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Fulfilling Experiences for Dedicated Volunteer

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Volunteers’ Corner
By Marcia Gallos, FCIA

As the CIA gets ready for summer hiatus, and my Winnipeg Parks rose bush kicks into high-bloom, my second Volunteers’ Corner tackles the thorny questions:
  • How often should I volunteer?
  • What’s the time commitment?
  • Am I qualified?
  • What’s in it for me?
But first, let’s get to know Minaz Lalani a bit better, and what he has brought to our profession.

Feature Profile: Minaz Lalani

A 2012 recipient of the Silver Award for volunteer service in the CIA, Minaz Lalani (pictured above) chose his time working specifically on the Enterprise Risk Management Applications Committee (ERMAC) as one of several highlights of his volunteering. He said he enjoyed "working with a diligent team" on one of the profession’s recent topics of interest, and the committee contributed to the profession by "developing: a) two ERM booklets; and b) incorporating ERM topics at CIA meetings."

Since becoming an FCIA in 1985, Mr. Lalani has volunteered for a number of other committees and task forces, including the:
  • Task Force on Canadian Eligibility Requirements;
  • Task Force on Individual Savings and Financial Literacy;
  • Elections Committee;
  • Public Relations Committee; and
  • Task Force on Transfer Values.
He said he had the opportunity to hone his actuarial expertise while volunteering: "I have enhanced my technical and analytical skills, specifically in the area of modelling risk, scenario analysis, and ERM."

But he added that volunteering offered him even more: a chance to collaborate for a common goal. "It was a fulfilling experience as I had the opportunity to work with diverse members with different experiences, learn about different topics, and build consensus on those topics."

Thanks for your all your effort, Minaz. We hope that you continue to collaborate with many more committees.

Current Vacancies

The CIA Head Office’s annual review of committee, task force, and council memberships is currently underway. Therefore no vacancies will be advertised this month but the list will return in the September (e)Bulletin.

Through this review, chairs are guided by the CIA Volunteer Management Policy to ensure rotation of their committee by encouraging members to stand down in accordance with the maximum three-year term. Chairs are also encouraged to follow the policy guideline to recruit from the Volunteer Applicant Registry.

Tips and Tricks: A Short FAQ to Help You Get Started
  • How often should I volunteer? A suggested guideline is to volunteer for one term of service for every decade of your career. A term is roughly defined as a three-year membership of a committee. A volunteer can also serve another term as the committee’s chair and/or vice-chair for up to two years. However, only one of these additional leadership terms will count towards total terms of service for award recognition.
  • What’s the time commitment? In a typical three-year term, a volunteer can expect to spend as little as one hour a month on conference calls, plus some incidental e-mail and document review. In some cases, the time commitment is much more significant as members take part in research and standard-setting committees. Calls in these cases can be every couple of weeks, plus e-mail and document preparation. At the high end, volunteer commitment can at times be as much as five to 10 hours a week. Yes, it is a broad range; however, volunteers’ ability/availability is carefully matched to committees. And, when compared to the average TV viewership in the U.S. (more than 30 hours per week), it seems like a relatively good investment.
  • Am I qualified? If you are a member of the CIA, then you are qualified. One of the policies is for committees to maintain balanced representation (geographical, industry, years of experience). Many committees are beginning to actively try to close gaps in their membership, specifically targeting the members that are most reticent to join committees: ACIAs and new Fellows. Please know that there is room for all to participate!
  • What’s in it for me? You have the opportunity to give back to the profession (those Standards of Practice and educational notes didn’t write themselves!) and contribute to the profession going forward (what do the International Financial Reporting Standards mean for us, why is ERM important, what effect do all these biologics have on mortality and morbidity). Although it’s not significant, there is also the recognition from the Institute and your peers through the formal award presentation (I imagine receiving my gold award in 20 or so years). The education in advanced topics, application of technical skills, development of leadership and communication skills—all are waiting for you.
My personal goal is to volunteer for a committee under each council, and also volunteer for each council. I’ve got one rotation nearly under my belt, which qualifies me for the Bronze Award. My challenge to all of the CIA membership is to pick one council that speaks to you and aim to be involved in that council and one of its subcommittees, and earn yourself a Bronze Award.

Getting Started: All You Have to Do is Say Yes!
  1. Go to the CIA website. Log in to the Members section. On the left-hand-side navigation panel, click on My Profile > My Volunteer Profile > Update Volunteer Profile. Once you’ve completed the Update Volunteer Profile form to indicate your skills, experience, and general interests, go to the Modify My Committee and Task Force Interests form to indicate specific volunteer committees that you are interested in joining.
  2. Press your case. If you have a strong interest in a specific committee, contact the CIA or committee chair. They will be happy to provide you with more information or to invite you to a meeting. You can also gain a feel for what each committee does by visiting the Volunteer Booth at many CIA meetings.
  3. Make it a priority. Understand the time commitment required for the volunteer position and set aside time in your schedule. Communicate any concerns to the committee chair and allow them to help you in assessing whether the opportunity is right for you.
  4. Get your employer on board. In many cases, volunteering can actually bring value to your employer. Many committees might overlap with your work or provide you with valuable training and experience. In many cases, you may be able to designate work time towards volunteering.
  5. Stay tuned. Keep reading the Volunteers’ Corner articles in the (e)Bulletin.
  6. Check out the resources for volunteers in the new Volunteer Centre on the CIA website.
Marcia Gallos, FCIA, is Chair of the New Members Committee, former chair of the Committee on Volunteer Initiatives, and a member of the Member Services Council.


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