Sharing Knowledge and Experience
While attending San Diego RIMS 2016, I met a lawyer who had been appointed risk manager for her company. I told her that involving myself with RIMS and professional risk management organizations was instrumental in my personal and professional development.
Risk managers who are new to the function or wish to develop their skills may see the same benefits I did.
I attended a chapter meeting and was hooked! I served on chapter committees. I applied to speak at RIMS national and Canadian conferences. I took advantage of RIMS’ new officer training.
I then served on RIMS national education and conference committees. This gave me a broad view of the spectrum of issues important to risk managers as well as some effective ways to respond.
I was invited to serve on RIMS executive council as treasurer (two terms), VP conference, first VP audit and investments, president and past president.
During this time, I received invaluable executive training on many topics that help me in my professional career, including media, nonprofit board operations, budgeting, public speaking, dispute resolution, and so much more.
I learned from the best – my risk management colleagues and expert RIMS staff.
I also had the pleasure of serving on the Spencer Education Foundation Board and the International Federation of Risk and Insurance Management Associations (IFRMA). Representing RIMS worldwide, I traveled to Britain, France, Tasmania, and Japan, and attended chapter meetings and conferences throughout Canada and the U.S.
Getting Company Support
Getting the support of my company was very important. I took great care to ensure the senior executives understood and supported my involvement. I completed a trip report for every meeting … detailing location, attendees and agenda. I sent it to my director, CFO and board chair. These reports helped demonstrate the value of participation and the lessons I learned.
I used vacation and overtime to offset time out of office.
I copied every magazine article that named my employer, highlighting the publication and reference, and sent it to my CFO, board chair and mayor of Kitchener, Ontario. I facilitated greetings between the mayor and officials in Japan, which helped substantiate the benefit of RIMS membership and participation.
My involvement with RIMS enabled me to meet many influential people including Gen. Colin Powell, Sen. Robert Kennedy Jr., Lord Peter Levene, former chairman of Lloyd’s, U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich, and U.K. Prime Minister John Major … to name a few.
Some other highlights included:
- Socializing with some of the most senior insurance industry executives during a private, no-agenda breakfast at the Saint Regis Hotel in New York;
- Meeting New York Insurance Commissioner Greg Serio during the contingency fee controversy;
- Joined other risk managers for “RIMS on the Hill” in Washington to meet with U.S. senators and representatives;
- Dined with representatives of the (then) newly formed Department of Homeland Security; and
- Was the first woman and first risk manager to ever be invited to speak on a panel with Lord Levene.
These experiences gave me more insights and connections than I ever imagined. My advice for those entering risk management is to get involved with professional organizations. Get to know your risk management colleagues. Volunteer on a committee, or moderate or speak at a conference. Share experiences and put the best of them to use in your own organizations.