Chapter Volunteer Profile
By Patrick Raleigh, Merrill Corporation, IASA Land O' Lakes Chapter Past President

Featured Volunteer: Tara Alex, Partner, Ernst & Young LLP


eInterpreter: What was the first IASA Chapter event you attended and what inspired you to go?
Alex: My first IASA event was the yearly Northeastern Chapter meeting a few years back.  Some of my peers at EY, as well as clients, were active on the board and I viewed it as a great way to network with others in the industry while having a bit of fun.

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eInterpreter: What is the biggest benefit of having access to insurance education locally to you and your company?
Alex: Because I work in public accounting, I have an abundance of opportunities to obtain CPE hours within our organization.  However, the offerings are not always insurance specific, so this is a great supplement.  Our conference education sessions are something I make sure my clients are aware of, as it is accessible, on point regarding the business risks insurers are currently facing, and a real bargain when one considers that you are not only gaining knowledge, but gaining new industry contacts too! 

eInterpreter: If money was no object...what would you love to do for a living?
Alex: That is easy!  Eating (and drinking nice wine) is one of my favorite past times, but cleaning up after cooking is not high on my list of passions.  Thus, I would love to be a food critic for a magazine and travel around trying new places.

eInterpreter: Do you have any hobbies that could affect your personal insurance premiums? 
If you consider driving on the Boston highways a hobby, than my auto premiums are in trouble! For those of you who have trampolines…we have one of those in our back yard and it clearly has impacted how we insure our home (and yes, every now and then I will go on it with my kids).

eInterpreter: Do you volunteer for any other organization other than the IASA? If so, which organization and why?
In addition to working on community service projects that are sponsored by EY, I recently completed four years of serving as PTO treasurer of the integrated pre-school my children attended. Given my work schedule, this was a role I really valued as it helped me build relationships within my town while fundraising to provide the children with enrichment activities they would otherwise not have access to. Once my stint as the Northeast Chapter president ends, I will be looking for a new way to spend my “free” time!

eInterpreter: Besides family and friends, what 3 things could you NOT live without?
The first things that came to mind are vodka/soda/lemon, but that is because I have had a busy week! In all seriousness, I could not live without my running sneakers (my sanity), my camera (my passion) and almond butter (my favorite snack).

How did you first get started in the insurance industry?
In all honesty, it was by accident.  My first assignment at EY was a large life insurance company and the rest is history! Every day is a great learning experience and I enjoy working with my audit team and client contacts.  

eInterpreter: What would you say to a colleague, or even a peer at another company, who has never attended an IASA Chapter event about getting involved?
One of the things that struck me at my first IASA Chapter event was how inviting it was.  It is a great opportunity to network with your industry peers.  

eInterpreter: What is your current job and what aspect of your position do you find most rewarding?
Alex: I just wrapped up my 5th year as an insurance audit partner at EY. I have been fortunate enough to work in our Boston office for a little over 20 years serving some of our biggest Life and P&C clients. There are so many things about this career path that make it worthwhile and narrowing it down to one is tricky (so I am going to cheat). From a client service perspective, I love when we come to a resolution on a difficult transaction or technical issue. From an internal perspective, nothing compares to watching the people that you mentor and coach climb the ranks and achieve their goals. 

eInterpreter: So after a tough your release a good workout, a certain food, or something over ice?
Alex: I am an early riser, so I usually try to fit my workouts in before work each day. Thus, a Ketel One and soda with a twist of lemon over ice is my go to when I am looking to relax after a long day. 

Pictured: Tara Alex & Family