Amid the COVID-19 disruptions, Estelle Pearson (Summit Organising Committee Convenor) and Jefferson Gibbs (Senior Vice President) speak about the commitment to deliver value to Members and successfully transitioning the 20/20 All-Actuaries Summit to a virtual event.
In the latest episode of the Actuaries Institute podcast, Institute Senior Vice President Jefferson Gibbs hosts Estelle Pearson, Convenor of the 20/20 All-Actuaries Virtual Summit, to discuss the tough decisions which were made to cancel the original Summit, the transition to a virtual event, and to outline the exciting program and how the Virtual Summit will be delivered.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on all aspects of business in Australia and around the world, with major events like the Olympic Games and many other mass gatherings being cancelled or postponed.
As Convenor of the organising committee for the Summit, Estelle Pearson had been closely monitoring the developing pandemic situation throughout early-2020 and weighing up its potential impact on the Summit.
“I was certainly getting phone calls from a number of the potential speakers at the Summit asking me whether the event would go ahead,” Estelle explained.
“I remember having a phone call with Hoa (Bui, President of the Actuaries Institute) on the 12th of March, discussing the potential cancellation of the event. Then the Institute obviously took that decision, and that was announced on the 13th of March.”
The Institute’s decision to cancel the Summit certainly wasn’t made lightly. The 2020 Summit would have seen all practice areas come together for the first time. The Summit provides the Institute Members with the chance to accumulate valuable CPD points, while also acting as a key networking platform.
Venture in the virtual world
Immediately following the Summit’s cancellation, the Institute began investigating alternatives to delivering not only the Summit, but the Institute’s many other Insight sessions, in order to continue delivering value to Members.
Within weeks, the Institute presented its first ever ‘Virtual Insights’ session before a record audience of over 400, focusing on the newly formed COVID-19 Working Group.
“I still think in the virtual environment, we can still get a lot of really good engagement and discussion going amongst the profession, as well as obviously providing valuable CPD for everyone,” Estelle said.
What are the key changes to the program?
While the content of the program is still being developed, Estelle outlined some of the logistical changes to the format of the Summit in its virtual move. Rather than running over three days, the Virtual Summit will run for close to a month from 3-28 August.
“We can’t go for three days and have concurrent sessions, and everyone glued to their screens for three days,” Estelle explained.
So, the new program will be made up of shorter, punchier 60-minute sessions, all of which can be re-watched after.
Each session will also have a Q&A component, ensuring participants are able to engage with the content and the plenary or concurrent speaker.
“We’ve actually had a number of the external speakers approach us to see whether the summit is still going ahead, and to express their desire to continue to contribute. We’re just looking at how we put those plenaries together in the new format,” Estelle outlined.
More details on the structure of the program will be provided in due course. The program will cater for actuaries from all backgrounds and different practice areas.
The Member registration price of $350 for the Summit represents great value for Institute members. However, recognising that the current COVID-19 environment may have had a negative impact on income for some members, the Institute is also offering a reduced registration option.
CPD: Actuaries Institute Members can claim two CPD points for every podcast listened to.