Our 2024 Volunteer of the Year Award Winners


The President’s Award recognises an individual’s significant contribution to the Institute’s key strategic programs. They are also recognised for work in improving, promoting, and contributing to the positive reputation of the profession. 

Alissa Holz

Alissa Holz
Education Review Strategy

Alissa Holz has been honoured with the prestigious President’s Award in recognition of her leadership and dedication as the Chair of the Education Strategy Committee (ESC) from 2020-2023. 

During her time as Chair, Alissa was instrumental in guiding effective governance through a period that saw significant changes to the Education Program. Under her guidance, ESC efficiently oversaw governance functions, allowing the Institute’s Education Team to focus on implementing necessary changes. Her support of the Education Strategy Review has seen an increase in student recruitment and retention. 

In addition to her role as Chair, Alissa has made significant contributions to the Education Program as a member of the Life Insurance & Retirement Education Faculty. She has also been an examiner, scrutineer, and assignment marker for several years.  

Alissa has also been involved with the Climate and Sustainability Working Group, and more recently was a plenary curator and presenter at the International Congress of Actuaries 2023. With over 20 years of experience in the profession, Alissa’s expertise and contributions as a volunteer have been invaluable in shaping the industry's future, making her a worthy recipient of this award.


The Distinguished Service Award is presented to members who have made outstanding contributions for more than five years and have been involved in two or more areas of volunteer activities. 

Matthew B

Steve H
Iginitus Li

Matthew Burgess
Superannuation and Investments Practice Committee

Matthew Burgess has volunteered for the Superannuation and Investments Practice Committee (SIPC), and its predecessor committees, for more than 20 years. During this time, he has contributed significantly to regulatory issues and professional standards.  

Matthew has dedicated countless hours to drafting submissions, meeting with regulatory bodies, and seeking solutions to challenges that actuaries face in their professional capacities. In addition to his professional contributions, Matthew played a role in educating future actuaries through exam marking and tutoring earlier in his career.   

Matthew's enthusiasm and expertise have been contagious, inspiring others to volunteer and support the profession. His commitment and leadership has left a lasting impact on the actuarial profession. 

Steve Hui 
Audit & Risk Committee, International/Asia Committees, Mentor

Steve is an active member who has been in the actuarial profession for 49 years of which 30 of those years, he spent in Hong Kong and Mainland China. With a wealth of experience, Steve has devoted his time and effort to assisting several strategic programs, helping to strengthen and grow the profession, both in Australia and internationally.  

Steve has been involved on many different committees, including the Audit and Risk Council Committee, the Education Strategy Committee and both the Asia and International Committees, demonstrating his passion for the profession and governance. Recently, Steve has been leading a task force that is focused on creating a closer relationship with the China Association of Actuaries. 

Steve is now continuing to volunteer through the Institute’s mentor program. His steadfast contribution has ensured that the profession is strong and continues to grow and develop.  

Ignatius Li
Health Practice Committee

Ignatius served as the Chair of the Health Practice Committee (HPC) for almost five years, contributing a total of 10 years of service to the committee.  

His unwavering commitment during the challenging times of the pandemic ensured that the actuarial profession played a vital role in discussions concerning healthcare access, including sustainability in private health insurance, and managing the capital requirements of private health insurers amid delayed claims management.  

Ignatius also championed the involvement of young actuaries, actively encouraging them to volunteer through the Friends of HPC, an initiative that has been met with resounding success. 


The Spirit of Volunteering Award acknowledges the efforts of someone who is committed to their role and passionate about helping others. Convenors are encouraged to nominate members of their committees for this award. 

Jessica Chen

Mark Samuels

Jessica Chen
Genetics Working Group

Jess Chen exemplifies dedication and collaborative spirit. While she has volunteered with the Institute since 2014 in numerous ways, her impact has been most profound as the Institute’s spokesperson on genetics and genomics. Within this deeply complex and unfolding medical field, Jess has provided exemplary insights and advice.  

Over the summer of 2023-24, Jess led a Working Group that developed a Submission to the review of regulation in this area. In 2017, Jess co-authored a Dialogue Paper, Genetics – A testing time for Insurers? She has presented at numerous Institute conferences, including the International Congress of Actuaries 2023, highlighting her expertise in genetics and genomic science. 

Jess has also actively contributed to the IFRS17 Taskforce, the Life Insurance Practice Committee (LIPC), the Education Program (as a scrutineer and exam marker), and recently taken on the role of a mentor. Her commitment to empowering others was further highlighted when she provided inspiring advice about career progression as part of the 2024 International Women’s Day event.   

Jess is a role model and respected figure who continually strives to make a positive impact within the profession. 

Mark Samuels
Young Actuaries Advisory Board

Mark has been an active volunteer with the Actuaries Institute, joining the inaugural Young Actuaries Advisory Board (YAAB) as a member before becoming Deputy Chair, then Chair, over the following two years.

Within these roles, Mark improved the engagement of young actuaries with the Institute and helped amplify the voice of young actuaries to Council. More recently, he has volunteered as a mentor for the Institute’s revamped mentorship program and become an Institute Ambassador, representing the Institute at university and school events to promote the actuarial profession.  

Mark has also contributed to several Institute Summits, presenting on superannuation member outcomes and hosting a Q&A with the Presidential trio and CEO, further demonstrating his dedication and commitment.   


Stephanie W

Stephanie Wong
Climate Risk and Sustainability Working Group

Stephanie's dedication to volunteering spans eight years, reflecting her passion for advancing the actuarial profession. A standout achievement was her pivotal role in updating the Climate Change Technical Paper for Appointed Actuaries in 2023. Leading the project, Stephanie collaborated with various practice committees to ensure the practicality of the Paper for industry application. She also spearheaded presentations to the Professional Practice Committee and delivered insights to the broader actuarial community.  

Beyond this, Stephanie has been a tireless advocate for knowledge sharing in the climate and sustainability space, being a member of the Climate & Sustainability Working Group, writing Actuaries Digital articles, developing the Climate Risk Resource Centre, presenting at actuarial conferences,  and co-authoring the Dialogue paper, Climate Risk Disclosure – Financial Institutions Feel the Heat. Steph also serves as the co-editor on the Actuaries Digital Editorial Team, and was a scrutineer and course witness in the Education Program.  

Stephanie's efforts have significantly contributed to keeping climate change and sustainability at the forefront of discussions among members.

Melissa Yan

Melissa Yan
General Insurance Practice Committee

Melissa has been a key member of the General Insurance Practice Committee (GIPC) since 2020, taking on the responsibility of maintaining the risk register and bridging communications through her involvement as the GIPC representative on the General Insurance and Health Education Faculties.  

Her volunteering history dates back to 2003, including being the Principal Tutor for the General Insurance course and serving in the organising committee for the GI seminar. She has also participated in various working groups, including the review of the Professional Standards PS302 (previously PS 300), IFRS 17 professional guidance and, more recently, general insurance reserving. These reflect her passion for supporting GI professionals and the education of younger actuaries. 


The Young Volunteer Achievement Award identifies outstanding contributions made by members who are aged 35 years and under. Applications are judged on the nominee’s commitment to excellence in their chosen field of volunteering, leadership, and determination to advance the profession.


Ben Howe

Jonathan Blunden
Flood Insurance Working Group

Jonathan was an indispensable member of the Flood Insurance Working Group. He took on multiple volunteering responsibilities, including coordinating the Working Group's efforts in drafting the Report and consistently offering insightful questions and advice to ensure the relevance of the publication's content.  

Jonathan's rational thinking shone through as he actively shared his own ideas and prompted the group to consider new perspectives. This ongoing focus ensured the Report remained laser-focused on its key points throughout the development process.

Benjamin Howe
Ambassador Program

Ben is a dedicated and enthusiastic member of the newly created Ambassador Program. Since joining the program in 2023, he actively promoted the actuarial profession across universities and high schools. He participated in a number of events and volunteered to participate in a video to help further promote the profession.  

Ben's commitment continued in 2024, immediately requesting to remain on the team and volunteering at the UNSW Careers Night, where he spoke to students about the actuarial career path and its benefits. Ben's efforts have significantly raised awareness, emphasised the importance of further education, and highlighted the reasons why students should consider not only becoming an actuary but also an active member of the Institute.


Xio X

Meg Yang

Xiao Xu
Risk Management Committee

Xiao is an exceptional volunteer who has made a significant contribution to the field of actuarial science, in the areas of risk management, education, and research.  

She has demonstrated leadership and innovation by addressing emerging risks through leading Insights Sessions and supporting the review of papers at the International Congress of Actuaries in 2023. 

As UNSW Co-op Coordinator and mentor, she significantly boosts the recognition and achievements of Australian actuarial students globally. Xiao's role as an educator has been pivotal in guiding students toward the actuarial profession, while her research projects benefit global actuarial organisations. Her creative approach and impactful contributions to cutting-edge research greatly enhance the profession's knowledge and its ability to address contemporary challenges. 

Meg Yang
Young Data Analytics Science Working Group

Meg is the hard-working Deputy Chair of Young Data Analytics Working Group (YDAWG). She is organised, efficient, and works hard to keep members focused and on task.  

Meg recently hosted two episodes of the Gen AI podcast series, where she led an insightful conversation with industry experts on how AI can drive businesses' efficiency and growth, and on the integration of generative AI within the actuarial profession. Meg also helped guide other young actuaries to craft and host two other podcasts, Applications and Development, and AI in Superannuation.  

Meg has also previously volunteered for several years with YAP Victoria. She is a driven volunteer who takes the reins when required and is committed to making a difference in the Data Science space.