2020 Recipients of the Outstanding Volunteer Award
We have all had the experience of working with an outstanding volunteer-one whose contributions exceed expectations and go well beyond the responsibilities of the position. Individuals who receive this award for their outstanding service contribute to superior performance, demonstrate team collaboration and effective communication, take on leadership roles, and serve as an inspiration to others.
Deana K. Bell, FSA, MAAA
Deana has taken on new activities to further support and augment the Health Section and Health Meeting committee's efforts to offer the best possible content. She adapted to the impacts of COVID-19 and led the efforts to convert the Health Meeting to a fully virtual event, in addition to working on the ElderTech Summit. Deana has shown how flexible and open to new ideas she is to highlight the Health Virtual Meeting and in turn the annual National Volunteer Week.
Janet E. Duncan, FSA, MAAA, FCAS
After signing up as an item writer for General Insurance exams, Janet quickly emerged as a leader based on her extensive experience and ability to translate it into candidate questions. She spent extra time reviewing questions written by others and become the Exam Chair’s go-to person. She worked with the SOA on getting SOA Fellows in the General Insurance track to be recognized by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Zhenping (Bonny) Fu, FSA
Ernst & Young
Bonny has worked over 20 years in the life and consulting industry and has been a significant contributor to the SOA. He has been practicing his belief that actuaries should not only accomplish their professional goals, but also devote to taking on social duties. Bonny joined the SOA China Committee in 2018, and has been actively supporting the work. He helped the SOA by leveraging his knowledge and industry relationships. He also deeply cares about the younger generation of actuaries and students.
Brenna R. Gardino, FSA, MAAA
Actuarial Resources Corporation
Brenna has served on the Modeling Section as a council member, Vice chair/Chair and now friend of the council, and has been a friend of the council for both the Tax Section and Small Company Section. She also volunteered to help with both Life & Annuity Symposium planning and as a section newsletter co-editor. She has been helpful in mentoring newer volunteers. Brenna actively spreads positive messaging about the SOA and sections to the community.
Jennifer L. Gillespie, FSA, MAAA
Jennifer facilitates APCs, FACs and final Professionalism courses for candidates. She is chair of the Professionalism Education Management Committee (PEMC), and she has been a guiding force in the creation of new remote learning courses for APC and FAC due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jennifer has led weekly meetings of the group since early April and the work is constant and continues through the year. Jennifer currently serves as Professionalism General Officer in the Education system and as the SOA representative to a multi-organizational Professionalism Council.
Jill Harper, FSA, CERA, FCIA
Jill has served as an SOA speaker at a major student conference, been an SOA case study competition judge, chaired multiple SOA research project oversight groups, hosted an SOA podcast, and served as vice-chair of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries’ Research Executive Council. Jill raised our SOA profile with actuarial students in Canada by representing the SOA at a major student conference, the Actuarial Students' National Association.
Alex Knights, FSA, EA
Willis Towers Watson
Alex stepped into the role of chair of the Joint Committee on Career Encouragement and Diversity in 2019, and then as co-chair of Career Encouragement division of the Joint Committee on Inclusion, Equity and Diversity in 2020. He pushed forward outreach efforts of the group into new avenues, while serving as a sounding board and mentor to the newer members in the group. Alex has also led the efforts in expanding the High School Actuarial Day program to new regions and schools.
Jing Lang, FSA, FCIA
Jing is a co-editor of the SOA Reinsurance Section’s newsletter. Jing single-handedly initiated and implemented a podcast program for both the Reinsurance Section and the Marketing and Distribution Section. She creates, manages and maintains these podcast series along with videos. She has created a positive image for the SOA by presenting outstanding actuaries to the actuarial community and the public.
Jacqueline (Jackie) Lee, FSA, MAAA
Jackie is the current chair of the SOA Health Section Council and has helped create a large volume of valuable, innovative, and current educational content, including her recording many of the SOA Health's podcasts. She is also an active participant in the Financial Reporting subgroup. Jackie puts in a lot more hours than expected in creating amazing continuing education content for our Health community. She is involved in a lot of the content/execution, idea generation, and support of the Council.
Tony Phipps, FSA, MAAA
Tony has gone above and beyond in every role he has taken on - either leadership role or Project Oversight Group member role. Tony has outperformed at every level. He has a been selfless enough to have offered his company's services to test out alternative ideas for data loads so as to try and make the ultimate data collation and submission process easier for all other participating companies.
Max J. Rudolph FSA, MAAA,CERA
Max serves as a key member of our Research Communications Oversight Group (RCOG) and Research Executive Committee (REC). Max has greatly exceeded our initial goal of more broadly communicating the outputs of SOA research work to members, employers and stakeholders all around the world. He has created new methods and brainstormed ways for the SOA to get recognition in major trade publications and news outlets and through engaging social media. He volunteered to review our COVID19 research briefs, suggest new topics and most importantly help us focus on the ways the virus was impacting financial and investment concepts within the actuarial profession.
Joel K. Sklar, ASA, MAAA
In October, Joel retired from Prudential after over 40 years of service. He has been a very active, committed, and energetic volunteer for the Experience Studies area of research since 2003. Most notably, he has been a member of the Individual Annuity Experience Committee (IAEC) since 2003, and chair since 2014. Joel was invited to serve on the Strategic Research Program Initiative's Aging and Retirement Steering Committee because of his vast knowledge with individual annuities. He is very engaged with this work and provides consistently insightful feedback and thought leadership.
Kenneth S. Vande Vrede, FSA, MAAA
Ken has spent hundreds and hundreds of hours shoring up the new curriculum. After the ASA changed its exam structure a few years ago, Ken went above and beyond by scrutinizing each individual article candidates being tested on, balancing subject areas for new candidates, suggesting and sometimes working with others to create new materials, coordinating the development of excel models for candidates to learn from and more. He went above and beyond with reorganizing exams - finding new materials, creating new excel models for candidates to learn from, working with authors of materials and FSA staff, and determining how to improve the exam curriculum.
Zhikang Yan, FSA
China Taiping Insurance Group
Zhikang is an active long-term actuarial volunteer. He has worked over 20 years in the life industry and has been a significant contributor of SOA. Since he joined the SOA China Committee in 2018, he has been actively supporting our work, in particular at the Shanghai area. He has been eager to take on more voluntary work and has been proactively contributing ideas and taking initiatives on SOA work. Zhikang is a highly dedicated and engaging member, a strong supporting leader, and an invaluable asset for the organization.