Q&A: Meet the President

Article excerpt

This month, Janice Ochenkowski will become the 54th President of RIMS. A long-time member and devoted volunteer to RIMS, she has held numerous positions on the RIMS Board over the last few years, most recently as its Vice President. She has also participated in many committees and task forces at the Society and Chapter level.

Ochenkowski is a managing director at Jones Lang LaSalle, an industry-leading real estate and financial services firm of over 20,000 employees, headquartered in Chicago. She is responsible for global risk management, heading a l O-person risk management department. Ochenkowski has been responsible for risk management at Jones Lang LaSalle and its predecessors since 1980.

Ochenkowski participates in the Illinois State University's Katie Insurance School Risk Manager's Panel and Lloyd's Market Program; and is a member of the Lexington Insurance Company's Real Estate Advisory Panel. She has spoken at Economist Conferences in New York and Bermuda and at real estate industry association meetings on the subject of risk management. She was also profiled in the 2006 edition of Business Insurance's "Women to Watch."

RM caught up with Ochenkowski this summer as she was traveling to speak with a group of students from the Lloyd's Market Program about the realities and opportunities of the U.S. marketplace and she spared a few moments to answer some questions.

RM: It is a unique time to be a risk manager, with natural disasters, terrorism, corporate governance, insurance industry upheaval and other factors all in recent memory. What does it mean to head the leading risk management trade association at this particular time?

Ochenkowski: Recounting all of those events that are going on reminds me of that old Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times." These times are certainly very interesting, very challenging and it makes it a very exciting time to be a risk manager and certainly a dynamic time to be the President of RIMS. As the number of risk events seems to increase around the world, the profile of risk managers is rising within their respective organizations as good internal resources. And RIMS can help risk managers to be that internal resource.

I am very excited about my term and the things that we can accomplish. We have a great team to work on projects. The officers are Joseph Restoule, Deborah Luthi and Scott Clark. The other board members are Janet Barnes, Terry Fleming, Jackie Hair, John Hughes, Dan Kugler, Michael McDonald, John Phelps, Wayne Salen, Nowell Seamen, Carolyn Snow and Beaumont Vance. And as you know, Michael Liebowitz is the former President.

And we couldn't do anything without the very capable experience of Mary Roth, who is RIMS' Executive Director. This group, together with the committees and the staff, is going to provide the necessary leadership for RiMS to provide services to its members and to the risk management community and to help steer us through these interesting times.

RM: How have your experiences as a RIMS member and your career as a risk manager affected each other?

Ochenkowski: When I started my career at LaSalle Partners--which is a predecessor to Jones Lang LaSalle--and I started to attend RIMS Chicago Chapter meetings, I never imagined that I would even be considered for a Society office. RIMS has played a very large part in my success in my organization. First, as I began my career, it was a phenomenal source of practical information. I also enjoyed networking with the other Chicago-area risk managers and through the real estate industry group with other real estate risk managers. Early in my career, I communicated to my manager and to other business leaders in my company the RIMS-related information and contacts that helped reinforce the benefit to our company resulting from my involvement with RIMS. I later expanded the RIMS contacts to senior brokerage and senior insurance company relationships which were also helpful to my firm. …