HomeCommunity NewsLord, Trombley Introduced To Community at Rotary

Lord, Trombley Introduced To Community at Rotary

San Marino Rotarians welcomed speakers Richard Lord and Dr. Laura Skandera Trombley with a flood of applause during their Jan. 12 craft talks.

Richard Lord is an executive partner at the Pasadena office of the actuarial firm Milliman.

He explained the role of an actuary—a job that he admitted many are unfamiliar with—with a joke.

“What is the difference between an actuary who works for a life insurance company and an actuary who works for the Mafia?” he asked Rotarians.

“An actuary that works for the life insurance company can tell you, out of all their policy holders, how many are going to die in the next year. An actuary who works for the Mafia can tell you who,” he answered as the crowd laughed.

Lord grew up in La Cañada, where he graduated from La Cañada High School. He then started college at Pasadena City College.

“While at PCC, I really had one of the transformative periods of my life. I had a calculus teacher there who recommended me for a summer job at this actuarial firm in Pasadena,” Lord said.

“It sounded like a good summer job and I said ‘Great, I’ll go do it,’” he explained. “I like math. Someone’s going to pay me to do math. What’s better than that?”

His experience that summer led to an internship at Milliman the following year and a change in college major from chemical engineering to math and statistics when he transferred to Cal Poly Pomona to complete his undergraduate education.

Lord celebrates his thirtieth year with Milliman this year, thanks in part to the direction provided by Lord’s PCC calculus professor.

“Not long after that, I looked for the teacher that I had at PCC who recommended me for the job and I couldn’t find her. And to this day, [I’ve] never been able to tell her ‘thank you’” he noted.

“And so one of the things that left an impression on me is, never miss an opportunity to tell somebody that you appreciate them. You don’t know when you’ll get another chance,” Lord shared with the audience.

He took the opportunity of his craft talk to share his gratitude for his peers at Milliman—now a $1 billion company—who voted him onto the company’s board of directors.

“That’s the biggest honor of my career because that’s something that your partners, your peers there, vote for you,” he said of his position.

“So most of my consulting deals with personalized insurance like homeowners and auto, and liability lines of insurances like medical malpractice liability,” said Lord, a property and casualty actuary.

He noted that Milliman provides many types of actuarial consulting, and is especially active in the healthcare industry.

“We help them evaluate their workers’ compensation liabilities and their medical malpractice liabilities,” Lord said of the various healthcare entities that employ Milliman’s services.

He has also become involved in the area of micro-insurance.

“It’s insurance geared towards people in less developed countries, who don’t have access to bona fide financial markets or financial institutions and insurance companies,” he explained.

He stated that his work has provided healthcare insurance to coffee growers of Mt. Kilimanjaro and can provide crop insurance to small farmers in Kenya.

“So members of the [coffee] co-op now have a health insurance policy that says if they get malaria or if they have a broken leg, there are clinics where they can go and get healthcare,” he shared.

Keeping with his philanthropic nature, Lord joined Rotary, which he said began with a family trip, helmed by his brother-in-law—president of a Rotary club in Stockton—to a Rotary-sponsored school in Cambodia that led to the “most eye-opening experience of my whole life.”

“These were the poorest of the poor children in Cambodia, who absent this school would spend their days begging on the streets. And instead here they are five days a week; they get to come to this Rotary-sponsored school—five, seven, 10 years old—learning math and English, eating five meals a week,” he said.

Lord and his wife, Sean Ky, a graduate of USC’s dental school and a dentist in Pasadena, have lived in San Marino for 10 years. They have three children in San Marino public schools.

“After our son was born, we started thinking ‘Well, where do we want to raise our children? Where do we want them to go to school? What community do we want them to live in?’ And we found San Marino,” he said.

“I don’t think I’ve made a better decision in my life. We couldn’t be happier. It’s a wonderful community with wonderful people and it’s a great place to raise kids,” he added.

Dr. Laura Skandera Trombley, President of The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, also noted San Marino’s significance to her life.

“I think The Huntington is an incredibly special place. We’re very, very grateful to live in San Marino and be a part of a larger community and we’re all dedicated at The Huntington to making sure that this great, great place continues,” she said.

Trombley cited her parents—both of whom were teachers—as her role models.

“I was very profoundly affected by my parents and their incredible dedication to young people. And just the sacrifices they made so they could stay in the classroom and be really involved,” she said, stating that she followed in their footsteps as an undergraduate at Pepperdine University followed by graduate coursework at the University of Southern California.

“So it was clear that I wanted to teach. So I taught for many years and then became an administrator. And it was while I was in grad school at USC that I became involved in Mark Twain studies,” she recalled.

Trombley explained that her first book about Mark Twain—which landed her a spot in a Ken Burns documentary—was, in part, informed by 100 previously-unknown Mark Twain letters.

The letters were purchased for $100 by a retired banker interested in beginning a stamp collection.

“So he bought them. And at first he was going to throw them away because the stamps really weren’t worth anything and he didn’t recognize S.L. Clemens,” she said.

She continued, “And his wife started to read through the letters and she said ‘I don’t know who this guy is, but he’s funny and he tells a good story.’ And he had them for months before he finally figured it out. Even then he didn’t think they were very valuable so he would just show people on the bus. And finally, one day, a young woman sitting next to her said, ‘I’m a USC student and you should call my professor.’ And that’s how I became involved.”

Trombley noted that she is the only person to have read all 100 letters, known as Twain’s ‘Hollywood Letters,’ which Twain wrote to his three daughters.

“I didn’t know Twain had daughters. I didn’t even know he was married. I was really surprised, too, because these were really significant letters. It was not just, ‘Hi, I’m having fun.’ It was ‘Here’s a business deal I’m about to do’ or ‘Here’s a book I’m working on,’” she explained.

“Twain was actually my introduction to The Huntington as an adult because The Huntington has a remarkable collection and a great Mark Twain collection. And I did research there as a scholar,” she remembered.

“And I fell in love with The Huntington as a child and absolutely revere it as a humanities scholar. And, in fact, in many ways would not be here without The Huntington as part of my life and certainly as part of my academic life,” she added.

A recent experience at The Huntington brought Trombley full circle, back to the memory of her parents.

“In one of those funny ways which life works, about two months ago, I had a guest come to The Huntington, who’s actually a fairly prominent photographer, who was taking photographs for a Chinese travel magazine. And he wanted to say hello. And he walked in and he said, ‘I was one of your father’s students,’” Trombley told the crowd.

The photographer, she said, brought with him a picture of his 1956 5th grade class at Los Angeles’s 98th Street School, which included Trombley’s father as the teacher.

“He said my father was the most important teacher he ever had and he started to quote things my father had said,” she told Rotarians.

The Huntington has also been the site of new beginnings for Trombley.

“It took the Chinese Garden at The Huntington to get him to propose,” she said of her fiancé, who proposed to Trombley last year.

Trombley was the president of Pitzer College for 13 years before assuming her role as president of The Huntington in July, 2015. She has one son, who is a sophomore in college.

San Marino Rotarians welcomed speakers Richard Lord and Dr. Laura Skandera Trombley with a flood of applause during their Jan. 12 craft talks.

Richard Lord is an executive partner at the Pasadena office of the actuarial firm Milliman.

He explained the role of an actuary—a job that he admitted many are unfamiliar with—with a joke.

“What is the difference between an actuary who works for a life insurance company and an actuary who works for the Mafia?” he asked Rotarians.

“An actuary that works for the life insurance company can tell you, out of all their policy holders, how many are going to die in the next year. An actuary who works for the Mafia can tell you who,” he answered as the crowd laughed.

Lord grew up in La Cañada, where he graduated from La Cañada High School. He then started college at Pasadena City College.

“While at PCC, I really had one of the transformative periods of my life. I had a calculus teacher there who recommended me for a summer job at this actuarial firm in Pasadena,” Lord said.

“It sounded like a good summer job and I said ‘Great, I’ll go do it,’” he explained. “I like math. Someone’s going to pay me to do math. What’s better than that?”

His experience that summer led to an internship at Milliman the following year and a change in college major from chemical engineering to math and statistics when he transferred to Cal Poly Pomona to complete his undergraduate education.

Lord celebrates his thirtieth year with Milliman this year, thanks in part to the direction provided by Lord’s PCC calculus professor.

“Not long after that, I looked for the teacher that I had at PCC who recommended me for the job and I couldn’t find her. And to this day, [I’ve] never been able to tell her ‘thank you’” he noted.

“And so one of the things that left an impression on me is, never miss an opportunity to tell somebody that you appreciate them. You don’t know when you’ll get another chance,” Lord shared with the audience.

He took the opportunity of his craft talk to share his gratitude for his peers at Milliman—now a $1 billion company—who voted him onto the company’s board of directors.

“That’s the biggest honor of my career because that’s something that your partners, your peers there, vote for you,” he said of his position.

“So most of my consulting deals with personalized insurance like homeowners and auto, and liability lines of insurances like medical malpractice liability,” said Lord, a property and casualty actuary.

He noted that Milliman provides many types of actuarial consulting, and is especially active in the healthcare industry.

“We help them evaluate their workers’ compensation liabilities and their medical malpractice liabilities,” Lord said of the various healthcare entities that employ Milliman’s services.

He has also become involved in the area of micro-insurance.

“It’s insurance geared towards people in less developed countries, who don’t have access to bona fide financial markets or financial institutions and insurance companies,” he explained.

He stated that his work has provided healthcare insurance to coffee growers of Mt. Kilimanjaro and can provide crop insurance to small farmers in Kenya.

“So members of the [coffee] co-op now have a health insurance policy that says if they get malaria or if they have a broken leg, there are clinics where they can go and get healthcare,” he shared.

Keeping with his philanthropic nature, Lord joined Rotary, which he said began with a family trip, helmed by his brother-in-law—president of a Rotary club in Stockton—to a Rotary-sponsored school in Cambodia that led to the “most eye-opening experience of my whole life.”

“These were the poorest of the poor children in Cambodia, who absent this school would spend their days begging on the streets. And instead here they are five days a week; they get to come to this Rotary-sponsored school—five, seven, 10 years old—learning math and English, eating five meals a week,” he said.

Lord and his wife, Sean Ky, a graduate of USC’s dental school and a dentist in Pasadena, have lived in San Marino for 10 years. They have three children in San Marino public schools.

“After our son was born, we started thinking ‘Well, where do we want to raise our children? Where do we want them to go to school? What community do we want them to live in?’ And we found San Marino,” he said.

“I don’t think I’ve made a better decision in my life. We couldn’t be happier. It’s a wonderful community with wonderful people and it’s a great place to raise kids,” he added.

Dr. Laura Skandera Trombley, President of The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, also noted San Marino’s significance to her life.

“I think The Huntington is an incredibly special place. We’re very, very grateful to live in San Marino and be a part of a larger community and we’re all dedicated at The Huntington to making sure that this great, great place continues,” she said.

Trombley cited her parents—both of whom were teachers—as her role models.

“I was very profoundly affected by my parents and their incredible dedication to young people. And just the sacrifices they made so they could stay in the classroom and be really involved,” she said, stating that she followed in their footsteps as an undergraduate at Pepperdine University followed by graduate coursework at the University of Southern California.

“So it was clear that I wanted to teach. So I taught for many years and then became an administrator. And it was while I was in grad school at USC that I became involved in Mark Twain studies,” she recalled.

Trombley explained that her first book about Mark Twain—which landed her a spot in a Ken Burns documentary—was, in part, informed by 100 previously-unknown Mark Twain letters.

The letters were purchased for $100 by a retired banker interested in beginning a stamp collection.

“So he bought them. And at first he was going to throw them away because the stamps really weren’t worth anything and he didn’t recognize S.L. Clemens,” she said.

She continued, “And his wife started to read through the letters and she said ‘I don’t know who this guy is, but he’s funny and he tells a good story.’ And he had them for months before he finally figured it out. Even then he didn’t think they were very valuable so he would just show people on the bus. And finally, one day, a young woman sitting next to her said, ‘I’m a USC student and you should call my professor.’ And that’s how I became involved.”

Trombley noted that she is the only person to have read all 100 letters, known as Twain’s ‘Hollywood Letters,’ which Twain wrote to his three daughters.

“I didn’t know Twain had daughters. I didn’t even know he was married. I was really surprised, too, because these were really significant letters. It was not just, ‘Hi, I’m having fun.’ It was ‘Here’s a business deal I’m about to do’ or ‘Here’s a book I’m working on,’” she explained.

“Twain was actually my introduction to The Huntington as an adult because The Huntington has a remarkable collection and a great Mark Twain collection. And I did research there as a scholar,” she remembered.

“And I fell in love with The Huntington as a child and absolutely revere it as a humanities scholar. And, in fact, in many ways would not be here without The Huntington as part of my life and certainly as part of my academic life,” she added.

A recent experience at The Huntington brought Trombley full circle, back to the memory of her parents.

“In one of those funny ways which life works, about two months ago, I had a guest come to The Huntington, who’s actually a fairly prominent photographer, who was taking photographs for a Chinese travel magazine. And he wanted to say hello. And he walked in and he said, ‘I was one of your father’s students,’” Trombley told the crowd.

The photographer, she said, brought with him a picture of his 1956 5th grade class at Los Angeles’s 98th Street School, which included Trombley’s father as the teacher.

“He said my father was the most important teacher he ever had and he started to quote things my father had said,” she told Rotarians.

The Huntington has also been the site of new beginnings for Trombley.

“It took the Chinese Garden at The Huntington to get him to propose,” she said of her fiancé, who proposed to Trombley last year.

Trombley was the president of Pitzer College for 13 years before assuming her role as president of The Huntington in July, 2015. She has one son, who is a sophomore in college.

 

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