Sally Chan

Role: Assistant Vice-President, Canadian Actuarial Pricing

Department: Canadian Actuarial

Location: Toronto, ON

Institution / specialization / degree type: University of Waterloo, Actuarial Science and Statistics

Graduation year: 2007

What is a typical day like for you? What are some of your challenges?

It varies, depending on the project at hand. At a high level, I am responsible for overseeing the product design and pricing initiatives in Canada. On a given day, for example, I could be reviewing the product design and pricing of a brand-new product, or adjusting an existing product to adapt to changes in the competitive landscape or economic environment. My role is both exciting and challenging because it is dynamic and interacts with the real world. Our business is highly affected by the external environment and must respond to changes quickly.

How did Sun Life help you advance your career?

Sun Life has provided me with a range of advancement and leadership opportunities. Since joining the company 6 years ago, I have been in 3 different roles, each with increasing responsibilities and opportunities to develop new skillsets. I’ve had opportunities to build and lead a growing team, be on the front line to drive sales and profitability for a business and take part in a number of innovative and high-profile projects.

Sun Life offers a wide spectrum of opportunities for actuaries, including anything from traditional roles, like pricing and valuation, to less-traditional roles, like business development and operations. What is great about Sun Life is that actuaries can try different things and expand our horizons. For me, there have been instances where I was encouraged to take on a new role or expanded responsibilities and they turned out to be amazing growth opportunities. Sometimes you just don’t know what you can do until you try it!

How do you feel that the co-op and new grad programs contribute to Sun Life's pipeline and overall success?

The co-op and new grad programs are very important to Sun Life. Sun Life devotes a lot of resources and effort to these programs to ensure that our students have a meaningful and fulfilling experience. We are dedicated to these programs because we see co-op students and new grads as a pipeline for talent and a platform for identifying and developing future leaders of the company

Many of the actuaries in the company actually started at Sun Life as co-op students or new grads, and some of them have progressed to very senior positions within the organization.

Can you offer some tips to students or recent grads who hope to start at Sun Life?

Over the course of my career, I have worked at a number of different companies and I truly think Sun Life is a great place to work. If you are thinking about working at Sun Life, I encourage you to find out more about us, whether it’s by talking to our past co-ops or new grads or meeting us in person at our various events.

As you start out in your career, my advice is to treat every project or interaction as an opportunity to build your own credentials and brand. Think critically about what you are doing and the implications for the bigger picture. Be inquisitive and ask insightful questions. Take time to build a good network. And finally, don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo!