MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

Each month, we will feature a member of the Academy and share a glimpse into their professional and personal lives.

JANICE DUFF
Specialty: Life

WHAT LED YOU TO BECOME AN ACTUARY? AND WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE PROFESSION?

In college, I knew I loved my math classes even though I didn’t declare my major until my sophomore year. During a Mathematical Sciences Career Night, I learned about the actuarial profession and was intrigued. I enjoyed school and learning, and so I thought a career in which I could advance by taking exams would be rewarding. Although I had a few exam failures along the way, it turned out to be an excellent career choice for me. I stayed with The Baltimore Life Insurance Company my entire career, becoming its first female vice president. I worked with wonderful people who cared as deeply as I did about the company.


DESCRIBE A PROFESSIONALISM-RELATED CHALLENGE THAT YOU HAVE FACED IN YOUR CAREER. HOW DID YOU HANDLE IT?

In my valuation role, I was told by my superiors that they slept better at night knowing I was in charge. I considered that not only a compliment to me and the staff but a testament to the integrity of us all. Although we didn’t always see eye-to-eye, I didn’t hesitate to express my opinion in a professional way when it differed from that of others.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU WISH YOU WERE GIVEN WHEN YOU WERE AT THE BEGINNING OF YOUR CAREER?  

Recognize the importance of a work-life balance. I focused so much on exam progression and career advancement that at times I missed out on other valuable things.


TELL US ABOUT A TIME WHERE YOUR ACTUARIAL EXPERTISE INFLUENCED AN IMPORTANT DECISION IN YOUR WORKPLACE.  

In the beginning of my career, I worked on product development, pricing, and implementation. I loved the ability to create something that could benefit both the customers and the company. We soon realized the collaboration between the company’s sales and marketing areas and the outside marketing organizations needed to expand, so I became the company’s first marketing actuary and was the lead contact for several marketing organizations.

WHAT IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED IN YOUR CAREER?

I recently retired, and looking back on my nearly 35 years with the company has made me realize how blessed I was to work with truly talented and caring people. Yes, they were my coworkers—but they were and still are my friends. The expression “we are all in this together” has grown in use in the last few years, but truthfully it was the way we worked all along. So my biggest lesson would have to be this: Never underestimate the power and satisfaction of collaboration.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE ANYTHING ELSE WITH ASPIRING OR NEW ACTUARIES, OR THOSE INTERESTED IN VOLUNTEERING FOR THE ACADEMY?

I have served on the Life Committee of the Actuarial Standards Board since 2017 and recently became the chair of a newly formed task force. The experience has been wonderful—once again because of the care and talent of the people with whom I volunteer. Chances are good if you volunteer, you will have the same experience.


SHARE A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR HOBBIES OR OTHER PERSONAL INTERESTS?  

I love creating things. I am thinking about opening a craft business, making shadow boxes and other items to preserve memories of loved ones and significant events. I also enjoying baking and spending time with my family, friends, and my sweet 9-year-old rescue dog, Misty.

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SEE MORE

Meet: Zenaida Samaniego
Meet: Zenaida Samaniego

"Learning and keeping active are continuous and necessary to advance both in the profession and life in general."

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Meet: Sheldon Summers
Meet: Sheldon Summers

"Getting involved in one or more Academy work groups or committees will be an invaluable experience, and is a great way to make actuarial connections."

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Meet: Rhonda Ahrens
Meet: Rhonda Ahrens

"In 25 years, I can honestly say my job has never been boring. It has been complicated, intimidating, even frustrating, but I continue to learn and to find satisfaction in the topics that I continue to learn about."

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Meet: Zenaida Samaniego
Meet: Zenaida Samaniego

"Learning and keeping active are continuous and necessary to advance both in the profession and life in general."

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