MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

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

STEPHEN STROMMEN
Specialty: Life

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

My high school math teacher suggested it. Professional respect and good compensation were attractive, along with the chance to apply my math skills.

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

Regulatory financial reporting requirements can be burdensome, and resources are tight. Resources sometimes verge on inadequate. I had to assure myself that regulatory intent was being satisfied, while continually working to do more with less.

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

Decide affirmatively what kind of career you want. If you are a competent actuary and have interpersonal skills, you will likely have opportunities to move into management positions beyond the actuarial sphere. If such opportunities are attractive to you, then actively pursue them—they won’t fall in your lap as easily as early actuarial advancement by exams. But not everyone finds such opportunities attractive and it’s OK not to. Know yourself and decide early.


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

During the 1980s, many life insurers segmented their general account portfolios to better match asset and liability risks by product line. With my actuarial expertise, I was able to play a key role in the segmentation process, from initial recommendation to drafting the segmentation plan to implementing the needed financial reporting process.

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

As in poker, know when to fold. Know when you’ve lost an argument and a decision has been made over your objections. Don’t continue to argue; make plans for dealing with it.

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

Volunteering for the Academy is a great way to meet other actuaries who care deeply about using their knowledge and skills to make the world a better place. I’ve met and shared a mission with some remarkable people that way.


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

I started college as a music major but switched majors after seriously considering career prospects. Now being mostly retired from a successful actuarial career, I’m going back to my love of music. I’ve played the cello as a side hustle all my life, but now I’m polishing my piano skills.

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SEE MORE

Meet: Bruce Friedland
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Meet: Janice Duff
Meet: Janice Duff

"Recognize the importance of a work-life balance."

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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: Bruce Friedland
Meet: Bruce Friedland

"Do not ignore the soft skills. Technical training and exams can get you a long way up the corporate ladder, but only so far."

press to zoom
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