Introduce Yourself: Rosalind Gilbert

1. Why did you become an actuary?
I was strong in math and my Grade 11 math teacher brought his best friend, an actuary, in for career day. I wasn’t interested in teaching or research, but the actuarial careers seemed a good fit for me.

2. When you tell people you’re an actuary, what do they think you do?
It depends. Most people have never heard of it. I usually tell people I am a pension consultant rather than an actuary. Those that have heard of an actuary want to know how long they will live or why their car insurance premiums are so high!

3. Who has inspired you the most during your career? Did you have a mentor in your early career?
Early in my career, I was lucky to work with a number of experienced, senior actuaries. The one who had the most influence on me and who I consider my mentor was John Beaton. I worked with John for 20 years before he retired. He was a brilliant actuary with a great sense of humour, a fantastic consultant, and an innovative thinker. He could read an audience very well and was a great communicator. From him I learned to think outside the box, see the big picture, and approach issues from a practical perspective.

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really enjoy helping my clients manage their pension plans in the volatile economy. It is very rewarding to find solutions that have positive real-life impact on our clients’ employees. I love the people part of the job—working with pension committees and HR folks, and helping them make sense of the pension world.

5. What career would you follow if you weren’t an actuary?
I’d probably be a vet, a park ranger, or an organic farmer!

6. What are your hobbies?
Mountain biking, hiking, skiing, camping, kayaking, soccer, Search and Rescue, and anything involving my family.

7. What is your favourite music, book, and film?
I love a really wide variety of music—I currently have Joy Kills Sorrow and Trombone Shorty on my iPod, along with Kanye West, Billy Talent, Train, and Maroon 5! My favourite movie is Sound of Music. I am a voracious reader and would be hard-pressed to pick a favourite—I’m currently reading 419 by Will Ferguson.

8. Where is your dream vacation destination?
I recently discovered all-inclusive vacations with my family, which are pretty sweet, but I’d still rather be hiking or biking and camping in a remote wilderness setting with alpine lakes! I would love to do more travelling, too . . . Galapagos, Africa, Australia . . .

9. What do you do better than anyone you know?
I’m a peacekeeper: I read people well and can often help calm down tense situations . . . comes in handy with three teenagers!

10. If you could be anybody else, alive or dead, who would it be, and why?
I wouldn’t want to be anyone else, but would like to have more time to be me! It’s really hard to balance work and life. I’d like to have more time with family and friends, and more time to travel and volunteer.

Rosalind Gilbert, FCIA, FSA, is Associate Partner, Retirement Strategies, at Aon Hewitt, Vancouver.

If you would like to take part in Introduce Yourself, this link will take you to an English survey form. In the upper right corner, there is a selection box where you can choose to work on the English or French survey.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires