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SAM TASHIMA Director and actuary


Bloomington, Minnesota

As the son of a math teacher, Sam Tashima always assumed he would have a similar career. As he prepared for college, however, a teacher suggested he look into actuarial science. That led to an actuarial science major at the University of Minnesota and an internship at Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. In 2009, he accepted a position at Aon and also began working toward an MBA degree, which he also completed at the University of Minnesota.

What’s your top tip for working remotely?

What’s been most useful is making sure I carve out time for lunch and some exercise. Working with different time zones can be challenging, and it isn’t easy when you’re tethered to the computer.

How will your work change going forward?

As organizations transform and their risks become more complex, the value we get from face-to-face interactions can’t be overstated. Even though we have great technologies, like Zoom and WebEx, which means we don’t have to travel as much, there is significant value from sitting down with an underwriter or a client.

What should the industry do to attract more young people to work in it?

From a diversity aspect, as well as attracting people — I am Japanese-American — I think one of the biggest things we can continue is participate in mentorship and advisory programs at universities, because some students may not have exposure to insurance.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I am a big Star Wars fan, and I play a card game called Star Wars CCG that ran from 1995 to 2001. After a 13-year hiatus, I got back into it. It’s a small, great community.

All-time favorite movie?

“The Empire Strikes Back.”