The Association of Women in Finance (AWF) is proud to honour Susan Chortyk, ODNW with the 2019 PEAK (Performance. Excellence. Achievement. Knowledge) Award in the category of Lifetime Achievement.
After graduating from UBC in 1978 with a Bachelor Degree in Mathematics, Susan began her career at Watson Wyatt (“WW”) as a junior associate in actuarial support. Through her exemplary 30-year career with WW, she rose up the ranks into progressively more senior leadership roles while simultaneously completing her actuarial exams.
In 1995, Susan became a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, and WW’s only female actuary west of Toronto. In the early 2000s, Susan had an opportunity to work with WW’s largest multi-employer pension plan (“MEPP”), a role that was supposed to be temporary. However, through her hardwork and competence, Susan maintained the account and set the foundation for what would become an actuarial area of expertise for Susan, critical to the next phase of her career.
In late 2007, Susan co-led the purchase of the MEPP business from WW and formed PBI Actuarial Consultants Ltd. (“PBI”). Susan helped to grow PBI from a company of 21 associates, $7.8 million in revenues and 20 initial clients, to an enterprise of 85 employees, $16.6 million in revenues and over 100 clients across three provinces. Susan retired as President of PBI in July 2018.
Susan paved the way for career opportunities for women in her field, helping to mentor and champion many young women into senior leadership roles at PBI and other financial firms. Susan was instrumental in forming a unique culture at PBI, one that encouraged the concept of work-lifebalance without discrimination based on gender. By the time of Susan’s retirement, 60 percent of employees, 40 percent of leadership, and 50 percent of actuaries at PBI were women.
A passionate leader in her community, Susan has volunteered in a number of local and national roles in the Anglican Church including as treasurer for St. Thomas, Vancouver, a member of the Diocesan finance committee (MFP) and a member of the Anglican Church of Canada's General Synod investment planning sub-committee. Susan continues to share her gifts in these important roles in the Church.
Each year, Susan makes 2,500 jars of jam,jellies and pickles that she donates to raise money for church programs in her community. (Her lime marmalade is fantastic!)
In 2014, Susan was invested into The Order of the Diocese of New Westminster. She was the parish nominee from St. Thomas', Vancouver. Her citation reads as follows:
Susan’s service in the church began when she was just a teenager and continued all her life, serving God through her work on parish committees, on Christian formation through Cursillo and Lenten programs, and in her work on the St. Thomas Columbarium, Canonical Committees, and five successive parish retreats. In addition, Susan has been a diligent and loyal godmother to 8 lucky young people.
Susan's remarkable career will be recognized at the PEAK Awards Gala on May 15 at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel.
(Prepared with files from the AWF Press Release, April 11, 2019)