How to Run for the Board of the CAS if You are Young and Unafraid

I think that we need more young people on the Board of the CAS. The Board demographics should mimic the membership demographics – after all, we are representing you, and your point of view. We have a lot of young members, never mind our other large body of stakeholders: our candidates. This isn’t reflected at the Board level.

So, let’s say you’re a young and energetic CAS volunteer. Why would you want to be on the Board?

  1. You get to have a say in all the important decisions affecting the CAS. You are helping to shape the profession at the highest level. As a volunteer, this is a very good use of your time.
  2. You get to hone your leadership skills. All the Board members are leaders and you learn from them and also learn to be heard amongst them.
  3. With four in-person board meetings a year, you get to make friends with the other board members and executive council, who are generally great people to be friends with, on both a personal and professional level.

OK, so now that you’re convinced, I’m sure you’re asking: How do you get on the Board?

  • You do need some sort of CAS profile, because to get on the Board you’ll need around 500 of your closest actuarial friends to vote for you. How do you raise your CAS profile? You could volunteer a lot, speak at conferences and write papers. Get your name out there. It’s a lot of work, but certainly rewarding. Presumably you’re not doing this just to get on the Board of the CAS…
  • So if you find yourself moderately well-known in actuarial circles, then please consider running for the Board. I was asked to run for the Board, but I really wish I had thought of it myself. Don’t under-estimate yourself. You just have to be moderately well-known. If you’re not asked to run by the Nominating Committee, no worries – you can submit a petition to be placed on the ballot, signed by at least 1% of the Fellows (44 in 2014).
  • Find someone who has run for the Board before to give you some tips. I was told very kindly by a former Board member that I looked 15 in the original photo I used to run for the Board. This was promptly changed.
  • Unfortunately – because this is not a typical actuarial trait – you have to be unafraid. The vote count is published for everyone to see.

For those of you who had never considered it, I hope this plants a seed in your mind.

What advice do others have for preparing for Board service? Or if you are considering a run at the Board, what questions do you have about the process? I welcome you to leave a comment below.


About Jessica Leong

Jessica Leong, FCAS, is Immediate Past Chair of the CAS Board of Directors.

3 Responses to How to Run for the Board of the CAS if You are Young and Unafraid

  1. My observation is that many CAS members only vote for names they recognize, which leads to fewer young actuaries getting elected. Hence part of this blog should also be directed to the CAS voting public. Should the CAS election process help raise the visibility of candidates in general? (And can this be done in a way that avoids making the candidancy a burden for the candidate and the CAS?)

  2. avatar Pat Teufel says:

    Thanks so much for raising this topic. I agree with your observation that the CAS needs less seasoned actuaries who are willing to serve on the Board. Ralph points out the most significant hurdle: name recognition. Individuals can do a lot to get their names recognized — volunteer for some strategic initiatives, contribute in a meaningful way, and actively request the support of your network — both those that you work with and those who know you from your volunteer efforts. The CAS also needs to look at ways to raise the visibility of all candidates.

  3. avatar Robin Li says:

    Well said, Jessica, I particularly like the unafraid part. The name recolonization is crucial in the current CAS election process. I admit that there are many ways to get your name out there. However, we have to realize that the limitation that young candidates face in their early career to do certain activities, such as speaking at a conference or publishing a paper. Not all employers embrace those.

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