Responsibility Leaders

Leading From the Front

Solutions that benefited employees and communities garnered these Responsibility Leader® designations.
By: | September 15, 2014 • 10 min read

Making your fellow employees safer and creating more risk resiliency in your organization requires much more than simply doing your job.

It means doing the hard work to find a unique and practical solution, and then having the backbone and drive to implement that solution despite whatever obstacles you might face. In effect, doing the right thing over the easy thing.

These eight Responsibility Leaders do that and more.  Through their drive and passion, they are the ones creating solutions that benefit not only their organizations but their employees and their communities.

Leslie Lamb works for Cisco Systems, with 75,000 employees and more than $100 billion in assets. You could count the members of her risk management team on one hand.


But Lamb’s Global Risk & Resilience Management team is bold and acts strategically. They dig deeper into the business, to take the time to meet with department heads in the effort to better understand their risks.

Lamb and her team created that most precious of dynamics. They created a dialogue among company leaders that is risk-focused. The award-winning Lamb reports that after a five-year effort, that dialogue is not only ongoing, it is expanding.

Sprague Operating Resource’s David Hershey displayed courage and dedication in standing up for his fellow risk managers. When insurance carriers decided in one fell swoop to stop notifying designated third parties that policies naming them as insureds were cancelled, he stood up to take a leading role.

In demanding that such notification be restored contractually, Hershey was insisting that insurance be what it says it is: a backstop that enables the smooth and productive flow of commerce.

“Commerce is not in business to justify the insurance industry, insurers, agents and brokers,” Hershey said, in one of the most relevant statements that may have ever appeared in this publication.

His status as a Responsibility Leader® stems from the essence of the definition of the award. He made a difference for an entire industry by leading when no one else stepped forward.

Hershey also furthers the profession of risk management by being a frequent speaker and author on risk management topics. He talks to college students about careers in risk management and teaches insurance at the Insurance Library of Boston.

Hershey and the rest of the 2014 Risk All Stars Responsibility Leaders® are not only doing what needs to be done, they are helping others to do it as well.

Here are the 2014 Risk All Stars Responsibility Leaders.

Champion for Change

Workers’ Compensation Manager Patty Hostine created dramatic gains for Cooper Standard Automotive by championing a fundamental change in the way both management and employees perceived the company’s approach to injury treatment and recovery.

Patty Hostine, manager, workers’ compensation, Cooper Standard Automotive

Patty Hostine, manager, workers’ compensation, Cooper Standard Automotive

That kind of transformation is never an easy sell. But Hostine’s ability to clearly communicate the benefits of the change to people at every level of the organization is the hallmark of a Responsibility Leader®.

“When she came on board we had all kinds of new management — nobody was on board with our thought process,” said Gerry King, who hired Hostine to manage workers’ compensation at Cooper Standard.

“So it was taking them and making them see the business side of workers’ compensation that a lot of people don’t look at,” King said.

Hostine is also committed the members of her team, and to making sure that everyone involved has the tools and knowledge they need to excel.


“Her ethics are above reproach,” said Mick Altherr, coordinator of health, safety and environment, and workers’ compensation at Cooper Standard Automotive, “and that drives her theme of being fair, firm and friendly. … She’s an amazing talent with her drive for knowledge. She shares her thought process to educate the people who work with her.”

Read Patty’s Risk All Stars profile

Filling a Need for Safety

Saws and heavy lumber make the timber and wood products industry inherently dangerous. But many small companies lack resources to provide adequate safety training to employees.

Latitia Estrada Human Resource Generalist and Grant Coordinator, TPMA

Latitia Estrada
Human Resource Generalist and Grant Coordinator, TPMA

Enter Latitia Estrada and Chris Chathams of Timber Products Manufacturers Association (TPM). The duo leveraged their nonprofit status to win government grants to create and provide training to member organizations at no cost.

The training programs, consisting of webinars, worksheets, and videos, bring awareness to the highest-risk areas of the industry, all the way from logging in the forest to working a sawmill on the factory floor.

Over the past two years, more than 80 employers and 2,200 employees in seven different states have received training.

The pair estimates they’ve saved participating companies more than $134,000 in training costs alone, not including costs saved by lowering injury rates.

One company was able to slash their injury rates by 50 percent.

Chris Chathams Safety Resource Director, TPMA

Chris Chathams
Safety Resource Director, TPMA

Chathams and Estrada have also widened TPM’s involvement within the safety industry.

They’ve worked with different chapters of the American Society of Safety Engineers, the Northern Idaho Safety Fest and the Montana Safety Fest.

Looking to the future, they’ve also helped TPM create a safety scholarship and internship program.

Read Chris and Latitia’s Risk All Stars profile.

Making a Difference

David Hershey is a prolific speaker and writer on risk management topics. The list of industry awards he has won and industry leadership positions he occupies runs longer than most restaurant menus.

David Hershey Risk Manager, Sprague Operating Resources (Axel Johnson Inc.)

David Hershey
Risk Manager, Sprague Operating Resources (Axel Johnson Inc.)

He serves as a board member, president, vice president, and committee member — both now and in the past — for the New Hampshire chapter of the CPCU, the Massachusetts and Delaware Valley chapters of RIMS, the Philadelphia Area Risk Managers Association, the Governor’s Council on Insurance Fraud, and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

He has also volunteered his creativity and passion about risk management by serving on the External Affairs Committee and Standards & Practices Committee of the national RIMS organization.

Sharing his knowledge with others, Hershey taught classes for the Insurance Society of Philadelphia and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of New Hampshire.


In challenging insurance carriers to restore their obligation to inform named insureds when a policy is cancelled — and establishing a process to make sure his company was protected — Hershey made a difference to countless others in the risk management community, not just himself or his company.

“Notification is one of the core concepts of risk management,” he rightly noted.

Read David’s Risk All Stars profile

Taking on a Mighty Challenge

You sign on to share the burden of managing risk for a high-profile $15 billion company. Months down the road, you’re bidding “Happy Retirement” to half of your team and wondering how you’re going to manage it all alone. That scenario could send a chill down the spine of any seasoned risk professional.

Dan Holden Manager, risk and insurance Daimler Trucks of North America

Dan Holden
Manager, risk and insurance
Daimler Trucks of North America

But Dan Holden took on the challenge, and he thrived —identifying multiple savings opportunities in the insurance and risk management programs of Daimler Trucks North America.

Holden made a critical assessment of his responsibilities. He carved out the pieces that needed his attention most, and sought alternative means to get the rest accomplished, like relying more heavily on the company’s TPA and on the company’s existing online portal.

He also skillfully leveraged his resources, tapping into the expertise of his brokers, other vendors, and former colleagues to gather the tools he needed to succeed.
Taking on the work of two men, Holden persevered by looking at the big picture and restructuring his priorities.

That freed him up get creative in making adjustments to DTNA’s insurance program, negotiating better policy terms by highlighting the impact of the economic downturn. The determination to rise above every challenge is what makes Holden a Responsibility Leader®.

Read Dan’s Risk All Stars profile.

Worth Her Weight in Gold

The company Leslie Lamb works for has more than 75,000 employees and $100 billion in assets.

Leslie Lamb Director, Global Risk & Resiliency Management, Cisco Systems

Leslie Lamb
Director, Global Risk & Resiliency Management, Cisco Systems

Imagine the amount of work involved to break down department silos and gain a better understanding of risk on a department by department basis.

It can’t have been easy to go to company leadership and say that you want to conduct risk meetings with each department, to get a better understanding of not only each department’s risk but how risk straddles the entire company.

But that’s what Leslie Lamb and her risk management team of three did.
Senior leaders who didn’t before are now talking to one another about risk as a result of Lamb’s drive to unify all stakeholders.

The result is a sharing of information about exposures, risk scenarios and how best to mitigate them.

Because of Lamb’s leadership, Cisco can take to its underwriters a story that is far more educated and nuanced. Underwriters like that; they like it very much.


As a Responsibility Leader® and winner of a Risk All Stars Award, Leslie gets a plaque and mention in this magazine. But to the company that employs her, she is worth her weight in gold.

Read Leslie’s Risk All Stars profile.

Running to the Fight

Maybe it’s his history in emergency management and current service as a volunteer firefighter that gives Richard Pcihoda the reflexes to run to the fight, because that is what he did as Superstorm Sandy threatened in October of 2012.

Richard Pcihoda Director, Risk Management, PREIT Services

Richard Pcihoda
Director, Risk Management, PREIT Services

Pcihoda, the director of risk management for the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, based in Philadelphia, wasn’t the only risk manager whose job got a lot tougher when Sandy hit, but it looks like he outperformed many of his contemporaries.

Not only did Pcihoda conduct the necessary planning and preparation to reduce his own company’s business interruption, he went out of his way to counsel his company’s Jersey City (N.J.) Hudson Mall tenants on coverage and recovery methods after the mall suffered millions in damage.

Pcihoda looked at the whole picture and acted on it. The day after the storm struck, Pcihoda jumped in his truck and drove to Jersey City, getting there before formal travel bans were in place to jump start the recovery process.

He had his contractors in place ahead of the storm to get a jump on reconstruction. He had the adjuster relationships to pull it together seamlessly.

Pcihoda is a Risk All Star because he possesses passion, creativity and perseverance. He’s a Responsibility Leader® because through his actions, he shows others how it’s done.

Read Richard’s Risk All Stars profile.

Creating His Own Solution

When the 16 institutions comprising Wisconsin Technical Colleges faced persistent problems obtaining insurance coverage suited to their unique needs, Steven Stoeger-Moore didn’t just find the solution — he created it.

Steven Stoeger-Moore President, Districts Mutual Insurance

Steven Stoeger-Moore
President, Districts Mutual Insurance

Stoeger-Moore helped to establish Districts Mutual Insurance (DMI) in 2004 to represent the colleges and provide better insurance and risk management services.

Under his self-implemented “Rule of 16,” he ensures that if any school has a problem, all 16 colleges benefit from DMI’s solution. That dedication led to the development of comprehensive risk management programs — provided to each school at no cost — for electrical and fire safety inspections, emergency response planning, legal consultations, and employee health and safety consultations, among many others.

And when those programs were tested, Stoeger-Moore sprang into action. In the past 10 years, the Wisconsin Technical College System has weathered both a tornado and a major fire. Both times, he was at the scene within 24 hours of the event, providing claims and insurance guidance as well as comfort for shaken colleagues.


Stoeger-Moore has also worked to bolster the industry’s future by encouraging young people to consider a career in risk management. Through DMI, he creates opportunities for young people to learn about the colleges’ unique challenges and the programs created to meet them.

Read Steven’s Risk All Stars profile.


LBR_ResponsiblityLeader_logo-250Responsibility 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 can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Employment Practices


Sexual harassment is a growing concern for corporate America. Risk managers can pave the way to top-down culture change.
By: | March 5, 2018 • 12 min read

The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements opened up Pandora’s Box, launching countless public scandals and accusations. The stories that continue to emerge paint an unflattering picture of corporate America and the culture of sexual harassment that has permeated it for decades.


“The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It’s time to do something about it,” reads the official tagline of Time’s Up, one of the most vocal groups demanding change.

The GoFundMe campaign that supports the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund raised more than $16.7 million in less than a month, making it the most successful GoFundMe initiative on record.

Funds will be used to help victims of sexual harassment and assault bring legal action against harassers, as well as provide public relations consultation to manage any media attention such suits might attract.

The problem was never really a secret.

In surveys conducted since 1980 by the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, 40 percent of women and 15 percent of men consistently reported being sexually harassed at work.

In a sweeping meta-analysis of 25 years’ worth of research data, published in “Personnel Psychology,” an average of 25 percent of women reported experiencing sexual harassment at work. When respondents were given clear definitions of harassing behavior, that figure shot up to 60 percent.

The current climate is just now pushing awareness to the forefront. It was reported last November that law firms in the nation’s capital are seeing a spike in inquiries about sexual harassment cases.

Laura Coppola, regional head of commercial management liability in North America, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) website is seeing visits to its harassment web page double.

There’s no question the costs to businesses can be staggering. Twenty-First Century Fox reportedly incurred $50 million in costs tied to the settlement of sexual harassment and discrimination allegations in its Fox News division, as well as a $90 million settlement of shareholder claims arising from sexual harassment scandals.

In June, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing that it had $224 million in costs during the fiscal year related to “management and employee transitions and restructuring” at business units, including the group that houses Fox News.

If time is indeed up, it won’t just impact Hollywood, Silicon Valley or Capitol Hill. It will impact every workplace, in every industry.

“It affects everybody,” said Marie-France Gelot, senior vice president and insurance & claims counsel for Lockton’s Northeast Claims Advisory Group.

“I think anybody in corporate America — at some point — has seen it or been aware of it or been around it.”

“This particular phenomenon is certainly at a much wider scope than we’ve seen in the last decade or so,” said Laura Coppola, regional head of commercial management liability in North America, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty.

“This is going to touch many industries, many segments, and many people.”

Employers are beginning to wonder if their workplace could be next.

“I think if you’d been asking [insureds] a year ago, ‘Are you interested in hearing about sexual harassment prevention?’ I think the answer would have been, ‘No, we’re good, we’ve got it,’ ” said Bob Graham, vice president, HUB International Limited.

“But I think now everyone’s saying ‘Sure, yes, we’d like to hear something.’ ”

Leading the Conversation

As American workplaces come under increasing scrutiny, the time is ripe for a large-scale pivot in the way employers manage risks related to sexual harassment.

The co-chairs of the EEOC’s select task force on the study of harassment in the workplace expressed it aptly in 2016:

“With legal liability long ago established, with reputational harm from harassment well known, with an entire cottage industry of workplace compliance and training adopted and encouraged for 30 years, why does so much harassment persist and take place in so many of our workplaces? And, most important of all, what can be done to prevent it? After 30 years — is there something we’ve been missing?”

Experts in the management liability field unanimously told Risk & Insurance® these issues should be elevated to the board level and the C-suite.

“Just as cyber liability shifted rapidly from an IT discussion to a board level discussion, so too will the harassment and discrimination discussion go beyond HR and be elevated to the highest levels,” said Coppola. It will become a corporate-wide, enterprise-wide conversation.

“It’s going to take some time to get to that board level, but it’s going to have to happen,” said Paul King, national practice leader, management and professional services, USI Insurance Services.

“Risk management and HR cannot go down parallel paths, not understanding one another. Not anymore. There’s too much at stake.” — Paul King, national practice leader, management and professional services, USI Insurance Services

Risk managers, said Kelly Thoerig, U.S. employment practices liability coverage leader, Marsh, are well suited to lead this conversation, which means actively partnering with human resources, the legal department, the general counsel’s office and outside counsel.


“Just like the quarterback depends on the offensive line, on receivers, on the running backs, it’s not a one-man show,” said King. “This can’t be the risk manager operating in a vacuum; they have to be liaising with multiple parts of the organization.”

Added King, “Risk management and HR cannot go down parallel paths, not understanding one another. Not anymore. There’s too much at stake.”

Connecting with outside counsel can also be of great benefit to risk managers, said Coppola.

“[They can] provide a very independent objective view of what they see in the overall market and how their knowledge of the individual client’s best practices can be improved and enhanced to ensure that they are protecting employees and the organization.”

Brokers and carriers also may be able to offer insights and services. Unfortunately, that piece is often lost because risk management and HR are siloed.

“The [knowledge of the] services that come with the insurance policy end up with the policy — in a drawer in the risk manager’s office,” said Tom Hams, employment practice liability insurance leader, Aon.

“HR doesn’t know that they exist. Even if they’re just online blogs or something like that, they could be more meaningful to the HR department than they are to risk management.

“So it’s important to make sure that companies are aware they’ve got those tools and — more importantly — to share them internally.”

Expediting Cultural Change

The X factor that underpins every aspect of these efforts is culture, experts agreed.

“It’s not so much ‘does the company have best-in-class policies and procedures in place;’ I think many of them do. I think that a significant change needed is doing a full overhaul of corporate culture, and that’s no small feat,” said Gelot.

Paul King, national practice leader, management and professional services, USI Insurance Services

True culture change can only come from the top level. But that isn’t likely to happen unless everyone at the top understands what the scope of the exposure could be if it’s not addressed appropriately on the front end. And for that, money talks, said Thoerig, who will be presenting on the topic at RIMS 2018 in San Antonio.

“Nothing is more instructive than real tangible claims examples and settlement amounts. Arm yourself with … recent, relevant claims examples specific to the industry and the jurisdictions the company operates in.”

In addition, said King, HR and legal should be regularly feeding claims information to risk managers to share at quarterly meetings of the board and give specific updates around these issues.

Armed with that level of intelligence, top brass can set the goals that will drive all anti-harassment efforts, said experts, putting an emphasis on identifying and correcting behavior that could potentially expose a company to liability.

Better Training and Reporting 

The best anti-harassment programs are multilayered, said Hams, with each facet carefully tailored to suit the employee population, the industry and the organization’s goals. A clearly defined policy is essential, stating that harassment will not be tolerated and neither will retaliation against those who report it.

The policy should be clear that employees are expected to report harassment or unacceptable behavior. Hams said he’s seen companies go so far as to state employees who don’t speak up are in violation of the policy.

“At least it should give them pause to stop and think about what they might have seen before they click the button or sign the document,” he said.

Companies should consider how uncomfortable employees may be about speaking up. An open-door policy is a start.

But there should also be multiple reporting points throughout the organization, said Hams, and an anonymous hotline for those reluctant to bring the matter up with anyone in their chain of command, and a multilingual hotline as well.

An effective training plan will have multiple moving parts and should touch every level of the organization from the executive suite to managers and supervisors to the rank and file. Comprehensive training is especially critical for the managers and supervisors who might receive or investigate complaints.

Many large employers already have training programs that can be considered best-in-class. Small to midsized employers, however, may still be using the cookie-cutter compliance-centric training that has dominated the field for decades.

The goal of this training is to hit all the bases related to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, ticking off a list of acts or speech that would be considered illegal and affirming the company will not tolerate illegal behavior.

Overwhelmingly though, this type of training misses the mark. Studies have shown that this one-size-fits-all training is ineffective, especially when it’s a rote check-the-box exercise. Employees get the message their employer doesn’t take the subject too seriously.

Worse, it can even aggravate tensions, creating more discriminatory behavior from men who avoid working with women just to eliminate the chance of being accused of anything.

One study even found that men were more likely to place blame on the victim of sexual abuse after they’d received that type of anti-harassment training.

Even at best, compliance-centric training will still fail, because it only addresses behaviors that violate the law. But there is a broad array of behavior that — while not quite illegal — shouldn’t be tolerated.

When this kind of activity is allowed to flourish unchecked, the environment becomes increasingly toxic for those on the receiving end. It also tells employees that the company will tolerate harassment as long as it’s not overly egregious. In that case, it’s just a matter of time before the company is faced with a serious claim.

“Nothing is more instructive than real tangible claims examples and settlement amounts. Arm yourself with … recent, relevant claims examples specific to the industry and the jurisdictions the company operates in.” — Kelly Thoerig, U.S. employment practices liability coverage leader, Marsh

In its 2016 report, the EEOC’s harassment task force recommended changing tactics, exploring alternative training models such as respect-based civility training — what some call professionalism training.


The theory is “if you train them to act in a professional manner, these things tend not to happen at all,” said Hams.

The EEOC also suggested bystander intervention training, which is designed to empower employees to intervene when they witness harassing behavior.

Experts agreed whatever training programs or modules a company chooses, it’s important the training material reflect the workforce and be continuous and regularly refreshed.

A certification scheme also should be put in place to ensure the training is hitting the mark. While the law does not yet require companies to prove the effectiveness of their programs, some suggest it’s only a matter of time before the courts catch up to the problem.

What’s more, said Coppola, it’s simply the right thing to do for companies that want to confirm they’ve created a culture where all employees can expect to be treated professionally.

Zero Tolerance

Gelot and others believe a zero-tolerance policy should be a key component of an effective anti-harassment program.

“There are many companies that have Harvey Weinsteins and Matt Lauers and Kevin Spaceys working in their midst and those people are tolerated. Employees know about them — it’s not a secret.”

Bob Graham, vice president, HUB International Limited

Particularly when the harasser is a high-level executive, companies may wrestle with the decision to look the other way or lose a key rainmaker. In a zero-tolerance environment — one that starts at the top — the decision would be clear.

“What we saw with Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose — they were terminated immediately as the accusations came out. That’s zero tolerance. That’s sending a message to all of the employees within the company that this is completely unacceptable, we won’t tolerate it, and [it] clearly sends a message to the public at large.”

Employers should promote a workplace culture where all forms of harassment and discrimination are unacceptable and reportable, said Gelot. That’s the only way to take the fear and the stigma out of reporting.

That said, the EEOC offers a word of caution on zero-tolerance policies applied militantly without regard for common sense. Employers should hash out the specifics of which acts merit immediate termination versus a warning.

Overzealous application of the zero-tolerance doctrine can backfire if an employee fears her coworker’s children will go hungry if she reports his lewd or sexist jokes.

Creating a Dialogue

As with managing any other exposure that touches everyone, robust sharing of ideas and best practices has the power to improve the risk profile of entire industry sectors.

Facebook raised eyebrows in December, making public its sexual harassment policy in full.

“I hope in sharing it we will start a discussion, both to help smaller companies thinking about this for the first time, and to improve our own practices by learning from other companies,” wrote Lori Goler, Facebook’s global VP of people, about the company’s bold move.


That level of disclosure is making some risk professionals uncomfortable. But others acknowledge the wisdom of it.

“Any time you can share best practices that’s probably a great idea, because no one has all the answers … or at least not all the right answers,” said Graham.

“There’s a reason they did that, and I think it’s for all the right, positive reasons. They want to drive the momentum that is going to reduce or even eliminate what we have seen in corporate America over the last 50-plus years. They want to lead by example, they want to be the model and rightly so,” added Coppola.

“I think we are at a perfect time in our economic environment that allows the evolution of equality in our workplace.”

Part of that should involve making the workplace more egalitarian, said Gelot, and figuring out “how to make female employees not feel ostracized by a ‘boys’ club’ atmosphere, and actively championing the ascension of women into senior rolls.”

“We can’t focus on the past,” said Coppola. “But we can work very hard collectively as a community, and within the insurance industry specifically, to move forward.” &

Michelle Kerr is associate editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]