Introduce Yourself - Riley St. Jacques

1. Why did you become an actuary?

After graduating with a specialized degree in Finance and Mathematics, I was offered a summer internship at a consulting firm—I planned on starting a master’s in Mathematics the next year. I had never heard of actuarial science at the time but gave it a try, and loved it. I had an interest in mathematics and saw this as a viable career to continue to use math, get paid well, and earn a prestigious designation without having to go to graduate school.

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

Mostly they just have a puzzled look on their face or they say something to do with insurance.

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

My first set of bosses, John Crouse and Perry Dorgan. I continue to have mentors, and what surprises me most is that the mentors are not all actuaries—some are public speakers, consultants, and even comedians. It impresses me how they can hold on to a crowd’s attention for a full set.

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Teaching clients and making a difference in the financial security of others. I think we have a noble profession and we don’t recognize the value we provide society enough.

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

Architect—maybe I am just on trend with everyone else but I enjoy smart design and the concept of combining the visual elements with a practicality of use.

6. What are your hobbies?

Home renovations, furniture design, painting, and snowboarding. They are not hobbies but I also have two children—Isabel, who is four years old and Jordan, who is one—and they tend to be the highlight of my spare time.

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

Hip hop—Die Antwoord at the moment, The Hobbit, and Reservoir Dogs.

8. Where is your dream vacation destination?

It was climbing Manchu Picchu, but I did that in October of 2013! So the next dream is Maldives—gotta get there before it’s too late. The islands are at sea level and the sea level is rising.

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

Anyone I know . . . Interior design and maybe freestyle rapping, but that requires a few drinks first!

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

Banksy, for his notoriety, and he has an impact on changing the world through visual art.

Riley St. Jacques is senior consulting actuary and market leader, Western Canada, at PBI Actuarial Consultants.

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Canadian Institute of Actuaries/Institut canadien des actuaires