RIMS Presents Risk Management Industry’s Top Honors

RIMS16_Award_Winners-7SAN DIEGO—During today’s RIMS 2016 Annual Conference & Exhibition Awards Luncheon, RIMS doled out its highest honors to several prominent members of the risk management industry.

The risk management society presented Christopher E. Mandel, senior vice president of strategic solutions at Sedgwick Claims Management, Inc., with its top honor, the Harry and Dorothy Goodell Award for outstanding service and achievement to the risk management discipline.

“The risk management community is filled with exceptional professionals but few have had the remarkable career achievements and broad industry impact as Chris Mandel,” said RIMS CEO Mary Roth. “To this day, Chris continues to give back to the profession through his involvement with RIMS and at Sedgwick. He is a wonderful example of the best this profession has to offer and it is our honor to present him with RIMS’ highest award.”

Mandel served as 2002 RIMS president, and has fulfilled 19 distinct roles for the society and delivered dozens of workshops for other risk professionals since becoming a RIMS workshop instructor 2010, with particular emphasis on enterprise risk management and strategic risk management.

This year’s Risk Management Hall of Fame inductees are David Mikulina and William H. (Bill) McGannon. Mikulina headed the risk management department at Hyatt Hotels Corporation for 23 years before his retirement in 2007, and still enjoys sharing his insights with rising and veteran risk management professionals alike as a longstanding RIMS member. McGannon was one of the first Canadian risk managers to establish a full-service risk management department that included loss prevention and statistical support at NOVA Chemical Corporation in Alberta. After his retirement in 1998, he frequently lectured at the University of Calgary and traveled to Scotland to participate in the Risk Manager in Residence program. While McGannon passed away in 2015, his legacy in the risk community lives on, particularly through the William H. McGannon Foundation, which provides scholarships, research grants and student involvement initiatives to advance risk management by way of education, research, mentorship and work experience programs.

“Although the risk management profession has evolved significantly, the achievements of its early pioneers continue to have lasting influence on the processes and strategies used today,” said RIMS Chief Executive Officer Mary Roth. “Whether it was enhancing their organization’s already complex risk program or devoting themselves to supporting the promising careers of future risk management leaders, this year’s Risk Management Hall of Fame inductees have unquestionably made substantial contributions to the profession and RIMS.”

“We are pleased to recognize Bill and Dave for significant achievement in their professional careers and their contributions to shaping the risk management discipline,” said Rob Schimek, CEO of AIG Commercial.

RIMS and Business Insurance presented Gus Fuldner, head of insurance for Uber Technologies, with the 2016 Risk Manager of the Year Award.

In recognition for her outstanding performance in furthering risk management with the RIMS Memphis Chapter, Sedgewick Senior Vice President of Risk Management Robin Joines received the Ron Judd “Heart of RIMS” Award.

RIMS also announced its first inductees into the RIMS Ambassador Group, which recognizes individuals for their continued service with the organization. Darius Delon, South Alberta Chapter member and associate vice president of risk services at Mount Royal Univeristy, and Daniel McGarvey, Western Carolina Chapter member and managing director at Marsh, both recived this award for going above and beyond to help strengthen and support the society’s strategic initiatives.

The RIMS Rising Star Award was presented to Alumine Bellone, director of risk and insurance for Broward Health, and Kathleen Crowe, account specialist II for Aon Risk Solutions were honored for demonstrating exceptional initiative, volunteerism, professional development, achievement, and leadership potential.

David Engel, director of risk management for AT&T, received the Cristy Award, presented to the individual with the highest marks on the three exams required to earn the Associate of Risk Management designation.

RIMS Presents Top Risk Management Awards

Janice Ochenkowski RIMS Award

Janice Ochenkowski was presented with the Harry and Dorothy Goodell Award by RIMS Executive Director Mary Roth and President Richard Roberts.


NEW ORLEANS—At today’s RIMS 2015 Annual Conference & Exhibition Awards Luncheon, RIMS, the risk management society, announced the winners of its top industry awards.

Janice Ochenkowski, international director of global risk management at Jones Lang LaSalle, received the society’s most prestigious honor, the Harry and Dorothy Goodell Award for furthering the goals of RIMS and the risk management discipline through outstanding service and achievement.

Victoria Nolan Heart of RIMS Award

The Ron Judd “Heart of RIMS” award for outstanding performance in furthering risk management at the chapter level was presented to Victoria Nolan, risk and benefits manager at Clean Water Services and an active member of the RIMS Oregon Chapter.

Three individuals received the RIMS Rising Star Award, which honors up-and-coming risk management professionals under the age of 35 or with less than seven years of experience in the industry. Anna Bendgen, risk management specialist at Sedgwick, Andrew Bent, senior advisor, EH&S risk at Suncor Energy Inc., and Yelena Urcia, senior global insurance analyst at The AES Corporation, were recognized for their exceptional initiative, volunteerism, professional development, achievement, and leadership potential.

RIMS and Business Insurance magazine presented the 2015 Risk Manager of the Year® Award to Kathleen M. Ireland, vice president of global risk management at IBM.

Richard Rabs, immediate past chair of the RIMS External Affairs Committee, was presented with the Richard W. Bland Memorial Award for commitment in the area of legislation or regulation.

This year’s Cristy Award, for the highest marks on the three exams required to earn the Associate of Risk Management designation, went to Michael Grosso, risk analyst at Bimbo Bakeries USA.

Top Female Risk Managers Offer Insight on Success with the Board and Beyond

DENVER—Four of the top risk managers gathered today to reflect on their career paths and tips for success in the panel “Women of Distinction: Risk Managers of the Year Share Their Wisdom.”

Noted for far more than their gender, Grace Crickette, Lori Gray, Sheila Small, and Laurie Solomon have all received top accolades in the industry and were all previously been named Risk Manager of the Year. While they all reflected on the strengths and skills that women bring to the field, they did acknowledge a number of challenges faced on the road to management positions, some of which should be no surprise to any woman in business. “When I was first made an executive, I had to see a clinical psychologist,” said Grace Crickette, SVP and CRO for AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah. “He told me, ‘You have some really great traits to be in business—if you were a man.  As a woman, you’re probably going to have a pretty hard time.’”

Their insight stretched far beyond questions of being a woman in the workplace, however. In particular, their advice on how to earn the respect and recognition of the board offered key tips for any risk manager, male or female. “You need to focus more on building your reputation for work with the board,” Crickette said. “Help educate them. I make a point to send out an article—not written by me—at least once a month that offers something valuable to learn. In doing so, you also demonstrate what you know, understand, and can engage about.”

“Few people understand our companies across the whole organization as well as we do,” said Laurie Solomon, The Coca-Cola Company’s director of risk management. “Our biggest asset is that broad knowledge of the organization, how it works, what the biggest challenges are, and where there is the greatest potential for risk or growth.” That knowledge and comfort in the material at hand breeds confidence. Knowledge, experience, and confidence combine to create credibility, and that credibility is what facilitates access to the board and progress in your program and your career, she said.

Credibility also has tremendous impact on a risk manager’s success in the public sector as well. Last year’s Risk Manager of the Year, Lori Gray of Prince William County, emphasized the human component of this. The risk assessment process, she said, offers a prime opportunity to establish credibility and strong working relationships by meeting critical players face to face. “Risk assessment is your opportunity to meet people in person and ask what keeps them up at night. You are developing critical relationships while getting an honest, first-hand perspective of the exposures that should be on your radar,” Gray said. “Going out and meeting department heads is critical because one of your chief jobs is to sell. You are selling yourself and selling your program.”

Gaining recognition may be one of the greatest challenges for the future of risk managers and risk management as a whole. “Part of the challenge we face as an industry is to get recognition of risk management as a pool for future CEOs and COOs,” said Crickette. “The skills and insight we have would make for fantastic officers, but people just do not think of us for those opportunities. The industry has a lot to do to promote our potential.”

Risk Management Links of the Day … Featuring Security Dogs on Vacation

security dog philadelphia airport

  • Three bomb-sniffing dogs at the Philly International airport failed their recertification tests and have been relieved of duty. While laying off security dogs may sound like overkill, even in the new climate of airline security sensitivity, one expert notes that “these dogs are not ornamental. They are there for a purpose. If the purpose is not being satisfied, that’s a serious issue.” There is a “built-in redundancy” at the airport so other screening methods can be used in the meantime until new dogs can be brought in. As for the dogs who failed … Do they just get to go on vacation and relax playing billiards like the pup above? Nope. It’s back to school for them: “TSA spokesman Greg Soule said the agency could not comment on the status of its dogs. He said, however, that the rigorous nature of yearly certification tests means that some of the nation’s 700 TSA-led dog teams deployed in air, marine and mass transportation systems may not pass and must go through a remedial program.”
  • A scary-to-think-about report was released today from the Sector Risk Research Programme stating that risks that are poorly understood and thus not addressed properly by the commercial insurance sector could “prompt a new phase of the financial crisis.” More specifically, the report states: “Parallels can be drawn between large property and casualty insurance institutions today lacking the ability to fully understand changing risk exposures and more publicised past failures of financial institutions to understand risks assumed. While loss impacts naturally lag economic changes by several years, turmoil in commercial insurance is expected as a latter phase of the financial crisis.” Jeez. Let’s hope not. (via Risk & Insurance)
  • The 4th quarter of 2009 set a record for cat bond issuance volume. “More companies have put their toes back in the water after a slow start in 2009,” said Robert Stone, director with the RMS dedicated ILS team, RiskMarkets.
  • This is a little dated at this point, but I read it over my holiday break and was just reminded how much I enjoyed Vanity Fair‘s extensive look at Goldman Sachs. The article breaks down the disconnect between “the way Goldman Sachs sees itself (they’re the smartest) and the way everyone else sees Goldman (they’re the smartest, greediest, and most dangerous).” It seems like the further we get away from September 15, 2008, the more interesting the stories become about what actually happened between Wall Street and Washington during the market meltdown, and Bethany Mclean of Vanity Fair peels back a few more revealing layers of the onion here. They also devised this sweet chart illustrating that “Goldman’s influence is ubiquitous in the highest echelons of global political power.” That sure is a ton of former Goldman employees in a ton of the world’s most influential financial positions.
  • Speaking of political power over the financial system … David Leonhardt is asking “If the Fed Missed This Bubble, Will It See a New One?” in the New York Times. “The fact that Mr. Bernanke and other regulators still have not explained why they failed to recognize the last bubble is the weakest link in the Fed’s push for more power. It raises the question: Why should Congress, or anyone else, have faith that future Fed officials will recognize the next bubble?” Fair question, it would seem.

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