Actuarial Mentoring Programme: The IFoA’s CEO on being a mentor

Mentor

IFoA Chief Executive Officer Stephen Mann shares his experience of being a mentor on the Actuarial Mentoring Programme

Since the Actuarial Mentoring Programme (AMP) launched in 2017, the IFoA has been supporting its mission to improve diversity within the actuarial profession.

This year the IFoA’s Chief Executive Officer Stephen Mann volunteered to take on a mentoring role. We asked him – and his mentee, Danni Kelman – to tell us about the experience.

Please tell us a little about yourself

I’ve been the CEO at the IFoA since the beginning of 2020. Before that, I worked predominantly in financial services and was a statutory Board Director for the Aviva UK business before becoming CEO at the Police Mutual Group. I was a lawyer at the start of my career. I live in York and support Norwich City.

Why did you join the AMP programme?

It’s a major initiative for the IFoA which I wanted to support. I was very fortunate to have a number of people (mainly actuaries!) who were big sources of inspiration and guidance to me earlier in my career and I wanted to give something back to the next generation.

Who were you paired with on the programme and what’s the most important thing you learnt from them?

I mentored Danni Kelman from XPS Pensions in Birmingham. Danni is very positive and ‘can do’ and takes responsibility for her own development, trying out some of the things we have chatted about. It has been a humbling reminder that good habits need to be learnt and practised, regardless of experience.

What were your initial expectations and how does your experience compare?

I had done coaching and mentoring before but this was the first time in a very structured wider programme. The structure of the wider programme has been a huge benefit, with really good, practical tools for both of us. This enabled us both to keep really focused and for the conversations to build from one session to another. It’s also the first time I have mentored in a pandemic!

What has surprised you most about your mentoring relationship so far?

How easy the conversations have been and how much it has prompted me to reflect on the impact I have on others. It’s also been a good reminder that our day jobs are busy and that we need to find the time to step back, reflect and learn.

How has the programme impacted you professionally/personally so far?

It has been mutually rewarding, I hope. And it has reminded me that I have a leadership responsibility to have a positive personal impact on everyone I come across. I have always aimed to do this, but the nature of the responsibility that goes with a mentor/mentee relationship is a constant prompt to be the best I can be.

What would you say to anyone thinking of joining the programme?

Go for it. But be prepared to put the work in and try stuff out that might make you feel a bit uncomfortable initially until it becomes second nature!

If you would like to hear how your organisation can be involved this year, please contact Moving Ahead: Abbie.Hildrew@moving-ahead.org. You can find out more about AMP on the Moving Ahead website here.