Success at the 2014 Convention of the Actuarial Students National Association

By Jason Vary, FCIA

This month the Actuarial Students National Association (ASNA) annual convention welcomed a record 550 students to Toronto and broke all previous sponsorship and employer participation records. The convention, which is 100 percent organized and executed by full-time university students from across Canada, is a stellar example of effective planning, collaboration, and cohesive teamwork. Hopefully one day these bright, motivated, and passionate future actuaries will be CIA volunteers.

On the opening day, January 3, convention activities included a career fair, a professional panel, and a CIA-hosted student lounge. Special thanks to Thomas Hinton, Jamie Jocsak, and CIA President-elect Jacques Tremblay, who gave their time to join me at the Institute’s booth and in the lounge to meet with students and offer career advice and information about the CIA. Additional thanks to Rob Stapleford, who represented the Institute in a professional panel discussion hosted by Munich Re. CIA Executive Director Michel Simard also attended, along with resident actuary Chris Fievoli; Joseph Gabriel, staff actuary, education; Kelly Fry, marketing specialist; and Alicia Rollo, director of membership, education, and professional development. They met and networked with the students and provided information about the CIA.

On January 4, the Institute hosted two career-oriented panel discussions. Our gratitude goes to Kelley McKeating and André Choquet, who participated in the French panel discussion moderated by Joseph Gabriel, and to Johanne Papillon, Jamie Jocsak, and Ralph Ovsec, who participated the English session moderated by Chris Fievoli.

Saturday’s activities culminated with a passionate keynote presentation by M. Tremblay. Following an overview of his priorities as incoming President for 2014–2015 and a look at the Institute’s strategic direction, an engaging video montage provided career advice from several CIA members, as well as entertaining anecdotes about their early career days and the trials and tribulations of passing actuarial exams. The CIA extends its sincere thanks to Jean-Claude Ménard, chief actuary, Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions; Alan Ryder, CEO, Aurigen Reinsurance; Faisal Siddiqi, principal and consulting actuary, Buck Consultants; Sharon Giffen, president, Foresters; and Rémi Villeneuve, chief actuary, Agriculture Canada, for their contribution to this special initiative.

To watch the full video, click here.

ASNA President Lambert Leduc had this to say about the keynote presentation: "Jacques Tremblay’s speech was truly inspiring and informative. He was able to clarify a lot of questions that actuarial students tend to ask themselves, especially concerning the University Accreditation Program. With a slight touch of humor, Jacques also shared with us some actuarial career advice from which students will definitely learn a lot!"

The CIA is a proud supporter of the convention and values its strategic partnership with ASNA, which spans the association’s 24-year history. In 2015, when the CIA celebrates its 50th anniversary, ASNA will celebrate its 25th, providing further opportunities for ASNA–CIA collaboration in our shared milestone year.

The CIA encourages all Canadian employers of actuaries to get involved and support the ASNA convention, which is funded primarily through sponsorship. In addition to providing value to students, the event is a unique opportunity to identify and recruit future talent.

The location of the 2015 ASNA convention will be announced in the spring of 2014. Watch for more information in the CIA announcements, or visit

Jason Vary, FCIA, is Chair of the Eligibility and Education Council.

Numerous actuaries and Head Office staff made sure the CIA enjoyed a strong presence at the convention.

From left, Executive Director Michel Simard and President-elect Jacques Tremblay with ASNA president Lambert Leduc.

Besides the CIA, employers as well as other actuarial organizations, including the Casualty Actuarial Society and Society of Actuaries, were present.

Thomas Hinton, left, and Chris Fievoli, centre, were among the CIA representatives who talked to students from across Canada.

CIA President-elect Jacques Tremblay addressing the audience of students interested in actuarial careers. Picture courtesy of ASNA.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires