An Actuary Like Me – Julia Lessing

I belong to a respected profession that contributes to society in a way that can improve many people’s lives both now and in the future.

Julia is the principal actuary and Director of Guardian Actuarial, a boutique actuarial consultancy helping clients across a range of industries use data to solve complex people-oriented problems. She is leading a mission to foster forward-thinking leaders in the actuarial industry and runs the Guardian Actuarial Leadership Program to help actuaries build their management toolkits and leadership skills.

Why are you proud to be an actuary?

I belong to a respected profession that contributes to society in a way that can improve many people’s lives both now and in the future.

What is the most valuable skill an actuary can possess?

The ability to communicate with non-actuaries.

What is your advice for younger/rising actuaries?

For better or worse, nothing stays the same for very long! Enjoy the present, plan for the future and build a wide range of skills and connections to future-proof your career.  

Any other cities/countries you have worked in?

I have always worked in Australia, although I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to provide actuarial consulting services in the South Pacific and I’ve enjoyed working with actuaries around the world who have enrolled in my leadership programs.

What’s the most interesting trend for 2023?

The rise of generative AI and its increasingly mainstream use.

Where do you see the biggest growth opportunities for actuaries?

Actuaries are continuing to gain momentum helping Government agencies. I think this growth will be limited only by the size of the profession and our ability to articulate the ways we can help.

What is your favourite random fact?

I love the 1% principle – the idea that a 1% increase every day results in a 37% increase over a year. I’m a pretty driven (impatient??) person, so I find it comforting to remember that even small daily improvements add up to big changes over time.

What is on your bucket list?

I’d like to write a book.

If you had millions of dollars, what would you do every day?

If I didn’t need to engage in income-producing activities, I’d invest my time in learning new skills and using them to help others.

If you lived 500 years in the future, what do you think your profession would be?

Let’s first ensure we can successfully address climate change so that there is still an inhabitable Earth in 500 years’ time…

What’s the phone app you use most?

It’s probably a close race between Messages, WhatsApp and Camera. I seem to spend a lot of time recording videos and sending messages!

What do you do to recharge each day?

On weekdays I like to recharge by drinking tea and chatting with my husband. On weekends, I like to get outside in nature to recharge.

What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies?

My fourth (and youngest) child is almost 18 and recently got her drivers’ licence. I’m enjoying my newfound freedom by riding my motorbike, stand-up paddle boarding, camping and generally enjoying being able to leave the house without having to find a babysitter.

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