Responsibility Leaders

Feeling the Passion

The 2015 Risk All Stars Responsibility Leaders are community leaders and ardent advocates for their profession.
By: | September 14, 2015 • 9 min read

In judging this second installment of our Risk All Stars award, one thing became abundantly clear.

It didn’t matter the background of the candidate or the type of risk they were managing. The thing that unified the winners, and which clearly unifies these Responsibility Leader® winners, is passion.

Advertisement




Risk All Stars displayed creativity and perseverance in managing thorny risks for their organizations. Those that won this additional designation, that of Responsibility Leader®, impressed us by doing all of that and more.

They did it by acting as leaders in their communities, being ardent advocates for justice, caring deeply about the future of their profession, or showing the courage to stand up to formidable forces and say, in effect, “This is the way I know it should be done.”

When I asked Elizabeth Queen, vice president of risk management with Wolters Kluwer, why she dedicated so much time to protecting child welfare and building professional and cultural diversity, she wrote this:

“Having grown up in the American South during the 1960s, I have a strong belief in the right and freedom of every person to work, eat, pray, go to school, love, live freely and on a level playing field irrespective of their ‘differences.’ ”

I don’t mind admitting that I was moved by her eloquence and resolve.

When I spoke to Angeli Mancuso, the manager of employee health and safety for Cottage Health in Santa Barbara, Calif., I was reminded once again of the core passion of many nurses and doctors.

When she finishes her work week, which is dedicated to making her fellow nurses and doctors safer, Mancuso takes to the streets and parks of Santa Barbara, acting as a nurse with Doctors Without Walls, a group that offers free medical assistance to the homeless.

Mancuso told me that making a difference in her community is extremely important to her. But she goes beyond her community, and also serves as a nurse with Aeromedicos, a group of Santa Barbara medical personnel that flies into Mexico and offers free dental and medical assistance there.

Talking to these professionals is akin to watching sunshine break through cloud cover. I’m glad to have made their acquaintance and to call them Responsibility Leaders.

Here are the 2015 Risk All Stars Responsibility Leaders.

Teaching and Preaching Safety

The University of California system of higher education is lucky that Brent Cooley cares enough to have established a center of excellence in theater safety that is now in use at all 10 campuses.

Brent Cooley, Arts Health and Safety Advisor, University of California, Santa Cruz.

Brent Cooley, Arts Health and Safety Advisor, University of California, Santa Cruz

Drawing on the theater safety wisdom of Disney and with the support of OSHA, he created the first, and much needed, safety manual for the UC theater programs.

Cooley travels constantly to make sure that theater departments from the University of Calfornia, Santa Cruz down to the University of California, San Diego are taking the responsibility for safety to heart.

But the impact of Cooley’s professionalism goes far beyond even that massive system of higher education. Cooley also serves as a mentor at the annual United States Institute of Theater Technology conference, working with the Institute’s Health & Safety Commission to support its initiatives.

He is also the co-chair and the co-founder — for good measure — of the Campus Safety Health and Environmental Managers Association’s Performing Arts Safety Community of Practice.

A passionate basketball fan, Cooley also coaches basketball at the middle school level and in community youth leagues.

Read Brent’s Risk All Star profile

 

Risk Management School

The company that Tracey Gasper works for is growing fast, organically and through acquisitions. That’s the good news.

Tracey Gasper, Risk Manager, TBC Corp.

Tracey Gasper, Risk Manager, TBC Corp.

The challenge, one of many faced by the risk manager, is that her team is quite young. The most veteran member of the team has been in risk management for about a year.

Gasper recalls the days when she knew little about the property/casualty insurance industry, risk management or the specialty in risk management we know as workers’ compensation.

That’s why she’s turned her department into a mini risk management university, teaching the finer points of concepts like loss reserves and the nuances of regulatory oversight in weekly meetings.

“I’m trying to broaden their horizons so that they are aware of the bigger picture because it plays such a role in the finances of the company,” Gasper said.

Advertisement




Gasper’s Risk All Star nominators at Sedgwick laud her for her work in creating a return-to-work program that has made a huge impact, not only on the bottom line of TBC Corp., but in the lives of injured workers.

“She has been able to keep people working in their respective communities, decrease turnover and inspire other loyal employees,” Sedgwick executives said.

Read Tracey’s Risk All Star profile

 

Illuminating the Darkness

When we spoke to him, AARP’s Albert Fierro thanked us for shedding some light on the corner of the world he works in, managing risk for AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons.

Albert Fierro, Director, Risk Management, AARP

Albert Fierro, Director,
Risk Management, AARP

There is a lesson in Fierro’s humility.

Consider for a moment the impact of the work he does. By returning millions in equity to his parent organization through his innovative work in captive creation, Fierro is helping to expand programs that serve a vital social need.

His work helps fund programs that provide nutrition for low-income seniors. His work helps provide funding for those over 50 who might be homeless, looking for a job but lacking the necessary training.

His work ensures that money that would have been spent on premiums to insurance carriers is instead funneled back into an organization that has no profit goal, only a public service goal.

Albert thanked us for this attention.

But to Albert Fierro and Peter Persuitti, the multiple Power Broker® winner from Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. who nominated Fierro and whose nonprofit practice supports not only Fierro’s work, but the work of other nonprofits, we can only say, no, thank you.

Read Albert’s Risk All Star profile

 

The Entrepreneurial Gene

Tim Fischer and his risk management colleagues were given nine months to put all the pieces together to enable the spin-off of the power generation company Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises from the nuclear and governmental operations of BWX Technologies.

Tim Fischer, Chief Risk Officer, BWX Technologies

Tim Fischer, Chief Risk Officer, BWX Technologies

Plenty of work to do there. But Fischer was thinking much further down the road and even more expansively. Who was going to serve as the risk manager for the spun-off company?

Fischer had his eye on a candidate, Rachel Rozelle. He’d been bringing her along, mentoring her, and when the higher-ups were trying to decide who should manage the insurance program for the new company, Fischer thought it was time to make his voice heard in that regard.

He put his own reputation on the line and told the C-suites to look at Rozelle as a candidate.

“It took some pressure from my side to get the organization to recognize that they had a great internal candidate,” Fischer recalled.

Advertisement




That’s what we call the “entrepreneurial gene” — caring enough about the company and its outcomes to consider avenues that arguably could be well outside your job description. Going above and beyond, in other words.

We know Tim Fischer from the multiple times he won a Power Broker® designation when he worked at Marsh. We’re delighted to name him a Risk All Star and a Responsibility Leader®.

Read Tim’s Risk All Star profile

 

Taking It to the Streets

After a hard week at work making the Cottage Health hospital in Santa Barbara, Calif., safer, Angeli Mancuso takes it to the streets, literally.

Angeli Mancuso, Manager, Employee Health & Safety, Cottage Health

Angeli Mancuso, Manager, Employee Health & Safety, Cottage Health

As a nurse with the nonprofit Doctors Without Walls, which also goes by the name Santa Barbara Street Medicine, Mancuso visits the public parks in Santa Barbara to offer medical services to the homeless. There are multi-pronged benefits to the work that Mancuso and Doctors Without Walls perform.

One, seeing the disenfranchised in public cuts down on emergency room visits, freeing that service for those who in many cases are in much more urgent need of care.

Doctors Without Walls does manage chronic wounds in the homeless population, but many times the doctors and nurses in the program are needed to just lend a sympathetic ear. Or to refer someone to another service.

“It’s a lot of talking,” Mancuso said.

The group also brings along students who are interested in a career in medicine to work as scribes and on outreach.

Mancuso also serves with Aeromedicos of Santa Barbara, a nonprofit formed in Santa Barbara decades ago that flies professionals to Baja California in Mexico once a month to staff free medical and dental clinics. The hard-working Mancuso made three trips with that group this year.

Read Angeli’s Risk All Star profile

 

A Maternal Force

Any working mother will surely appreciate the following. Risk All Star Elizabeth Queen, a force in global risk management, has five children and has fostered a number of others.

Elizabeth Queen, Vice President, Risk Management, Wolters Kluwer

Elizabeth Queen, Vice President, Risk Management, Wolters Kluwer

Two of her children are adopted Pacific Islanders, and she has taken in several other children and families in need. She has served on the boards of nonprofits dedicated to child welfare and is a champion of diversity.

“Having grown up in the American South during the 1960s, I have a strong belief in the right and freedom of every person to work, eat, pray, go to school, love, live freely and on a level playing field irrespective of their ‘differences,’ ” she said.

Queen — who splits her time between the United State and the United Kingdom — is also credited with creating an enterprise-level travel risk management program for her Netherlands-based company, Wolters Kluwer.

Advertisement




In March of 2014, the graduate of Tulane University and Tulane Law served as an expert panelist for an Aon presentation on cyber risk in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Queen also advocates for the risk management community in urging insurers to craft state-of-the-art travel insurance risk management programs, an area of keen interest for many companies.

“If they build it, we, the clients, will come,” she said.

Read Elizabeth’s Risk All Star profile.

_____________________________________________

Responsibility Leader 2015Responsibility Leaders overcome obstacles by doing the right thing over the easy thing to find  practical solutions that benefit their co-workers and community.

 

The R&I Editorial Team may be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

This senior risk manager values his role in helping Varian Medical Systems support research and technologies in the fight against cancer.
By: | September 12, 2017 • 5 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

When I was 15 years old I had a summer job working for the city of Plentywood, mowing grass in the parks and ballfields, emptying garbage cans, hauling waste to the dump, painting crosswalk lines.  A great job for a teenager but I thought getting a college degree and working in an air-conditioned office would be a good plan long term.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

I was enrolled in the University of Montana as a general business student, and I wanted to declare a more specialized major during my sophomore year. I was working for my dad at his insurance agency over the summer, and taking new agent training coursework on property/casualty risks in my spare time, so I had an appreciation for insurance. My dad suggested I research risk management for a career, and I transferred sight unseen to the University of Georgia to enroll in their risk management program. I did an internship as a senior with the risk management department at Sulzer Medica, and they offered me a full time job.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

Advertisement




We need to do a better job of saying yes. We tend to want to say no to many risks, but there are upside benefits to some risks. If we initiate a collaborative exercise with the risk owners — people who may have unique knowledge about that particular risk — and include a cross section of people from other corporate functions, you can do an effective job of taking the risk apart to analyze it, figure out a way to manage that exposure, and then reap the upside benefits while reducing the downside exposure. That can be done with new products and new service offerings, when there isn’t coverage available for a risk. It’s asking, is there anything we can do to reduce the risk without transferring it?

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

Cyber liability. There’s so much at stake and the bad guys are getting more resourceful every day. At Varian, our first approach is to try to make our systems and products more resilient, so we’re trying to direct resources to preventing it from happening in the first place. It’s a huge reputation risk if one of our products or systems were compromised, so we want to avoid that at all costs.

We need to do a better job of saying yes. We tend to want to say no to many risks, but there are upside benefits to some risks.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

I’ve worked with a number of great ones over the years. We’ve enjoyed a great property insurance relationship with Zurich. Their loss control services are very valuable to us. On the umbrella liability side, it’s been great partnering with companies like Swiss Re and Berkley Life Sciences because they’ve put in the time and effort to understand our unique risk exposures.

R&I: How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?

One hundred percent through a broker. I view our broker as an extension of our risk management team. We benefit from each team member’s respective area of expertise and experience.

R&I: Is the contingent commission controversy overblown?

Advertisement




I think so. The brokers were kind of villainized by Spitzer. I think it’s fair for brokers and insurers to make a reasonable profit, and if a portion of their profit came from contingent commissions, I’m fine with that. But I do appreciate the transparency and disclosure that came out as a result of the fiasco.

R&I: Are you optimistic about the US economy or pessimistic and why?

David Collins, Senior Manager, Risk Management, Varian Medical Systems Inc.

While we might be doing fine here in the U.S. from an economic perspective, the Middle East is a mess, and we’re living with nuclear threat from North Korea. But hope springs eternal, so I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m hoping saner minds prevail and our leaders throughout the world work together to make things better.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

My Dad got me started down the insurance and risk path. I’ve also been fortunate to work for or with a number of University of Georgia alumni who’ve been mentors for me. I’ve worked side by side with Karen Epermanis, Michael Rousseau, and Elisha Finney. And I’ve worked with Daniel Dean in his capacity as a broker.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

Advertisement




Raising my kids. I have a 15-year-old and 12-year-old, and they’re making mom and dad proud of the people they’re turning into.

On a professional level, a recent one would be the creation and implementation of our global travel risk program, which was a combined effort between security, travel and risk functions.

We have a huge team of service personnel around the world, traveling to customer sites to do maintenance and repair. We needed a way to track, monitor and communicate with them. We may need to make security arrangements or vet their lodging in some circumstances.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

My 12-year-old son thought my job responsibilities could be summed up as a “professional worrier.” And that’s not too far off.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

Varian’s mission is to focus energy on saving lives. Proper administration of the risk function puts the company in a better position to financially support research that improves products and capabilities, helps to educate health care providers and support cancer care in general. It means more lives saved from a terrible disease. I’m proud to contribute toward that.

When you meet someone whose cancer has been successfully treated with one of our products, it’s a powerful reward.




Katie Siegel is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]