Be Someone's George Wagoner

November 15, 2022

Written by: Derek Guyton

As I wrap up my first month as CCA president, I was thinking back on my career journey and the pathway that led me to where I am today. Certainly, when I was younger, learning about actuarial career opportunities and progressing through college and the exams were critical parts of my journey. However, I am very interested in sharing the most significant event of my career: getting involved in the CCA.

To me, membership in the CCA is different than the other large U.S. actuarial organizations. While the CCA credentials are not required to work as an actuary or to sign government or financial statements, many former and current members will attest to the unique value and many professional growth opportunities available through membership. So why did I join the CCA?

I became a member of the CCA for two key reasons:

  1. The value I get from membership, from our range of continuing education offerings like webinars and meetings that are targeted to my specific needs, to the networking our online communities and meetings provide, to the career development resources.
  2. The volunteering and engagement, which expanded my career opportunities and gave me the chance to give back to the profession that has done so much for me.

The CCA is different for another, perhaps more subtle, reason: most of us joined, in effect, through word of mouth. Sure, the CCA is active on social media, but we’ve learned that members join because their employer or a colleague suggested they join, they came to a meeting or they got involved through volunteering. The CCA has been such a great experience for me throughout my career – I remember how I was introduced to the organization.

The member who brought me into the ‘CCA fold’ was George Wagoner. Some of you will remember George as the long-time chief healthcare actuary for Mercer. George was my colleague and mentor for many, many years and has been a great supporter of our organization. As I reached the likely midpoint of my career, I began looking to broaden my perspective and my involvement in our profession. About that time George recruited me to be an Annual Meeting speaker.  This was such a great experience that I continued to speak at CCA meetings whenever I could. Then along the way in 2005, I was enjoying my CCA experience so much that I became a member. After a few years as a member, I joined the Annual Meeting Program Committee, which really gave me a great perspective on the operations of and opportunities available in the CCA. After a few years on that committee, I was pleasantly surprised when former CCA president Don Fuerst approached me about joining the CCA Board of Directors. I was then selected to become CCA president, a role in which I am so very honored to serve.  This journey began because George recruited me to speak at a meeting many years ago! 

I suspect many of you have a similar story to tell about how you became part of the CCA “family”. Thank you for your commitment, for volunteering and for being engaged. You are the lifeblood of this organization. When you have opportunities to meet with or talk to your colleagues, invite them into our family. Here are a few ideas: 

  • Share with your friends and colleagues the reasons you joined the CCA. 
  • Tell others about the many ways in which you get value from your membership. 
  • Describe how the CCA membership can help advance their career. 
  • Take time to share with younger actuaries, especially new FSAs, all the ways in which the CCA can support them. 
  • Make it a goal of yours in 2023 to invite one or two new people to join you on a webinar or attend an event with you. 
  • Help your colleagues identify opportunities to get engaged and show them the many ways they can volunteer with the CCA. 
  • Show someone how to connect within our online communities and explain what value they receive from involvement therein. 
  • Help a coworker get budget approval NOW to attend a virtual or in-person meeting next year. 

In short - be somebody’s George Wagoner!