CIA (e)Bulletin/(e)Bulletin de l'ICA
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February 2018

ASNA Convention 2018 – Breaking the Paradigm

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By Alicia Rollo, CHRL

The Actuarial Students’ National Association held its annual convention in Ottawa, January 5–7, amid some of the coldest weather on record for the nation’s capital. Even the most adverse conditions couldn’t prevent more than 600 students and numerous employers and actuarial organizations from enjoying a full weekend of networking and learning, not to mention a little entertainment courtesy of CIA President-elect, John Dark.

The CIA has been a proud strategic partner to ASNA for more than 26 years and we value the relationship immensely. The convention is one of our favourite career events for the opportunities that it provides to meet and network with tomorrow’s actuaries. Organized by students, for students, the convention is an impressive undertaking featuring a career fair, education and information sessions, a case competition, as well as networking and social events over several days.  

Strong CIA Presence

CIA volunteers and staff participate fully in all aspects of the convention in addition to hosting the CIA career lounge, an informal gathering place at the convention for casual networking and conversation. For the second year, we brought along a photographer so students could have a professional headshot taken. Non-stop line-ups from Friday until Saturday afternoon show that students recognize the importance of presenting a professional image on their social networks.

The CIA also held two education sessions: the first featuring a panel of CIA members in non-traditional areas of practice. Thanks to Jamie Jocsak, Renée Couture, Dominic Bourbonnais, Annie Blais, and Rémi Villeneuve for their participation. Mr. Villeneuve also served as the CIA’s representative judge for the case competition.

Hot Seat Challenge Panel Discussion

The second session saw the return of the CIA Hot Seat Challenge panel discussion. This format encourages students to practise their communication and presentation skills by assuming the role of panellist to share their vision and hopes for the profession’s future. It also provides a relaxed forum for questions about the CIA, the profession, and general career advice. Each year, a few lucky students are selected to be featured on the CIA website. Watch for the profiles of these young professionals in the coming weeks. Thank you to Claude Ferguson, Chair of the Emerging Practices Committee, Board director Renée Couture, and Damien Lapointe Nguyen for the professional advice offered to the students within the session.

"Dear John" Career Advice Column

The CIA gala dinner is an annual event where the current CIA president-elect gives the keynote presentation. Each year, we try new formats and media to make it fun and interactive. Polling and word cloud generation are favourites, since attendees are actually encouraged to use their phones during the presentation.

This year’s theme was the “'Dear John' Career Advice Column”. CIA President-elect John Dark entertained the students with some personal anecdotes from his professional career, and shared a few contributions from CIA members. Thank you to Mark Campbell, Emily Kozlowski, Brant Wipperman, Caroline Rendall, and Harish Pawagi who responded to our December request for interview horror stories and career gaffes; your stories and career advice for students was invaluable.

A Strong Partnership

The CIA and ASNA updated our memorandum of understanding in December. The agreement lays out a few areas in which the CIA and ASNA have common interest and partnership. In addition to our support of the annual convention, the CIA supports ASNA throughout the year through use of our webcast platform, teleconference services, and French translation. In 2018, the long-awaited job portal will be launched, providing students and employers an integrated service for matching co-op opportunities and candidates. In addition, new services for CIA members will be available, including a résumé database and career postings.

Congratulations to 2017–2018 ASNA President Victor Wang, who exemplified professionalism throughout his term. We look forward to another great year in our relationship with ASNA, and to working with Haidar Imam, ASNA President for 2018–2019.

Consider Sharing Your Knowledge

From a staff perspective, there is no more rewarding way to kick-start a new year than in the great company of thoughtful CIA members and inspiring actuarial students. Thank you to my colleagues at the CIA Head Office who helped make the student experience a great one.

I encourage CIA members to get involved where possible, either by coming to a joint ASNA-CIA networking event (next one is in August 2018), by participating in the convention as an employer, or by helping out with an education session. I promise you will gain from the experience. In the words of Maya Angelou: When you learn, teach. When you get, give."

Alicia Rollo, CHRL, is the CIA’s director of education and professional development.


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