Commentary on Diversity
SOUTHEASTERN ACTUARIES CONFERENCE COMMENTARY ON DIVERSITY
At the Southeastern Actuaries Conference, we live by the motto "Be Part of Something that Counts". Over time, that motto has meant many different things, primarily around establishing a community of actuarial professionals who get together during the year to share experiences, spend time with family and friends, learn some technical and leadership skills, and meet our continuing education requirements. It also extends at times into other community areas, such as our scholarship program and our outreach efforts to schools and universities.
We have reached a point in our country, however, where being part of something that counts is taking on a new, important meaning. The Executive Committee of the SEAC feels it is important that we step up to this challenge.
In recent weeks, our country has experienced, once again, the negative effects of racism, discrimination, and bias. We have witnessed the senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the response to that loss of life. We are also seeing more examples of discrimination that continues to exist in everyday life. At the SEAC, we stand against prejudice in all forms. We are committed to diversity, equality, and inclusion that reflects the diverse perspectives, cultures, lifestyles and backgrounds of our members and the profession we represent. Article 2 of our organizing document notes that the "purpose of this Conference shall be to promote friendship amount its members and to foster and promote the practice of actuarial science." While this statement does not explicitly address the need to recognize, appreciate and honor the diversity of our membership and to look for inclusion of all interested individuals, we cannot live up to this purpose or achieve our motto if our members or other stakeholders do not feel respected and safe or are not sure that they have a voice which is heard.
Now more than ever, we need to commit to inclusion and diversity in our organization and communities. We need to engage in difficult conversations to make progress, while always remaining respectful and empathetic to each other. We each are reacting to these events in our own way, so let's be open to challenging discussions and not dismissive of reactions which may be different than our own. As we move through our virtual event this June, and as we continue to interact moving forward, let's look for ways where we can proactively seek opportunities to benefit from our varied experiences and grow not just as actuaries, but as people. We look forward to the chance to do that together, and as an Executive Committee, we welcome any ideas from membership on how we can do that most effectively.