Magazine article Risk Management

RIMS Conference 1993

Magazine article Risk Management

RIMS Conference 1993

Article excerpt

From April 25 to 30, nearly 8,500 people jam packed meeting rooms and exhibit halls at the 31st Annual RIMS Conference in Orlando, each harboring a common thought: where does the RIMS membership go from here to advance the risk management cause. Will the risk management profession in the words of J.A. "Tony" Bridger, incoming RTMS president and risk manager, corporate risk and insurance, Bank of Montreal in Toronto, "expand to its rightful role as a key senior management-level position," or will it "remain mired in middle management?" As Suzanne Crager, outgoing RIMS president and assistant vice president for risk management and insurance for PNC Financial Corp. in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, prepared to hand the presidential reins over to Mr. Bridger at the annual membership meeting, she imparted a stern warning: "The corporate downsizing that has cost so many risk managers their jobs is a permanent condition, not a machination of the moment." Thus, risk managers must adapt and move forward, or risk falling by the wayside.

To this end, the buzzwords floating around this year's Conference included: "planning," as embodied in the strategic plan whose development was completed under Ms. Crager's watch and will be initiated by her successor; "participation," as in the entire membership mobilizing both collectively and as individuals to further the discipline's acceptance amongst the highest echelons of every organization; and "education" --"We have no choice," Ms. Crager stated, "but to educate ourselves and learn to apply that education with ingenuity and impact. That's our value-added: bottom-line results. If we succeed in this mission, and if management knows it, we flourish."

But one word, perhaps more than any other, resurfaced time and time again in the halls, the educational sessions and the luncheons--communication. Over the past year, RIMS has made improving communication with its membership a priority agenda item. Thus, the President's Memo, (keeping chapters current on RIMS activities), and an open forum, or "town meeting" format (through which chapters' representatives are encouraged to express themselves to the RIMS Executive Council) were created under Ms. Crager's direction. The RIMS membership can expect this process to mature, because improving internal communication, Mr. Bridger is convinced, "will create a unified basis for getting the message on risk management out externally...with far greater impact." In his speech at the membership meeting, RIMS Executive Director Eugene Ricci said that to foster these and many other initiatives outlined in the strategic plan, RIMS has been "shaped anew, both in attitude and organization necessary to focus their efforts in the implementation of these activities, promising the continued pace and progress of this great Society.

Mr. Bridger looks to RIMS to be the framework through which each deputy member can grow and become leaders, rhereby enhancing their value to their respective organizations. This, in turn, will help the discipline "arrive at its rightful place in the organization. I have this vision because the elements of success are already in place: our strategic plan and leadership. Working together, with our strategy and our leadership," he concluded, "we will achieve this vision of success."

The Conference featured more than 400 speakers at llO educational sessions and roughly 100 speakers at 43 industry sessions. In addition, more than 150 registrants from over 25 countries outside of the United States and Canada participated at this year's Conference.

Kicking up their heels to music from swing to rock 'n' roll and dining on classic American cuisine in a 1950s-style art deco diner were 1,800 attendees at this year's Spencer Educational Foundation opening evening reception, which has become a staple of the annual Conference. In addition to the $143,000 the Foundation's 1992-93 annual campaign has raised, the Foundation received $3,000 from a pre-Conference benefit golf tournament sponsored by Arthur J. …

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