Want to Be a CFO? Consider Some Numeric Body Art

There are all varieties of means to get on an upwardly cell observe that might

There are all varieties of means to get on an upwardly cell observe that might culminate in a CFO appointment.

Even acquiring a tattoo.

Just check with Dave Raszeja. He’s acquired 1 on his ideal arm that sports the first a hundred digits of pi.

Dave Raszeja

“Getting the pi tattoo was likely 1 of my greater occupation moves,” states Raszeja, who will choose on his first CFO position on March 1 at Penn Mutual Daily life Insurance, a $three.three billion earnings firm that manages some $33 billion in assets.

He’d been at Penn Mutual for four a long time when, in 2005 at age thirty, he donned the tattoo to memorialize his passion for mathematics. A several a long time earlier he’d been enthusiastically pursuing a graduate degree in theoretical math, learning these kinds of knotty matters as algebraic topology. Following he acquired his degree, nevertheless, he switched his occupation focus.

“At some stage it grew to become apparent that I was heading to have to function much more difficult or turn into much smarter, and neither appeared imminent,” Raszeja states. “I experienced to get a position, so I decided to observe the actuarial occupation path.”

That is what brought him to Penn Mutual. By 2005, he’d been an actuary-in-training for most of the past four a long time. Just one day, when owning lunch in the firm cafeteria with a colleague, then-firm CEO Robert Chappell, who experienced a behavior of randomly sitting with people today at lunch, plopped down subsequent to them.

“He asked what we did, and we stated that we were actuaries,” Raszeja remembers. “He reported that was appealing, mainly because he’d been considering the firm could do a great deal extra with mathematics to turn into extra data driven and analytically focused.”

Raszeja’s piece of pi

His colleague thereupon reported, “Hey, this guy’s acquired pi tattooed on his arm.” Chappell asked to see it, so Raszeja rolled up his sleeve.

The CEO then relayed the story to the head of Penn Mutual’s financial investment functionality, who contacted Raszeja and asked him to occur and job interview for an open up hedging quantitative assessment placement.

He landed the position. “I actually identified it a small daunting to go there and communicate to those individuals,” he states. “It was a full new space of monetary mathematics that I hadn’t been uncovered to. But they did a superb position instructing me about derivatives and quantitative assessment.”

Raszeja was taken with the energetic ambiance in the financial investment division, when compared to the extra staid 1 in actuarial. It was generally loud and raucous. There were energetic congratulations after very good trades were made. He and the other youthful quants realized about derivatives in portion by producing by-product “contracts” involving them and betting pennies on stock market place effects. “It was a rapid-paced attitude,” he states.

He by now understood he liked the stimulation of getting on diverse roles. He’d left the actuarial space a few a long time earlier to fill in for a not long ago departed worker in reinsurance administration. It was largely a clerical position, involving the preparation of billing stories, for instance.

“It could possibly feel that it was a snoozer, but I identified I could assist people today structure slick spreadsheets to get the billing carried out [extra speedily],” Raszeja states. “It was rather cool to make that form of affect early in my occupation.”

He did not specialize in keeping in roles for extensive periods of time. Raszeja has performed 10 diverse work opportunities at Penn Mutual. The headquarters constructing has six wings, and he’s labored in five of them. “If I could get a position in gross sales, I’d truly spherical out my résumé,” he jokes.

When the firm begun an enterprise possibility management division, its first chief experienced been head of fastened income in the financial investment space. He brought Raszeja along with him, yet again in a quantitative assessment position.

“It was the first time I seemed throughout the full firm, as perfectly as the broker-supplier affiliates, attempting to broadly realize not just finance but also people today and strategy and how all of those items labored with each other,” he states. “I was about 8 a long time into my occupation, and I really do not imagine numerous people today get that perspective of a firm the size of Penn Mutual that early.”

His subsequent prevent was as chief of mortality management. It was a bit “wonky,” he states, but he expended ample time with the company’s guide underwriter, from whom he realized a great deal about gross sales.

There were also some granular but appealing problems to deal with. At the time the firm Raszeja was debating whether to allow existence insurance plan consumers to smoke “celebratory cigars” — as 1 could possibly do, say, when participating in golf at the time a thirty day period — without the need of remaining charged smokers’ charges. “It was an appealing position on the realistic side,” he states.

Following a few a long time, he identified himself again in an actuarial position, but he decided he most popular the wide perspective of enterprise possibility management. But the firm experienced not long ago decentralized ERM, and Raszeja left the firm to choose a possibility management placement in Cigna’s global group. The position gave him worldwide working experience, which includes frequent outings to Asia, and the prospect to see how a much greater firm differed from an operational standpoint.

Ethics and Chance

Following he’d expended 13 months at Cigna, Penn Mutual, which was scheduling to reverse class and go again to centralized possibility management, brought him again as main possibility officer. In 2014, he was asked to choose on the further position of main ethics officer. “I’m the only individual I’ve ever heard of who experienced equally of those roles at the very same time,” he states.

The ethics placement was vital for his occupation. When the work opportunities he’d experienced before were analytical in mother nature, this was largely a people today-focused write-up. “It truly established me up to hone my management abilities for the long run,” he states.

In 2019, when nevertheless main possibility officer, Raszeja was named senior vice president of monetary management and specified as the successor to CFO Susan Deakins, who was scheduling to retire in early 2020. “She’s a mentor and I’ve been searching about her shoulder,” he states. “She’s been extremely generous with her time and has established me up for good results, so it ought to be a smooth transition.”

The first precedence in his new write-up will be to continue going forward with data architecture upgrades. The monetary operations ramifications of owning legacy methods is an problem for most of the insurance plan industry right now.

Raszeja states he’s been lucky to expend his occupation with Penn Mutual, mainly because going all over the firm is hugely encouraged. “It’s a very good in shape for me,” he states. “You hear a great deal that you can not get forward unless you adjust work opportunities, and I concur, but that does not necessarily mean you have to leave the firm — if you are in the ideal firm.”

He notes that an appealing aspect of his occupation has been that in each and every position he’s experienced to use “different parts” of himself.

“I’m listening to extra these days about people today bringing their full selves to function, and I’m content that you can do that here,” he states. “And if a tattoo can give you some upward mobility, I imagine that’s a rather progressive and inclusive workplace.”

actuarial, main possibility officer, Dave Raszeja, derivatives, enterprise possibility management, mathematics, Penn Mutual, pi, quantitative assessment, Robert Chappell, Susan Deakins