Introduce Yourself - Ian Edelist


Ian Edelist

1. Why did you become an actuary?

My brother took actuarial science courses in university, and with a similar aptitude for numbers and interest in applied mathematics, I followed in his footsteps. From there, my great employment experience propelled me forward to qualification.

2. When you tell people you’re an actuary, what do they think you do?

They either think I have the most difficult job, since they know I deal with complex numbers, or they have no idea. I’ve been called everything from an "actuaryist" to an "actuarial".

3. Who has inspired you the most during your career? Did you have a mentor in your early career?

I have been fortunate to work with many extremely bright, business-savvy people who all shaped the way I do things in different ways, including David Howe, David Grace, and Pat Flanagan. The person who I continue to learn the most from is Jill Wagman, Eckler’s managing principal.

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love the consulting side of the job—in particular, explaining difficult concepts to people who don’t work with pensions day to day. I also really enjoy the ability to provide thought leadership and innovation internally and externally. Finally, it is really engaging running a practice and a business, for which I wasn’t formally trained but I am learning from my business partners.

5. What career would you follow if you weren’t an actuary?

Likely a teacher, or a famous guitar-wielding axeman.

6. What are your hobbies?

When I can, I like playing my electric guitar really loud—either by myself or as a band member. I also love travelling to new places.

7. What is your favourite music, book, and film?

If I were stuck on a (fully equipped) desert island, I would be listening to AC/DC’s Back in Black album, and reading a Michael Lewis book like The Big Short, after watching South Park – The Movie.

8. Where is your dream vacation destination?

Anywhere in Australia.

9. What do you do better than anyone you know?

Wiggle my ears.

10. If you could be anybody else, alive or dead, who would it be, and why?

Albert Einstein’s student. His students must have had great conversations with him as he was trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe.

Ian Edelist is a principal at Eckler.

Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires