Risk Management

The Profession

After witnessing the aftermath of medical error firsthand, Jeff Driver dedicated himself to reducing risk and promoting prevention in health care.
By: | August 29, 2017 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

Respiratory therapist at the Cleveland Clinic.

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

When I worked as an orderly at an inner-city hospital in Cleveland, my team experienced the trauma of medical error involving a child. All my training hadn’t prepared me for that — for medical error and its causes, its scope, its prevention. As a result, I became a patient representative, and shortly thereafter, a risk manager.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

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We’ve adopted enterprise risk management nicely.  And while that’s a good holistic strategy, I don’t think it’s the silver bullet. We need to continue to work on risk management effectiveness.

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

Using technology to collect and analyze data to quickly implement safety interventions. In short, prevention.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

Probably adopting new technology. Other industries have been quick to do so — AI for example —  but we’re a little laggard at adopting technologies that are designed specifically for the health care space and managing risk.

Jeffrey Driver, CRO, Stanford University Medical Center and CEO, The Risk Authority Stanford

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

Cyber risk and cyber threat.

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

We engage with our brokers hand in hand, as a partnership. Our CEOs and team meet and work directly with underwriters on an annual basis all over the world.

R&I: Are you optimistic about the U.S. economy or pessimistic?

Optimistic.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

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I’ve had many mentors over the years, but my first mentor, actually, was my first broker. Before I even became a risk manager, I reached out to her about an internship with her company and she went to bat for me. While I didn’t end up with the internship, I did end up working with her as my first broker. She took me under her wing and taught me the business. And while she’s now retired, we remain close.

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

I haven’t accomplished it yet. We’ve done a lot and there are many things my team has done that I’m proud of, but I feel like we can’t stop until we reach zero harm. And while that’s perhaps not entirely possible, we will continue to endeavor for it. I’m also taking a personal and active interest in suicide prevention.

R&I: How many e-mails do you get in a day?

200-plus.

“I love putting people together with complimentary skills and disciplines, and then helping to foster and focus those talents in a particular direction.”

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

Field of Dreams.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

Castello di Sinio in the Barolo wine region of northern Italy.

R&I: What is your favorite drink?

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Nickle & Nickle Cabernet Sauvignon single vineyard designates.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

The Czech Republic right after it formed as a democracy. This was in the ’90s, after the Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and a democracy and federalization deepened. The citizens were amazed at how Americans were living and beginning to embrace their own liberation. It was an amazing thing to witness.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

Scuba diving.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

The people reading this and the ones in our industry who never give up. The ones that want to learn more, and do better, and never stop reaching.

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

The thing I take the most joy in is bringing in teams of people to accomplish specific goals. I love putting people together with complimentary skills and disciplines, and then helping to foster and focus those talents in a particular direction.

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

I asked my daughter, who actually works within my company as a business writer. Here’s what she said: “What I see you doing is bringing together a team of bright, passionate, and talented people who want to make health care better in whatever way they can. You have a vision that unites them, one that embraces a diversity of strengths and strategies, which then accelerates the growth of innovation. I see you redefining what it means to be a risk manager in health care, and while complex, what it all boils down to is I see you trying to help save lives.”




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

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

Pinnacle Entertainment’s VP of enterprise risk management says he’s inspired by Disney’s approach to risk management.
By: | November 1, 2017 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

Bus boy at a fine dining restaurant.

R&I: How did you come to work in this industry?

I sent a résumé to Harrah’s Entertainment on a whim. It took over 30 hours of interviewing to get that job, but it was well worth it.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

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The Chinese citizen (never positively identified) who stood in front of a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. That kind of courage is undeniable, and that image is unforgettable. I hope we can all be that passionate about something at least once in our lives.

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

Cyber risk, but more narrowly, cyber-extortion. I think state sponsored bad actors are getting more and more sophisticated, and the risk is that they find a way to control entire systems.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

Training and breaking horses. When I was in high school, I worked on a lot of farms. I did everything from building fences to putting up hay. It was during this time that I found I had a knack for horses. They would tolerate me getting real close, so it was natural I started working more and more with them.

Eventually, I was putting a saddle on a few and before I knew it I was in that saddle riding a horse that had never been ridden before.

I admit I had some nervous moments, but I was never thrown off. It taught me that developing genuine trust early is very important and is needed by all involved. Nothing of any real value happens without it.

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

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Setting very aggressive goals and then meeting and exceeding those goals with a team. Sharing team victories is the ultimate reward.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

Disney World. The sheer size of the place is awe inspiring. And everything works like a finely tuned clock.

There is a reason that hospitality companies send their people there to be trained on guest service. Disney World does it better than anyone else.

As a hospitality executive, I always learn something new whenever I am there.

James Cunningham, vice president, enterprise risk management, Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc.

The risks that Disney World faces are very similar to mine — on a much larger scale. They are complex and across the board. From liability for the millions of people they host as their guests each year, to the physical location of the park, to their vendor partnerships; their approach to risk management has been and continues to be innovative and a model that I learn from and I think there are lessons there for everybody.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

We are doing a much better job of getting involved in a meaningful way in our daily operations and demonstrating genuine value to our organizations.

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

Educating and promoting the career with young people.

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

Being able to tell the Pinnacle story. It’s a great one and it wasn’t being told. I believe that the insurance markets now understand who we are and what we stand for.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

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John Matthews, who is now retired, formerly with Aon and Caesar’s Palace. John is an exceptional leader who demonstrated the value of putting a top-shelf team together and then letting them do their best work. I model my management style after him.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

I read mostly biographies and autobiographies. I like to read how successful people became successful by overcoming their own obstacles. Jay Leno, Jack Welch, Bill Harrah, etc. I also enjoyed the book and movie “Money Ball.”

R&I: What is your favorite drink?

Ice water when it’s hot, coffee when it’s cold, and an adult beverage when it’s called for.

R&I: What does your family think you do?

In my family, I’m the “Safety Geek.”

R&I:  What’s your favorite restaurant?

Vegas is a world-class restaurant town. No matter what you are hungry for, you can find it here. I have a few favorites that are my “go-to’s,” depending on the mood and who I am with.

If you’re in town, you should try to have at least one meal off the strip. For that, I would suggest you get reservations (you’ll need them) at Herbs and Rye. It’s a great little restaurant that is always lively. The food is tremendous, and the service is always on point. They make hand-crafted cocktails that are amazing.

My favorite Mexican restaurant is Lindo Michoacan. There are three in town, and I prefer the one in Henderson as it has the best view of the valley. For seafood, you can never go wrong with Joe’s in Caesar’s Palace.




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