SOA Sections in 2011: Where Are We Headed?

By Meg Weber, SOA Director of Section Services

Meg Did you know that within the SOA are 19 grassroots communities? We call them sections.

Sections are professional interest groups formed around common issues related to an area of practice or special interest. For an overview, from Actuary of the Future to Taxation, here are the missions of our sections.

One by one, the sections were created by individuals who had a vision. And the creativity did not end with their establishment. The energy and resourcefulness of section volunteers drives the development of sessions for our meetings, our seminars and our webinars. They publish, contribute to research, and support networking, whether it is face-to-face or using technology like LinkedIn. SOA members join sections because they enjoy the benefits of these efforts and that extra “informed insider” edge they need to stay relevant in the market.

Even if they don’t have the time to actively participate, many members join sections to be a part of the community and help via their section dues to fund important actuarial initiatives in their areas of interest.

In short, section membership offers a range of participation levels—from simply keeping current with industry trends, to leading or volunteering with section activities. When you receive your 2011 dues notice in November, I hope you will consider a section membership if you aren’t already a member.

For a review of how sections got to where they are today, check out my article, “The Sections – Greatest Hits 1981-2010” in The Actuary. Although I have been working with our sections for several years, I still learned a lot in writing it! I thought about membership and leadership in the days before e-mail, webinars and conference calls. I wondered what it felt like and what it meant to be a member of a section. If youThe Sections-1 have thoughts on that, let me know. It helps build the history.

But I spend much more time thinking about the present and future of sections. How do we maintain and improve the member value? What sort of benefits to members continue to make them relevant? Will council members text vs. conference call in the future? How can we serve our global community?

What role do you think the sections should play in 2011 and beyond? If you are already a section member, what motivated you to join? I encourage you to post your responses below.

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One response to "SOA Sections in 2011: Where Are We Headed?"

  • Mary Pat Campbell says:

    Hi Meg!

    For anybody checking out the comments here, this is Mary Pat Campbell, reachable at marypat.campbell@gmail.com. I’m currently on the Tech Section council, and am the webinar coordinator. I am very interested in co-sponsoring webinars with other sections, and am interested in finding out what people are really interested in learning about. I see the Tech Section at helping members keep in touch with developments in the tech world, and share ideas as to how this can be used to help our professional lives, whether in gaining new information or improving productivity in our day-to-day jobs.

    So comment here or email me! We’ve also got a LinkedIn group, and I’m starting a discussion post on this very topic there.

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