Magazine article Risk Management

CHAPTER Success

Magazine article Risk Management

CHAPTER Success

Article excerpt

The Fairfield/Westchester, Connecticut chapter of RIMS was on a downswing. "Three members showed up at the last meeting," says Mike Liebowitz, president and RIMS director of the chapter, "so we made a strategic decision to revamp and get people excited about it again."

With one hundred-odd members, it was perplexing to Liebowitz, a ten-year veteran, and vice president Rich Inserra, who had been involved in one capacity or another for fifteen years, why no one was showing up at the monthly meetings. "We called the national office and asked for advice," says Liebowitz, director of risk management at Southern Connecticut Health System. "Valerie Cammiso, of member and chapter services, and Karen Fleming, the Executive Council member responsible for chapter mentoring, suggested that we hold a strategic planning meeting to see if our chapter could be kept alive or if we should just let it die. I mean, three people does not a chapter make."

Cammiso and company sent a survey to each of the members in the chapter and "talked to at least eighty percent of them. There were things that were fixable immediately, such as mailing lists and getting mailings out on time, and then there were other things such as dates and times, vendors dominating the meetings and so much more," says Cammiso. "But we got a sense of what was wrong and what we could do to repair the chapter, and called a meeting last fall. At least twenty members showed up."

A Little Strategy ...

Liebowitz adds that those members who came to the strategic planning' meeting at RIMS national headquarters in New York committed immediately--to host programs, to fill open positions, in short, to do the work necessary to keep the chapter alive. "Board seats needed to be filled and were--on the spot," says Liebowitz. "We all decided that having quality quarterly meetings was preferable to having less productive meetings every month; to make them luncheons; and to have the meetings hosted at member companies, with the host risk managers addressing topics of interest."

Another decision made at that fortuitous gathering was to close the meetings, that is, open them only to risk managers. The professionals in the chapter felt that chapter meetings had become merchandising events for brokers and insurance companies. …

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