“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, when one only remembers to turn on the light.” Albus Dumbledore (J.K. Rowling).
Happy September!! Happy Back to School!! Happy Fall!! Happy Return of Pumpkin Spice Lattes!! Happy NFL Season!! Happy Everything!! Why in the world am I so happy and why am I starting out the President’s Message this way? Does the ACIC Bylaws have a provision like the 25th Amendment and should you consider using it? Perhaps, but please hear me out. We have had so much disruption in our personal and professional lives over the past year and a half as we have navigated an unchartered course through the pandemic which has added stress and anxiety to our lives. To assuage this stress and anxiety, times of uncertainty provide the greatest opportunities for individual/professional growth and to fearlessly try new things.
During the past year, the Board has done its best to turn the light on for our members, so that each of you feel valued and are included in the important work of the College. So, the Board has focused on ways in which we can continue to engage our existing members while also attracting and recruiting members from diverse institutions and backgrounds. We fearlessly (for the most part) tried several new things to make sure that our members were able to find that proverbial light switch – to turn on the light. The Board’s focus and concern for its members, as well as its concern for the growth and ongoing sustainability of the College, is evident in the educational and collegial programming that we have provided to our membership over the past year.
Much thanks to Robin Lenarz (Securian) and Heather Wenzel (Morgan Lewis) for co-hosting our 2021 Virtual Spring Forum. In addition to a very packed and thoughtful agenda, the Spring Forum also included a number of opportunities for our members to engage with one another. We listened, learned and engaged in discussions with the Diverse Professionals in Private Placements (thanks Charles C. Calloway, Jr. (Chapman)) and Iwin (Insurance Women’s Investment Network) (thanks Renée Dailey (Akin Gump)), and enjoyed a late afternoon chocolate tasting. We had a whopping 171 participants at the Spring Forum, with 41 chocolate aficionados – and we delivered a profit for the College.
We held a trivia and networking event on February 11, with 31 participants. Thanks to Melody Cross (Prudential) and Renée Dailey (Akin Gump) for organizing. The friendly, but competitive juices were simmering. It was a very fun night and I met members that I had not met before. I have it on good authority that we will be having another trivia and networking event. Please join if you can!!! I highly recommend it. Next, we held our inaugural book club on May 20 featuring Alison Levine’s book “On the Edge: Leadership Lessons from Mount Everest and Other Extreme Environments.” Thank you to Erika Finn (Voya) and Josephine Vashi (AIG) for organizing this event. We had 19 participants at the Book Club. A great turn out for our first time. We are exploring scheduling anther Book Club meeting.
In addition to the “new” things we tried over the past year, we have also invested significant time in supporting the tried and true educational programming of the College. The Education Committee held three virtual CLEs. The December 2020 CLE Event provided Best Practices for Private Fund Investors and was moderated by Arinze Onugha (Fried Frank), with Monika Racz (AIG) and Leigh Sapir (Thrivent) as panelists. We had 70 participants at this event. The January 2021 CLE Event introduced issues and challenges for ESG investing and was moderated by Amy Kennedy (Akin Gump), with Rajesh Swaminathan (Jasper Ridge Partners) and Matt Sheedy (MetLife) as panelists. We had 93 participants for this event. The third CLE provided a discussion on collateral valuation and other issues in airline and aircraft restructurings and was moderated by David Botter (Akin Gump), with David Yu (MetLife) and Beau Roy (FTI Consulting) serving as panelists. We had 44 participants for this event. Please continue to look for announcements regarding upcoming CLEs. This is a great opportunity to learn about topics from our colleagues, while obtaining those pesky CLE credits.
So, what now? How are we positioned to provide future educational and collegial opportunities to you so that you can keep the light lit and don’t mistakenly hit the dimmer switch? Just you wait . . .
WE PROUDLY PRESENT . . . THE VIRTUAL FALL ANNUAL MEETING AND EDUCATION CONFERENCE – OCTOBER 13-14. Arinze Onugha (Sullivan & Worcester LLP) and Dora Jimenez (NY Life) have put together a fabulous agenda entitled “The Roaring 2020s – Unmasking A New Era.” In addition to very timely topics, Arinze and Dora are continuing to use this as an opportunity to try new things. I can’t give any further details as I have been sworn to secrecy, but I can guarantee you won’t want to miss this event. If you haven’t registered yet, I encourage you to do so. I am looking forward to seeing your happy faces at the Fall Meeting.
As I said in January, this is truly an exciting time to be a member of the ACIC. We are an organization with a mission to provide educational opportunities while also building collegial relationships. I want to thank each and every one of you for your membership and for your commitment to the ongoing growth and sustainability of the College. If you have any ideas as to ways in which we can continue to provide enriching developmental opportunities to our members, or, if you would like to become more involved in the College, please let me know. In the meantime, please keep your light on!
With much gratitude for your membership.
President of the American College of Investment Counsel