Want to Be a CFO? Consider Some Numeric Body Art

There are all kinds of techniques to get on an upwardly cell keep track of

There are all kinds of techniques to get on an upwardly cell keep track of that may possibly culminate in a CFO appointment.

Even finding a tattoo.

Just talk to Dave Raszeja. He’s obtained one particular on his right arm that athletics the 1st 100 digits of pi.

Dave Raszeja

“Getting the pi tattoo was almost certainly one particular of my better profession moves,” claims Raszeja, who will acquire on his 1st CFO position on March one at Penn Mutual Daily life Insurance coverage, a $three.three billion earnings enterprise that manages some $33 billion in property.

He’d been at Penn Mutual for four a long time when, in 2005 at age thirty, he donned the tattoo to memorialize his enthusiasm for arithmetic. A few a long time previously he’d been enthusiastically pursuing a graduate diploma in theoretical math, researching this sort of knotty subject areas as algebraic topology. After he obtained his diploma, though, he switched his profession target.

“At some position it became obvious that I was going to have to function a lot more durable or turn into a lot smarter, and neither appeared imminent,” Raszeja claims. “I had to get a job, so I made a decision to stick to the actuarial profession path.”

That’s what introduced him to Penn Mutual. By 2005, he’d been an actuary-in-coaching for most of the earlier four a long time. 1 working day, while obtaining lunch in the enterprise cafeteria with a colleague, then-enterprise CEO Robert Chappell, who had a pattern of randomly sitting down with individuals at lunch, plopped down next to them.

“He questioned what we did, and we explained that we ended up actuaries,” Raszeja recollects. “He mentioned that was fascinating, simply because he’d been pondering the enterprise could do a ton far more with arithmetic to turn into far more information driven and analytically concentrated.”

Raszeja’s piece of pi

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

The CEO then relayed the story to the head of Penn Mutual’s investment purpose, who contacted Raszeja and questioned him to come and job interview for an open hedging quantitative investigation posture.

He landed the job. “I actually observed it a little daunting to go there and communicate to those individuals,” he claims. “It was a entire new region of economical arithmetic that I hadn’t been uncovered to. But they did a wonderful job instructing me about derivatives and quantitative investigation.”

Raszeja was taken with the energetic environment in the investment office, as opposed to the far more staid one particular in actuarial. It was frequently loud and raucous. There ended up energetic congratulations soon after fantastic trades ended up produced. He and the other young quants realized about derivatives in element by making derivative “contracts” among them and betting pennies on stock industry effects. “It was a quick-paced state of mind,” he claims.

He by now knew he loved the stimulation of taking on diverse roles. He’d left the actuarial region a pair a long time previously to fill in for a not long ago departed worker in reinsurance administration. It was largely a clerical job, involving the preparing of billing studies, for illustration.

“It could seem to be that it was a snoozer, but I observed I could help individuals design and style slick spreadsheets to get the billing carried out [far more quickly],” Raszeja claims. “It was quite amazing to make that form of impact early in my profession.”

He did not specialize in being in roles for extended periods of time. Raszeja has performed ten diverse careers at Penn Mutual. The headquarters creating has six wings, and he’s worked in five of them. “If I could get a job in gross sales, I’d actually spherical out my résumé,” he jokes.

When the enterprise began an business risk management office, its 1st chief had been head of set money in the investment region. He introduced Raszeja together with him, once again in a quantitative investigation position.

“It was the 1st time I appeared across the entire enterprise, as perfectly as the broker-vendor affiliate marketers, attempting to broadly realize not just finance but also individuals and technique and how all of those factors worked with each other,” he claims. “I was about eight a long time into my profession, and I don’t consider many individuals get that watch of a enterprise the dimension of Penn Mutual that early.”

His next halt was as chief of mortality management. It was a bit “wonky,” he claims, but he put in ample time with the company’s direct underwriter, from whom he realized a ton about gross sales.

There ended up also some granular but fascinating concerns to tackle. At the time the enterprise Raszeja was debating irrespective of whether to permit lifestyle insurance coverage clients to smoke “celebratory cigars” — as one particular could do, say, when playing golfing the moment a thirty day period — with out currently being billed smokers’ charges. “It was an fascinating job on the realistic side,” he claims.

After a pair a long time, he observed himself back again in an actuarial position, but he made a decision he desired the wide watch of business risk management. But the enterprise had not long ago decentralized ERM, and Raszeja left the enterprise to acquire a risk management posture in Cigna’s global team. The job gave him world working experience, together with recurrent trips to Asia, and the chance to see how a a lot more substantial enterprise differed from an operational standpoint.

Ethics and Risk

After he’d put in thirteen months at Cigna, Penn Mutual, which was scheduling to reverse program and go back again to centralized risk management, introduced him back again as chief risk officer. In 2014, he was questioned to acquire on the added position of chief ethics officer. “I’m the only particular person I’ve at any time listened to of who had both equally of those roles at the very same time,” he claims.

The ethics posture was significant for his profession. While the careers he’d had in advance of ended up analytical in mother nature, this was largely a individuals-concentrated article. “It actually set me up to hone my management skills for the foreseeable future,” he claims.

In 2019, while continue to chief risk officer, Raszeja was named senior vice president of economical management and designated as the successor to CFO Susan Deakins, who was scheduling to retire in early 2020. “She’s a mentor and I’ve been seeking above her shoulder,” he claims. “She’s been really generous with her time and has set me up for good results, so it must be a clean changeover.”

The 1st precedence in his new article will be to continue relocating forward with information architecture upgrades. The economical operations ramifications of obtaining legacy methods is an difficulty for most of the insurance coverage business today.

Raszeja claims he’s been fortuitous to expend his profession with Penn Mutual, simply because relocating all around the enterprise is hugely encouraged. “It’s a fantastic in shape for me,” he claims. “You hear a ton that you simply cannot get in advance except you modify careers, and I agree, but that does not indicate you have to leave the enterprise — if you are in the right enterprise.”

He notes that an fascinating component of his profession has been that in every job he’s had to use “different parts” of himself.

“I’m listening to far more lately about individuals bringing their entire selves to function, and I’m satisfied that you can do that listed here,” he claims. “And if a tattoo can give you some upward mobility, I consider which is a quite progressive and inclusive place of work.”

actuarial, chief risk officer, Dave Raszeja, derivatives, business risk management, arithmetic, Penn Mutual, pi, quantitative investigation, Robert Chappell, Susan Deakins