Introducing the 2022 Risk All Stars

Some of our 2022 Risk All Stars managed risk for major projects. Others won by showing how much they care about people.
By: | July 25, 2022

They didn’t say it themselves, but the 2022 Risk All Stars may have distinguished themselves for the simple reason that they didn’t get pushed off task by distractions.

By being persistent, keeping the fires of their passion alive, and maintaining room in their systems for creativity, these risk professionals provided invaluable counsel to their colleagues. This despite the menacing presence of pandemic, multiple wars, domestic discord and inflation and supply chain shocks to the economy.

There was certainly an element of scope in the narratives in some of these Risk All Star  applications.

Take the case of Jim Iervolino, who is the senior vice president for risk management for the Vornado Realty Trust. Talk about scope, the Trust owns, literally, 20 million square feet of real estate in one of the most prime locations on the planet: Manhattan.

With that much value in a relatively tight location, the word aggregation comes to mind. This is exactly the kind of risk that makes underwriters leery. That being billions in property value in a high-profile neighborhood that includes Madison Square Garden and the Moynihan Train Platform at New York’s Penn Station.

Faced with declining carrier appetite and increasing premium prices, Iervolino worked with his partners to deliver full limits for his liability programs while maintaining manuscripted coverages where most have been eliminated from other programs, according to his broker, Marsh’s Nick Bozzi.

“Jim has the respect of his organization and management team,” Bozzi said. He has our respect, too. That’s why we named him a Risk All Star for 2022.

Yet another risk manager who faced a challenge with scope was Marcelo Brutti, the chief risk officer for City National Bank in Los Angeles.

Brutti joined the bank in 2019, when it was a $51 billion-in-assets organization. He was tasked with revamping almost every element of the bank’s risk management program while keeping in mind that whatever controls and processes he implemented would have to be designed not to inhibit the bank’s growth.

Not only was Brutti successful, but he is part of a management team that has seen the bank grow to a $91 billion in assets business this year. Brutti likes to talk about “not crushing the butterfly.”

That is, making sure the other stakeholders in the organization knew what they needed to know about risk, without being so heavy handed that they felt imposed on. Brutti, like many successful types, credits others for his achievements. In this case, he points to the fact that CNB, as a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada, enjoys scads of risk management support from the parent company.

“If we were a fully independent bank, this would have been three times more difficult, because I wouldn’t have had the ability to tap on the shoulder resources, policies, programs tools and procedures from a large, international, successful bank that has been in place for more than 150 years,” he said.

True maybe. But we still think you are terrific, Marcelo, and that’s why we named you a Risk All Star.

Want more scope? Think of Ben Evans, the assistant vice president, risk management and insurance, for the University of Pennsylvania. Evans managed risk for the construction of The Pavilion, Penn Medical’s major expansion project in the heart of Philadelphia.

His dedication to the safety of the hundreds of construction workers very much impressed his brokers at Philadelphia-based Graham Company.

Evans personally walked the worksites every week to make sure all the safety boxes were checked. “We’ve been doing OCIPs (Owner-controlled Insurance Programs) for 30 years, and we’ve never had an owner who walked [through the site] each week with us, let alone for six years,” said Tom Morrin, senior vice president of the Graham Company, who partnered with Penn Medicine to complete the Pavilion.

Scope is important, and grabs headlines, but sometimes it’s those who, out of the limelight, see to the wellbeing of their colleagues who are managing risk just as effectively.

We knew Tandis Nili from when she first garnered a Power Broker® award when she was with Aon back in 2014.

Well here she is again, being named a Risk All Star in 2022. She was described as “tenacious” back in those days. These days you can add “humanistic” to her list of attributes. Nili, now a managing principal with EPIC Insurance Brokers and Consultants, earned her Risk All Star accolades by recognizing that her teammates were burning out and dropping out due to the isolation brought on by the COVID pandemic.

So what did the tenacious, humanistic Nili do?

She instituted “walk and talks” where she could have one on ones with her co-workers on the phone while they took a stroll, seeking fresh air, exercise and sanity. Over the ensuing months, her walk and talks expanded to group outings, sometimes with clients in the loop. The result was a more cohesive, resilient group of colleagues, better poised to manage not only their own organizational risks but those of their clients.

There it is again. Passion, creativity and perseverance. Sometimes the world seems crazy; upside down. But then you look at the performance of these Risk All Stars and it gives you hope. So let’s celebrate them and read all about them below. &

The 2022 Risk All Stars

Jan Berger, Senior Director, Group Risk Management, APL Logistics

Talking to the Markets

Jan consolidated a risk management program as his company grew rapidly.

Paul Boatman, VP of Risk Management, Prometheus Real Estate Group

It Pays to Be Proactive

Paul ensured a construction job’s coverage remained intact, despite significant damage.

Elizabeth Bounds, General Counsel, Brown & Riding

Open Lines of Communication

Elizabeth increased legal pitfall awareness by bridging the gap between staff and legal.

Marcelo Brutti, Chief Risk Officer, City National Bank

Three Lines of Defense

Marcelo banked on clear communication, tested processes and a culture he believed in.

Sharon Dressel, Risk Manager, City of Beverly Hills

A Stand for Workplace Mental Health

A critical incident stress debriefing program was just one way Sharon helped her colleagues.

Ben Evans, AVP, Risk Management & Insurance, University of Pennsylvania

UPenn’s Pavilion

Ben prioritized safety during UPenn’s Pavilion project.

Andrea Gibbon, Director of Nursing, Highland Care Center

Broadening the Reach of Care

Her staff facing greater risk of injury started Andrea on the path to finding new skills for her team to manage crisis.

Jim Iervolino, SVP, Risk Management, Vornado Realty Trust

Mastering the Markets

The insurance purchasing landscape that risk manager Jim operates in is nothing short of complicated.

Kate McGrory, Risk Management Analyst, Jack Link’s 

Protecting the Brand

Introducing risk engineering not only saved Kate’s company premium dollars, it helped to fortify the brand.

Tandis Nili, Managing Principal, EPIC Insurance Brokers

Walking the Walk

Tandis doubled down on forging stronger bonds and fostering new connections during pandemic.

Jennifer Pack, VP, Risk Management, Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Ahead of the Pack

Jennifer’s ingenuity kept hotel operations afloat while her team numbers dwindled.

Rosa Royo, Director of WC and Loss Prevention, Miami-Dade Public School District

Caring for Ill Workers

When police officers contracted COVID, Rosa and team stepped up.

Jana Utter, Vice President, ERM, Centene

ERM in an ESG World

Jana made ESG a priority long before it became a buzzword. And her efforts are paying off each day.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected].