SOA Blog

Profile of a retirement actuary: Zenaida Samaniego

A profile of retirement actuary Zenaida Samaniego.


The Profile of an Actuary Series details the background, careers and inspirations of participants of the 2011 Society of Actuaries Annual Meeting, to be held between October 16 and 19 in Chicago. If you would like to pose any questions for the participants prior to the meeting, leave a comment below.

What originally inspired you to study to become an actuary?
I learned about the actuarial profession from my college professor who was helping me explore career options for a math major at that time. The potential business and practical applications of becoming an actuary interested me, although quite frankly it was the additional opportunity to study and work abroad that got me hooked.


How would you describe the general skill set of an actuary?
An actuary has technical aptitude and skills, usually loves math, is enthusiastic and creative about learning and application of new and thoughtful approaches in solving business problems, and can effectively communicate with actuaries and other professionals on business issues and outcomes.

What industry do you call home and what is the role actuaries play in that industry? After a long and rewarding career in the private sector, I now work in the federal government in the role of in-house actuary, applying my professional skills and industry perspectives to provide consultative and support services on policy and research matters relating to employee benefits security and protection.

Could you describe a moment, after a project or deliverable, where you thought “this profession can do pretty amazing things?”
Ever since I became an SOA volunteer, most recently in retirement practice area research, I have had many of these “aha” moments. I have always felt grateful for the opportunity to work with fellow actuaries and other professionals in helping to address emerging issues and late-breaking developments that can impact and shape our lives, our work, the profession and the public.

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