February 2013

Issue Notes from the Editors

by Carlos Fuentes

The pipeline of committed volunteers in the Entrepreneurial Section is strong. Kevin Pledge, our recent past-chairman, accomplished a great deal and laid out ambitious plans for the future. Joeff Williams, our new chairman, has set up goals for our section and has been actively working on them. As you read his editorial you’ll find opportunities to collaborate and ways in which you can benefit from the ideas of professionals interested in building a strong entrepreneurial network.

Here are the thoughts we share with you in the current issue of The Independent Consultant:

  • With the exception of “strategy,” probably no other term is more abused in the business literature than “leadership”―abused because its meaning seems to morph with times and circumstances. However, as elusive as the concept might be, it is central to society, the business community and especially to entrepreneurs. With this in mind, and inspired by Jerry Enoch’s writing on aggressive leadership, The Entrepreneurial Section of the SOA decided to challenge its members to share their views on the subject. Is leadership power? Is it the ability to inspire? Is it all about results? We are glad to report that Kevin Pledge took the challenge seriously―we may say, he led the way―and wrote “Influential Leadership.” Do you agree with Jerry’s and Kevin’s points of view? Is there anything about these articles that resonates with your own experiences? We intend to eventually publish a collection of leadership articles to be shared with anybody interested in the subject.
  • Michael Frank writes about his experience as a professor at Columbia University and invites other actuaries to participate in the program. How many of you have applied to become an adjunct university professor? From my own experience I can say with confidence that it is not easy to compete in an environment where Ph.D. degrees are a condition―not a guarantee―for entrance. With that in mind, the opportunities described in the article should be of interest to many of us. Michael also writes about his participation at the Reinsurance Conference held in the Dominican Republic on October 2012. Are you interested in the international landscape? Read on.
  • Jay Vogt shares with us his views on receiving feedback. Do you remember how you reacted last time your supervisor told you something with which you disagreed, just to find out days or months later that you didn’t understand what she meant or she didn’t express herself clearly? What happened afterwards? What should you have done to make the exchange productive?

Are there ideas in this issue that resonate with you? Is there a topic that you would like to discuss? Can you remember advice that proved valuable in your career? Are there any “truths” that held you back in your career? Do you believe that success is the result of hard work or―to use actuarial lingo―a random event? We would like to hear from you.

Carlos Fuentes, FSA, MAAA, FCA, MBA, MS, is chief actuary and vice president at Delta Dental of Rhode Island. He may be reached at carlos_fuentes@aya.yale.edu.