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Inside story: Mike Shelley

Published on: 26 Mar 2018

Where are you based?
We live in Oxfordshire.

What volunteer roles do you do for the IFoA?
Recently I have been chairing adjudication panels and am a member of the 400 Club.

How long have you been volunteering?
I have been a volunteer every year since 1969, when I volunteered as a tutor. In 1974, I was asked to join the Board of Examiners, then in 1988 I was elected to Council, where I chaired the Education Committee and was a member of the Life Board. 

What’s involved in your roles?
They have all involved working closely with others to understand their point of view and to come up with a solution to a shared problem.

What motivates you to volunteer for the IFoA?
It has given me the opportunity to work closely with some exceptionally bright, clever people. It’s not the main motivation, but it has also got me out of emptying the dishwasher on numerous occasions.

What have you/ do you hope to achieve in your volunteer role?
I have always been pushing to improve the reputation of the profession. I steered through the first practicing certificates and later pushed hard for compulsory continuing professional development for all actuaries. Being part of the disciplinary system is a natural extension of that.

What new skills or knowledge do you think you have developed?
I have learned a huge amount from the people I have worked with: listening, focusing, analysing and persuading.

Has this assisted your lifelong learning?
Of course.

Do you think volunteering has helped you in your day job?
The large number of contacts that I made was very helpful. 

How did you balance your day job and your volunteer role?
My employers always saw the value of the work I was doing and the personal development I was getting.

How do you relax away from the office?
We have five children and eight grandchildren and spend a lot of time with them. I have built a ride-on railway in the garden, which the younger grandchildren love.

What would you say to others considering a volunteer role?
Don’t hesitate. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet influential people and to be seen to achieve something really worthwhile.

Who is your role model in life or in business?
I think I have learned skills by watching a lot of different people, not least my children.

What was your earliest dream job?
To drive a steam train.

What word best describes you?
You need to ask those I have worked with.

Do you prefer a staycation or a holiday abroad?
We ski for two weeks in Vail each winter. Until recently, we had a pool in the garden, so spent the summer entertaining the grandchildren.

If you were locked in a famous building for one night, which would it be and why?
Definitely Hogwarts with the grandchildren. They would love it.

What do you consider to be the most brilliant moment of your career?
Being invited to a Buckingham Palace garden party has to be one of the highlights.