Volunteering for good – Q&A with the 2017 President’s Award recipient
1. You have volunteered with the Institute in many capacities for a long time. What drives you to do this?
The profession has provided me with so many career opportunities, it is a privilege to be able to support the profession in some way in return. At the same time, being able to influence public policy, especially in such an important area as retirement and the ageing, has been especially rewarding for me personally.
2. You were Convenor of the Superannuation Practice Committee (SPC) for nine years, what top three tips do you have on managing a successful committee?
It took me a little time to figure out how to best manage a Committee and to get the most out of it. One of the keys is to have great people around you on the Committee and to learn how to delegate responsibility for various aspects, to allow them the freedom to use their knowledge and experience to achieve the desired outcome. At times, there will be differing views around the table and among the profession, so it is very important to listen to all the different perspectives, find the common ground that is in the public interest, and identify a way forward that we can all agree on. Stakeholder management is therefore a very important role for any Convenor of a Committee.
3. Share one or two highlights of your experience as a Volunteer for the Institute?
One of the highlights of volunteering is being able to work with very experienced actuaries from other firms towards a common goal, on behalf of the profession and the community. After all, we always aim to influence public policy for the benefit of the community. While some things take longer than you would sometimes like, we have made some great progress recently in the regulatory environment for retirement income products. We are also continuing our work on enhancing the education and disclosure regime to improve the communities understanding of their personal retirement needs, the various risks involved and how to make good choices in the complex world of superannuation and financial products.
4. You were the recipient of the Presidents’ Award in the 2017 Volunteer of the Year Awards. What does this award mean to you?
It was very humbling to receive the President’s Award for my volunteer work with the Institute. It is not something you do for recognition, but it is good to know that your efforts make a difference and are appreciated. It was also a good opportunity to promote volunteering, as the Institute relies on the goodwill and efforts of its many volunteers to do everything it needs to do and to continue to make a difference in many public policy and professional areas.
5. What can the Institute improve to ensure its volunteers feel more supported and recognised?
I think the Institute already does a very good job in recognising the efforts of its volunteers. While more support would always be appreciated, it is difficult in a professional body like ours as we will always have limited resources – in order to keep our costs down. I think that the Institute does a really good job in finding the balance.
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