Initial Impressions


The RIMS Annual Conference & Exhibition can be an overwhelming event, especially for first-time attendees. The editors of Risk Management thought it would be enlightening to experience this year's conference through the eyes of a few of the 940 first timers, learning how they made the most of the packed week and what they would do differently next time.

Paul Glessner, principal-risk management with Wisconsin Electric in Milwaukee, was one such first timer, but he is no stranger to RIMS. He has been a member of the Society for three years and is currently president of the Wisconsin chapter. In the past, Mr. Glessner chose to attend regional conferences rather than the Society's annual gathering. His decision to attend this year's conference was based on others' advice. "Many people told me what I've been missing," Mr. Glessner said. "It really made sense for me to come." The week's activities promised to fulfill many goals for Mr. Glessner, specifically, a chance to network, meet with vendors and learn from other risk managers' experiences.

Another conference first timer was Nancy Jo Mcintosh, risk manager for the City of Palm Springs in California and president of the Inland Empire chapter. Relatively new to the risk management field, Ms. Mcintosh felt that she needed to get acclimated to the field so she could take full advantage of the conference. "I have been to regional meetings and leadership seminars, which were extremely helpful," she said. "These meetings, as well as the annual conference, stimulate enthusiasm in our field by allowing us the opportunity to meet with other risk managers and apply what we learn from them to our own situations. By attending this conference, I hope I can keep my enthusiasm for risk management as a profession and not become complacent."

With a staff of three, it was hard for Ms. Mcintosh to find the time or the resources to attend the conference in the past, but she was looking forward to sharing what she learned. "Since not everyone can come to the conference, I can gather information from this event and take it back with me to share with my coworkers."

James Wallace, manager of property and casualty insurance for the Diocese of Rockville Center in New York and treasurer of the Long Island chapter, came to this year's conference ready to gain new ideas for helping the diocese improve its insurance program. Also a relative newcomer to the risk management field, with three years under his belt, Mr. Wallace thought it was time he experienced the conference. "I see this as continuing education, crammed into one week," he said. And what did he expect to come away from the conference with? "I am looking to learn more about technology, computers and database systems to help advance automation within the diocese."

Assisting First Timers

As these three first timers planned their week of activities, it was evident that boredom would not be a consideration. "I am anxious to get started; I don't want to miss anything," said Mr. Wallace.

One event not to be missed was the First Timer Orientation. This session, offered both Sunday and Monday, gave helpful pointers to conference newcomers. Scott Lange, conference programming committee (CPC) chair, Microsoft Corp., and John Hughes, CPC vice chair, Alex Lee, Inc., gave newcomers a first-hand look at tools needed for a successful conference week, including the Final Program, Session Location Guide, Exhibit Directory and session handouts. The orientation also gave newcomers an opportunity to ask questions and network with other first timers.

Newcomers also took advantage of the First Timers table, located just inside the Georgia World Congress Center, where CPC members fielded questions during the week Attendees got assistance with such things as session tickets, the Exhibit Hall and registration. "On Sunday, we had 130 people stop by between the hours of 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.," said Timothy Carter of The Boeing Company, a CPC member who was manning the booth on Monday. …

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