winning submissions. For more about the contest winners, you can read the NIRS press release

The contest asked entrants to suggest innovative thinking around public pension plan funding strategies that were grounded in the foundational principles of the CCA’s 2014 white paper, Actuarial Funding Policies and Practices for Public Pension Plans

Congratulations to the following for their winning submissions. I’m grateful to the other contest entrants for their submissions.

  • CCA member Robert (Andy) Blough and his colleague Seth Stock from Indiana Public Retirement System

  • CCA members Aaron Shapiro and David Kent, along with their colleagues Bill Winningham and Michelle Boyles from Milliman

  • David Draine from The Pew Charitable Trusts

CCA volunteers and staff are working on plans to share the ideas presented during CCA-sponsored educational and community events. Stay tuned!

One of the topics discussed during last year’s strategic planning was how CCA can continue serving the professionalism needs of consulting actuaries. This is a topic near and dear to my heart – a personal passion if you will – and one that the CCA board has agreed is a key area of focus for our organization. When staff at the American Academy of Actuaries reached out to have CCA identify a liaison to the newly formed Actuarial Professionalism Liaison Committee, I was happy to fill that spot until we identify an appropriate volunteer to take over that role more permanently.

This group had its first meeting last week. Here’s an overview:

  • We discussed how different groups within our profession are addressing the professionalism needs of actuaries. 

  • We heard about recent activities from the ASB and ABCD.

  • We discussed the process for making annual updates to the Applicability Guidelines that help actuaries identify which ASOPs apply to different types of work by practice area.

  • We talked about the new bias requirement in the US Qualification Standards and what sorts of topics might count toward this new CPD requirement.

This was an informative discussion and a great way to close out my month representing CCA.

Through the many meaningful conversations and rewarding personal interactions, I’ve been reminded of the impact I and other CCA volunteers can have on our profession. I continue to be grateful for this chance to serve you and give back to the actuarial profession.

About CCA

Celebrating Women in Actuarial Leadership

Celebrating Women in Actuarial Leadership

Annual Meeting Committee planning

Annual Meeting committee planning session

Annual Meeting Committee planning

Annual Meeting committee planning session


Austin, Texas skyline

NYC Office of the Actuary

NYC Office of the Actuary Professional Development Meeting


Nashville, Tennessee

Board meeting

CCA Board of Directors Meeting