President’s Message By Kathy Antonello, FCAS

Voting — It Is Your Responsibility   

It is election time for the CAS — an important time of the year when we have the power to elect the directors who will determine the future of our organization. This is a fundamental privilege for our voting members. 

Each year, dedicated individuals step up to participate in the foremost volunteer effort our association offers: a three-year term on the CAS Board of Directors.  

I am taking this opportunity to describe what the board’s responsibilities are, but more importantly, what your responsibilities are as voting members — to be informed and to vote in this election. 

Board role and composition 

The position description of the CAS Board sets forth the purpose as follows: “Set policy; set strategic direction; establish, review and monitor long-term plans; and ensure that the appropriate financial and operational controls are in place.” It goes on to state: “Within this framework: all operational and administrative aspects of operations are the province of the Executive Council.” Note that the executive council includes the president, president-elect, the vice presidents and the CEO. The upcoming election will determine the president-elect and four new directors, who, along with the existing directors, are responsible for selecting the vice presidents and CEO. These are crucial charges, and it is vital that voting members make thoughtful choices on who should represent them on the board.  

CAS members come from diverse backgrounds and represent many stages along the actuarial career path. Our membership includes newly minted actuaries, seasoned professionals, career changers and retirees, to name a few. We work for many different kinds of organizations — big consulting firms, small insurance companies, insurtechs and government. We pride ourselves on the wide variety of industries we serve. We take on numerous roles — from consultant to executive and from analyst to director. The 15 elected board members represent this wide-ranging composition of our membership.  

Governance structure 

Ours is a representative form of governance. Board members are elected to lead and make decisions that we feel are best for the organization. The members choose the board, which in turn represents the members in the important matters listed above. A notable exception is an amendment to the CAS Constitution, which requires an affirmative vote of 10% of the Fellows or two-thirds of the Fellows voting, whichever is greater. 

Recently, in response to member feedback, the board has been more proactive about getting members’ input on the strategic direction of the CAS. We know we can do better in this area and we are committed to continuing this practice in the future. While the CAS strives to achieve wide-ranging member input, it is not always  feasible to get input on every decision the board has to make. That’s why board elections and voting for candidates that represent your viewpoint are so important!  

Voting — who, what and how  

CAS Fellows as well as Associates who have held their designations for five years or more are eligible to vote when online polling opens on August 1, 2022. This AR contains 100-word summaries written by the candidates. Even more information can be found on the CAS website’s “Meet the Candidates” section, which includes responses to questions submitted by members. This election marks the third year that we have used videos to help inform your vote, and I have found these videos to be a useful tool that gives insight beyond what the candidates have written. Please take advantage of all the information the candidates have provided. It is time well-spent to educate yourself about our future directors. 

There are many ways to select which candidates will receive your vote. 

One is name recognition. Maybe you have worked at their companies or they went to your school. Perhaps you recognize their names from their contributions to AR or the CAS website. You might know them from the research papers that they have written. Maybe you’ve volunteered with them or have seen them present at a meeting or seminar. These elements are commonly considered when voters cast their ballots for the CAS Board of Directors.  

Another is to understand what the candidates convey about the current and future direction of our organization. The “Meet the Candidates” section will help you determine how the candidates align with your vision for the future of the CAS. Some additional things to consider include the following: 

  • Are they promoters of the status quo and the historical standing of the organization or are they agents of change? 
  • Do they see value in strengthening actuaries’ positions in traditional roles? 
  • Are they focused on seeing actuaries progress in new areas? 
  • What could their working experiences bring to CAS governance? 
  • Gender, age, ethnic origin, business background, current employment status — do these items contribute to board diversity, and is that important to you?  
  • Are they supportive of the current strategic direction of the CAS or do they want to change that direction? 
  • Are they volunteers with strong institutional knowledge of the CAS or are they volunteers with innovative perspectives? Or are they a combination of both? 

Again, think about what’s important to you and where you want the CAS to go. This is your decision! The elected directors will ultimately represent you, and it’s important that you determine the candidates who will best serve your vision for the CAS. 

Thanks to our volunteers 

CAS volunteers are the heart of the organization and serving as a volunteer director is a major commitment of time and talent to our membership. We certainly have a lot of intelligent members who are up to the task. 

I commend and thank all the candidates who stepped up to run for the board. Elected or not, they each have made a commitment to the CAS that is of the highest order.  

Call to action 

Over the years, the CAS has had an impressive number of voters participating — averaging 34% over the last 10 years. In the association world, this percentage is enviable, but we are not satisfied with that figure. We want voter turnout to be much, much higher.  

I’d like to see that percentage rise considerably. Please help make this goal a reality.  

The candidates you choose will speak for you. Choose them on how well they align with your vision, for the future of the CAS.  

In short — inform yourself, and then go vote! 

Vote! 

Online voting opens on August 1, 2022, and closes on August 31, 2022. CAS members will be notified by email when voting begins. 

Read the candidates’ messages and view the videos available online to help you make the most informed decision possible. These leaders will shape the future of the organization, so take time to fully vet your decision. Learn all you can at the “Meet the Candidates” section, https://www.casact.org/about/leadership-and-staff/elections/meet-candidates. 

 

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