CIA (e)Bulletin/(e)Bulletin de l'ICA
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September 2016

Achieving our Goals and Accomplishing More: Thoughts from our New President

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By Dave Dickson, FCIA
CIA President

The CIA Board sets priorities and makes strategic decisions. These decisions are implemented by Head Office staff and volunteers. One of the roles of the CIA’s President is to work with our Executive Director, Head Office staff, councils, and committees to implement the Board’s decisions. So if the President has goals, he or she works with the Board to set priorities for them and then staff and volunteers to implement, if they have been approved by the Board.

My top three goals are all foundational, in that once implemented, it will become easier for us to achieve other goals so that we can become a better organization and accomplish more.

#1: Restructuring

We are looking at the CIA’s governance from the Board level all the way down to our councils and committees. We have hired a consultant to work with us to identify potential changes and then implement those the Board approves. The CIA works well today but I think there are opportunities for us to improve our governance so that we become even better. The Board’s Governance Committee will present the results of its work with the consultant at the Board’s September meeting; the Board plans to make implementation decisions at the December meeting.

Restructuring should result in a more efficient CIA and also one where volunteer roles will be more interesting.

#2: Engagement and Communications

One of my roles is to spend time with members at meetings, actuarial club visits, employer visits, etc. I have come away with the feeling that many of our members are not engaged with the CIA and also that our communications with members can be improved. We have started work measuring member engagement and thinking about our communications. The Board will receive a report at its September meeting and will then decide next steps. I want members to feel more engagement with the CIA.

#3: Volunteers

We have an army of about 500 volunteers who do great things for the CIA. But I feel we can manage our volunteers better and also create more opportunities for members to volunteer. In my travels, many newer members have indicated that they would like to volunteer with the CIA early in their careers. We need to reach out and create opportunities for all of our members, but especially our newer ones. We have created a new Volunteer Management and Development Committee that has developed a list of recommendations that the Board has seen and approved. The Board will receive an update on implementation at its September meeting. I would like to see more and better opportunities for members to volunteer and for us to do a better job helping members manage their volunteer careers.

Why the CIA is Important

The CIA is the national organization for Canadian actuaries and associates. It exists to serve the public and our members. We provide many valuable services for the public; discussing them all would be a separate article.

For our members I feel we provide a lot of benefits including the following:

  • Membership in a professional organization. Employers recognize this and I think it makes us more valuable to them through our professional standards, rules of professional conduct, continuing professional develpment, discipline process, etc.
  • Volunteer opportunities.
  • Research such as Canadian experience studies and the work of many of our committees such as the task force studying mortality improvement.
  • Continuing professional development opportunities.
  • Networking through meetings, committees, and other events.
  • International engagement. Through the International Actuarial Association we are involved with important issues such as setting international standards, international education requirements, etc. We also work closely with U.S. and other actuarial organizations in various fields such as research and education. These relationships bring value to the CIA and its members.

Personally, I have been a volunteer with the CIA for a number of years starting out on a committee and working my way up to your President. I have enjoyed this relationship tremendously. I have made many friends through the CIA, been challenged with the volunteer work that I have done, and it’s also been a great networking opportunity. As a pricing actuary one time, I was having trouble sorting out a technical issue with a product being developed; a quick call to someone I met through the CIA solved my issue.

September Board Meeting

Normally the Board meets four times a year, all one day meetings. In September we have expanded our meeting to one and a half days because of the large number of issues we need to discuss. In addition to the items mentioned above, we will also review our strategic plan. I feel it’s important that members pay attention to the CIA’s strategy and other important initiatives and follow their progress. The implementation of these important goals will change the CIA and make it a more effective organization. I am very much looking forward to our September Board meeting, and plan to provide a video update shortly afterwards.

Dave Dickson, FCIA, is President of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.


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