Each month, we will feature a member of the Academy and share a glimpse into their professional and personal lives.
SUSAN LYNN MATEJA
WHY DID YOU BECOME AN ACTUARY?
In my early 40s, my husband decided to switch careers and left a very good job. I was a stay-at-home mother with a son in the 7th grade. I now needed to work. I called my sister and asked her, “What can an old lady do?” She said that because I was good at math—I was a math teacher in the past—I should try the actuarial profession. I said “Fine, what is it?”.
DESCRIBE A CHALLENGE YOU HAVE OVERCOME.
Just getting hired—I wasn’t a typical actuarial student in 1994. I kept getting turned down, so I changed my strategy for interviewing. I can’t believe it worked; I got hired as an actuarial student for Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield in Indianapolis.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST ABOUT BEING AN ACTUARY?
I retired from Humana as their Appointed Actuary. I didn’t realize it until later, but I was always meant to be an actuary. You can pursue so many different paths as an actuary. 20s: teacher, 30s: stay-at-home mom, 40s: actuarial student with BCBS, 50s: pricing actuary at Humana, 60s: Humana’s Appointed Actuary, along with participating in the international actuarial organizations including speaking, writing, and leadership.
SHARE SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF.
I play tennis competitively and received a bronze medal in the Senior Olympics in 2017 and have represented Kentucky numerous times in the Senior Cup. I am also a golfer (not so competitive). I have just completed tutoring some high school math students (helping them learn from home per COVID-19). I am a grandmother to a 3-year-old grandson and have been married for 48 years. I have also been very supportive of the arts, especially the opera.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU SHARE WITH YOUNG ACTUARIES?
You have to like what you do. Faking it doesn’t work for me. But you also need balance, so take care of your health, your spirit, and your brain. Remember to show and tell your loved ones that you love them.