Inside Track

November Reign

November Reign

By Eric P. Harding

It’s just before the Academy’s Envision Tomorrow: Annual Meeting 2022 (Nov. 2–3) as I write this note, and the staff is abuzz. What’s the analogy? It’s like a duck in the water—calm and effortless above the water, frenzied paddling below. We’re very much in the “paddling” period right now. But I’m confident that the event [will go | will have gone][1] off without a hitch.

November is also the time for U.S. midterm elections. As Academy President Maryellen Coggins has written frequently this year, renewal comes in cycles. Meteorological seasons mark the passage of time, yes, but so too do human-made rituals like the election of public officials. (Our friends in the U.K. seem to enjoy this ritual so much that they’ve made the whole process a bit quotidian in its frequency.)

This is also the month of Thanksgiving. Readers, I adore this holiday and everything it represents: family, celebration of bounty, the autumn season … and food. Ever since I started spatchcocking the bird, we haven’t suffered through dry, tasteless turkey—check out the technique if you’ve never tried it.

Like the above three paragraphs, our features this issue offer disparate thoughts—an autumnal mélange, if you will.

Our first feature, “On the Way Up,” is a celebration of the inaugural class of Rising Actuary Award recipients—feted at the aforementioned Annual Meeting. We asked the 14 individuals a series of questions about career advice, mentorship, and generational differences in the workplace. Their answers suggest the future of the profession is in good hands.

In “A Pebble on the Surface,” Jeff Petertil recalls a seminal moment in his life—the publication of an op-ed he wrote on financial accounting for pensions. This feature—part memoir, part cautionary tale—resonates today amid rising interest rates, public plan troubles, and stock market instability.

Finally, we have “K,” a new piece of original fiction by Leo Apilash. An homage of sorts, the story’s structure weaves indelibly with its subject matter, leaving a lasting effect on any discerning reader.

~ ~ ~

I’ll end this editor’s note with a brief remembrance. When I joined the Academy a little over eight years ago, I was pretty green when it came to graphics or art direction. Suddenly, I (along with my very capable staff designer, it must be said) was charged with overseeing the look and feel of a magazine. I had my opinions, of course, but little training or experience to back them up.

I shouldn’t have been apprehensive. Our design partner from the very beginning, BonoTom Studio, has handled all the editor transitions with aplomb, never dropping a well-designed beat. I’m very grateful to all the folks at BonoTom for saving my bacon over the years with their excellent work in translating my often fuzzy art direction (“It’s a story about enterprise risk management; let’s see … something with a tightrope, maybe?”) into a consistent, stylish design for the magazine of the actuarial profession.

Bono Mitchell, the “Bono” of “BonoTom,” was especially gracious. She had a knack for teasing out of me the kernel of a feature that the BonoTom team could then design around. Bono was a firecracker—whip-smart, funny as hell, but with a kindness that pervaded everything she did. I looked forward to our bimonthly art meetings, which often devolved into laughfests after the “real” work was done.

Bono died in early October. She will be missed by everyone whose life she touched. 

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