2018. It’s been a big year for the Social Networking Actuaries Group (SNAG). Our first full year in operation, and it’s been a busy one. After much searching, we found our acronym (because every highly successful, high powered group needs a catchy acronym!).
We put a survey out and were absolutely blown away by the number of people who gave us quality and thoughtful feedback. We created our dedicated SNAG mailing list that people have actually wanted to join (you too can join, just click here!)
And we have held events. Morning events. Lunch events. After work events. Events in Sydney. Events in Melbourne. And last month, our first event in Brisbane! Some of them haven’t been all that successful, like that Melbourne Coffee Catch Up where only two of our committee members turned up. Who would have thought Melbournians wouldn’t want to catch up over coffee?!
But some have exceeded even our highest expectations. And not just that people turned up, although that is certainly a measure of success. But those that have attended, have all had really positive things to say about the event, our committee, our whole approach. And then they’ve attended the next event, and brought a friend or colleague. To paraphrase a friend of mine who was at our last event, it’s been great to see the ‘repeat attendees’ really start to make genuine connections. To witness those networks actually grow, right in front of you, has been an incredibly positive experience.
If you haven’t attended a SNAG event yet, or if you still haven’t heard of us, our goal is to help actuaries network with other actuaries (although, full disclosure, we do occasionally get non-actuaries attending our events, and we don’t discriminate!). We are not targeted at a particular demographic, in fact, we believe that networking works best with groups that are diverse in age, gender, experience and expertise. And we do this by organising casual, social events where everyone is welcome.
Last year, we have held early morning coffee catch ups, casual lunch meetups, trivia nights and after work drinks events. And our wonderful committee have helped me out by writing a little summary of what we’ve gotten up to.
A somewhat rainy Tuesday night last May saw the first SNAG trivia night hosted in Sydney. 2 tables of actuaries (and aspiring actuaries!) competed against each other, and the other patrons for a bar tab and obviously bragging rights!
Starting at 7pm, but with happy hour running only until 6.30, had an early turnout from most attendees. This also gave everyone time for introductions and a bit of chat before the competition began.
While we were all pretty confident in our skills, half time results showed a not so rosy picture. Knowing that the questions would just get harder from that point, everyone took it a little easier, and we even switched up between the 2 tables to allow us to get to know others. Overall, the night was a great success and a fun time for all. The next trivia night in Sydney will be in February 2019, so keep a look out!
- Neeharika Prasad, Ernst & Young
Fingers on the buzzers…
The pub trivia nights organised by the Melbourne SNAG committee have proven to be some of our most popular events so far, with over 15 members showing up each time to test their knowledge.
Adopting a multiple-choice system where a speedy answer counts for more points and an incorrect one loses points, our quiz masters have certainly kept us on our toes. After settling into tables, ordering food, and assigning all-important team names, each night has consisted of four rounds of questions with topics ranging from simple sorting to music clips to ancient history. In between rounds hilarious challenges such as air-guitar championships have been offered for a chance to win bar prizes.
At each event so far our members have put in a strong showing, even going so far as to take out first place on one occasion and picking up a hefty bar voucher (plus incalculable glory) for their efforts! As we move into 2019, trivia nights will definitely be on the calendar of events – be sure to keep an eye out!
- Ben Locke, Taylor Fry
Coffee Catch Ups
After the many well attended coffee catch ups in Sydney, we decided to make the event more regular, on the same day of each month, and at the same venue. Starting from September last year we started holding coffee catch ups on the second Tuesday of each month.
At the coffee catch ups, the setting is informal allowing you to meet new people in a non-intimidating environment. You are also likely to bump into people you know or one of the regular SNAG organisers. Here is what Li Deng one of our regular coffee attendees have to say:
“I found the Social Networking Actuaries Group through Meetup, when I was trying to find a place to improve my professional communication skills. It is a nice occasion for us to meet up with people from different companies and share career experience and views on industry topics. I enjoy the catch-ups a lot because people are very friendly, such as Kim, John, Bill and more.”
As a bonus, because we are on the Meetup platform, we often get the opportunity to meet people outside the actuarial industry who join the coffee catch up because they want to learn about what actuaries do.
We are taking a short break over the festive season and will start the coffee catch ups again on Tuesday 12th February 2019, 8-9AM at 50 Carrington St, Green Bean Espresso Café.
- John Low, Skilful
Our regular lunch event in Melbourne has been held at Vapiano, an Italian restaurant on Flinders Lane.
Although it is a restaurant, the way the venue works allows SNAG attendees to come and go as they please which is especially convenient for those with busy schedules. The casual setting also means people attending the event have been able to move around the tables to socialise and network with everybody.
These elements along with the delicious variety of food available has made these lunch events very popular.
We welcome all interested actuaries to come along and join the fun – it’s a fantastic way to break up the busy work day, and an excellent way to meet new people in this niche community.
- Ian Le, am Actuaries
After Work Drinks
We’ve hosted 5 after work drinks events in Sydney since SNAG started. Our first was in November 2017 at Ryan’s Bar, which had a great turn out including a few interstate people, a mini-book launch and lots of networking.
We went to the Sussex Hotel near Barangaroo in March 2018, and being just before Easter, a lot of people were busy planning for their long weekend and the turnout was a little smaller. We followed this up with a couple of post exam results drinks at Custom’s House in June/July.
We finished the year back where we started at Ryan’s Bar – although the weather was not so kind (in the East Coast Low kind of way), so we relocated last minute to Customs House. We still had a great turn out, and a fun night was had by all.
We’re looking forward to seeing more of you in the New Year at our next after work drinks event in Sydney!
- Kim Hoddinott, IAG
After work drinks are definitely the winner this year in the ‘how many attendees did I get’ category! We’ve held three after work drinks last year down here in Melbourne, and they have just gotten better and better.
We sent our actuaries down a small, city laneway to what looks like a dead end, into the small but well set up Whitehart Bar. A food truck parked out front provided sustenance when one drink turned into a night out for many. The outdoor seating area the perfect place to relax on a pleasant, (nearly) summer afternoon.
And the company, a lovely mix of regular attendees and new faces. Aspiring young actuaries and their slightly more experienced colleagues. Born and bred Melbournians and recently arrived, international actuaries. Consultants and corporates. It is the perfect environment for catching up with old friends, making new connections, relaxing after a busy (or not so busy) day. This year, we will be holding a drinks event every quarter, so be sure to watch out for those dates!
- Leonie Semmens, PricewaterhouseCoopers
We have had an amazing 2018 and we are hoping to continue the fun in 2019. We have already locked in the following events, which we hope to see some of you at:
After work drinks – Start the year off with a summer drink on January 30
Weekend BBQ – Bring the whole family for an afternoon out on February 10
Trivia – Test your trivia skills on March 20
And there’ll be more! Join us on Meetup to be the first to know what’s coming up. See you in 2019!
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