Risk Insider: Marilyn Rivers

The Risk Professional Behind the Scenes

By: | June 20, 2014

Marilyn Rivers, CPCU, ARM, AIC, currently serves as the director of risk and safety — city safety and compliance officer for a municipality in Upstate New York and is a director at large and delegate for the government and public sector division of the National Safety Council. She can be reached at [email protected]

As tragedies occur across our globe, I empathize with the families of the fallen, shudder at the devastation of the losses and admire the courage and the perseverance of those brave individuals who patiently stand and answer questions thrown at them by the press as they deal with their own grief and loss.

My first thought is the team standing behind each of these brave souls who have the responsibility of working together to determine the cause, the outcomes and the potential consequences needed to bridge recovery to the future.

As I recently watched the fires of Flagstaff unfold on national television, I immediately thought of my colleague there.

He is a quiet, experienced professional who stands as an example of the risk professional in the background, who understands the ramifications of all that is occurring around him while trying to work towards solutions for bringing the situation back to the new normal for those he serves — if a solution can ever be found.

As a trade, risk professionals are an analytical species who stoically listen, comfort, piece together the unfolding tragedy and assist in weaving together the best available response possible in any given situation.

We stand without emotion or judgment, listen and try to comprehend what is transpiring before our eyes as we seek answers and work toward bringing teammates back to an acceptable reality.

Risk professionals, true to character, don’t speak to the cameras and shun publicity when offered. You won’t see us on the nightly news or read about us on the front page of your newspaper. Instead, look to the site of the loss, the throes of the recovery and in the places of those most in need. The loss of property may be replaced, but the loss of life lives with us forever.

Each of us as a risk professional has the capacity to make a difference as we deal with the tragedies that occur within our communities and beyond, whether natural or man-made. We come from different demographics, public and private entities, and generations. Central to who we are as a profession is a universal pursuit of truth and service to those we individually and collectively serve.

I’m often asked by folks why I concern myself with the wildfires out west, the tornadoes of the Midwest and the storms in countries far from my own. My answer is a simple one. We live on a very small planet, which shrinks as technology broadens.

From a global risk perspective, a flood in Europe is just as real as a fire in my own downtown. We as a risk community share the air, the water and the totality of the global risk together each time we measure our own entity’s risk, and the losses of one of our own.

We as a risk management profession will be there when you most need us, even if you don’t know it yet … just like a storybook character called Nanny McPhee.

Read all of Marilyn Rivers’ Risk Insider contributions.

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