CAS & NAWA Highlight Two Inspiring Female Actuaries

As we celebrate Women’s History Month in March, the Casualty Actuarial Society and the Network of Actuarial Women and Allies interviewed Julie Joyce, FCAS, senior vice president and chief corporate actuary at Travelers and Janet Lindstrom, FCAS, executive vice president and chief transformation officer for Arch Insurance North America. Thank you, Julie, and Janet, for the honor! 

 Interview with Julie Joyce, FCAS 

How did you get into the actuarial profession?  

I loved math since high school and my parents had a couple of friends who were actuaries, so they directed me to the career. From there I went to Drake University (Iowa) where they had a big actuarial program,. I majored in actuarial science, did some internships, and finally found out that I really liked the career. 

 Did being a woman impact your entry into the profession? If so, how?  

I graduated about twenty years ago from college, which was a completely different time. There were instances when I met people that said, “Oh you’re a girl and you like mathematics?” I never let that bother me because I found math interesting. But once I entered the work force and saw how male-dominated the actuarial science community is, it did surprise me. Although there have been a lot of cases in my career where I have been the only woman on my team or in a meeting, I learned that I still have a lot of allies. 

 What does Women’s History Month mean to you? Do you have a personal tradition or any specific way you celebrate/recognize the month?  

Travelers had an amazing line up of diversity activities in March for us. In fact, I am hosting an event at Travelers for Women’s History Month. In the past, on International Women’s Day, I have gone out to dinner with a group of work colleagues (Pre-COVID). Post- COVID, we have done something small online for International Women’s Day. 

Do you think the CAS prioritizes diversity?  

 Yes. I think they have especially focused a lot on it for the past couple of years, which is great! When I look at some of the infographics that the CAS has published recently, it is clear to me that within the industry we have some opportunities to attract more women to the career. It is difficult because there are so many careers that we compete against in the data analytics field. The question remains, how do we make actuarial science appealing and attract people to actuarial science, data analysis and other fields too? There is more that can be done in terms of diversifying the profession. 

Do you have a relationship with/ or feel a sense of community with other female actuaries?  

At Travelers, we have a professional network called “The Women in Actuarial Analytics.” – a network solely focused on women that are in actuarial analytics careers. It is a chance for us to grow and connect with other females and allies in data analytics fields. I also mentor other female actuaries at the company, where I participate in one-on-one relationship building. I think as women, we need to encourage and help each other grow.  There are a lot of opportunities with mentoring and spending time with other female actuaries. That is what is important to help the women in this field. 

 Interview with Janet Lindstrom, FCAS 

How did you get into the actuarial profession?  

In high school when I began to narrow down my interest for a potential major, once I determined that it was Mathematics, I came to a temporary pause as I was not interested in teaching but really liked the courses. I did some research, learned about the actuarial field, and knew it was for me! 

Did being a woman impact your entry into the profession? If so, how?  

Not at all – I appreciated that actuarial exam progression paired with actuarial work was the route for advancement for anyone. 

What does Women’s History Month mean to you? Do you have a personal tradition or any specific way you celebrate/recognize the month?  

I have always been an avid reader about women leaders, with curiosity about what led them to their role and how they navigate through challenges they encounter. During Women’s History Month, I especially appreciate the additional focus articles and spotlights provided so I and others can continue learning. I also am part of my company’s Women & Allies Employee Network with extra sessions highlighted during the month. 

Do you think the CAS prioritizes diversity?  

Yes, I do think the CAS prioritizes diversity, and that it continues to expand/increase a focus on diversity. As chair of the Member Advisory Panel, I can see in the surveys that we have run (or are planning to run) on behalf of many parts of the CAS, there is clear attention to and consideration for diversity. 

Do you have a relationship with/ or feel a sense of community with other female actuaries?  

I am not part of a specific group of female actuaries that meets periodically, but I do enjoy trading notes with other female actuaries I have met throughout my career. We can always learn from and support each other. 

 You can learn more about the Network of Actuarial Women and Allies at their website, nawaactuaries.org. 

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