Want to Be a CFO? Consider Some Numeric Body Art

There are all types of methods to get on an upwardly cellular monitor that could culminate in a CFO appointment.

Even receiving a tattoo.

Just talk to Dave Raszeja. He’s received one on his ideal arm that sports activities the first one hundred digits of pi.

Dave Raszeja

“Getting the pi tattoo was probably one of my improved occupation moves,” suggests Raszeja, who will just take on his first CFO position on March 1 at Penn Mutual Lifestyle Insurance coverage, a $three.three billion earnings enterprise that manages some $33 billion in property.

He’d been at Penn Mutual for four yrs when, in 2005 at age 30, he donned the tattoo to memorialize his enthusiasm for mathematics. A couple yrs before he’d been enthusiastically pursuing a graduate degree in theoretical math, researching this kind of knotty topics as algebraic topology. Right after he received his degree, although, he switched his occupation emphasis.

“At some issue it turned noticeable that I was likely to have to work considerably harder or turn out to be considerably smarter, and neither seemed imminent,” Raszeja suggests. “I experienced to get a task, so I determined to adhere to the actuarial occupation path.”

Which is what brought him to Penn Mutual. By 2005, he’d been an actuary-in-teaching for most of the past four yrs. 1 day, when having lunch in the enterprise cafeteria with a colleague, then-enterprise CEO Robert Chappell, who experienced a behavior of randomly sitting with folks at lunch, plopped down upcoming to them.

“He requested what we did, and we discussed that we ended up actuaries,” Raszeja recalls. “He reported that was fascinating, because he’d been imagining the enterprise could do a great deal more with mathematics to turn out to be more knowledge pushed and analytically centered.”

Raszeja’s piece of pi

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

The CEO then relayed the tale to the head of Penn Mutual’s expense perform, who contacted Raszeja and requested him to arrive and job interview for an open hedging quantitative investigation situation.

He landed the task. “I truly uncovered it a small challenging to go there and discuss to individuals folks,” he suggests. “It was a full new spot of fiscal mathematics that I hadn’t been uncovered to. But they did a superb task educating me about derivatives and quantitative investigation.”

Raszeja was taken with the lively environment in the expense department, in contrast to the more staid one in actuarial. It was often loud and raucous. There ended up lively congratulations immediately after superior trades ended up manufactured. He and the other youthful quants learned about derivatives in section by building by-product “contracts” between them and betting pennies on inventory market final results. “It was a quick-paced attitude,” he suggests.

He currently realized he relished the stimulation of using on various roles. He’d left the actuarial spot a couple yrs before to fill in for a lately departed personnel in reinsurance administration. It was largely a clerical task, involving the planning of billing stories, for example.

“It could seem that it was a snoozer, but I uncovered I could enable folks style slick spreadsheets to get the billing finished [more quickly],” Raszeja suggests. “It was fairly neat to make that sort of impression early in my occupation.”

He didn’t focus in staying in roles for extended periods of time. Raszeja has performed ten various positions at Penn Mutual. The headquarters making has six wings, and he’s worked in 5 of them. “If I could get a task in income, I’d genuinely round out my résumé,” he jokes.

When the enterprise begun an company chance management department, its first chief experienced been head of fixed money in the expense spot. He brought Raszeja alongside with him, once again in a quantitative investigation position.

“It was the first time I appeared throughout the full enterprise, as properly as the broker-dealer affiliates, striving to broadly fully grasp not just finance but also folks and tactic and how all of individuals things worked collectively,” he suggests. “I was about 8 yrs into my occupation, and I don’t feel quite a few folks get that see of a enterprise the measurement of Penn Mutual that early.”

His upcoming quit was as chief of mortality management. It was a little bit “wonky,” he suggests, but he used ample time with the company’s lead underwriter, from whom he learned a great deal about income.

There ended up also some granular but fascinating challenges to deal with. At the time the enterprise Raszeja was debating whether to make it possible for everyday living coverage customers to smoke “celebratory cigars” — as one could do, say, when playing golf once a month — with out remaining charged smokers’ rates. “It was an fascinating task on the useful aspect,” he suggests.

Right after a couple yrs, he uncovered himself again in an actuarial position, but he determined he most well-liked the broad see of company chance management. But the enterprise experienced lately decentralized ERM, and Raszeja left the enterprise to just take a chance management situation in Cigna’s worldwide team. The task gave him worldwide encounter, such as regular outings to Asia, and the prospect to see how a considerably greater enterprise differed from an operational standpoint.

Ethics and Danger

Right after he’d used 13 months at Cigna, Penn Mutual, which was organizing to reverse training course and go again to centralized chance management, brought him again as chief chance officer. In 2014, he was requested to just take on the further position of chief ethics officer. “I’m the only human being I have ever heard of who experienced each of individuals roles at the same time,” he suggests.

The ethics situation was significant for his occupation. Though the positions he’d experienced ahead of ended up analytical in character, this was largely a folks-centered write-up. “It genuinely set me up to hone my management competencies for the upcoming,” he suggests.

In 2019, when still chief chance officer, Raszeja was named senior vice president of fiscal management and specified as the successor to CFO Susan Deakins, who was organizing to retire in early 2020. “She’s a mentor and I have been searching in excess of her shoulder,” he suggests. “She’s been really generous with her time and has set me up for results, so it must be a clean changeover.”

The first priority in his new write-up will be to carry on relocating ahead with knowledge architecture upgrades. The fiscal functions ramifications of having legacy programs is an problem for most of the coverage sector now.

Raszeja suggests he’s been lucky to commit his occupation with Penn Mutual, because relocating all-around the enterprise is very inspired. “It’s a superior match for me,” he suggests. “You hear a great deal that you just cannot get in advance unless of course you adjust positions, and I concur, but that does not indicate you have to depart the enterprise — if you’re in the ideal enterprise.”

He notes that an fascinating factor of his occupation has been that in every single task he’s experienced to use “different parts” of himself.

“I’m listening to more recently about folks bringing their full selves to work, and I’m delighted that you can do that in this article,” he suggests. “And if a tattoo can give you some upward mobility, I feel that is a fairly progressive and inclusive workplace.”

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