||Monday, April 30 2007|
RIMS Gives Back
Risk Managers Help Heal the Big Easy
When Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit New Orleans, the entire country witnessed the damage and wondered what it could do to help. Sunday, RIMS played its part with the RIMS 2007 Community Service Day, in which hundreds of volunteers from the risk management community gave of themselves to help restore New Orleans to its full glory.
RIMS attendees spent the day day painting 150 yards of fencing and clearing brush from 710 yards of land at City Park. This was part of a larger effort to help revive the area and enable its displaced residents return home as soon as possible.
Aon sponsored the event and it also provided no small number of volunteers. Barb Spain, senior vice president of Aon Risk Services, spent her day painting a large fence in City Park, and she was impressed by the event's organization, strong turnout and the great spirit everybody showed. "This has been a wonderful chance to meet some very friendly people as well as to make a difference," Spain says, adding that she is proud to be part of an industry effort to help the city. She hopes that outreach efforts like this will improve the standing of the insurance industry in the eyes of Gulf Coast residents.
Leslye Diener, director of risk management for Denver-based Stonebridge Company also had a great time working with her fellow risk professionals. But she also noted how crucial it is for private organizations like RIMS to help restore New Orleans.
"Here we are, a year and a half later, and there is still so much left that needs to be done," Diener says. "I think it's absolutely fantastic that RIMS is helping out like this. There are many groups and individuals who come down here and help from time to time, and I think the important thing is for everybody to just keep doing what they have been doing."
Glen Manjos, underwriting manager for professional liability and network security for Arch Insurance Group echoed Diener's sentiment. When he saw RIMS Community Service Day advertised on www.RIMS.org, he was not sure what he would be getting into by volunteering. But he knew it was something he wanted to be a part of. He spent the day in City Park as well, clearing brush, weeding and digging up stumps.
"As it turned out, we helped a part of the city that was being neglected," Manjos says. "There are other places in the city that had to be restored first, but people need their parks to keep their hopes up."
Like Diener, Manjos stressed that there was still much more work to be done across the city once this event ended. But he also noticed that the efforts of his fellow volunteers really made a difference.
"Helping out is what makes us human," Manjos says. "On the one hand, you are happy you weren't affected by what happened here in New Orleans, but on the other hand, when you get an opportunity to help out, you can’t help but get involved. Everybody needs to do something, whether it's in New Orleans or in their own community at home."
RIMS Presents: Riverside Royale
Whether you prefer your martini shaken or stirred, RIMS Riverside Royale Opening Reception was licensed to thrill. Attendees kicked off RIMS 2007 in the Hilton Riverside Hotel's Grand Ballroom over table games, food and drink, greeting old friends and meeting new ones. "The whole night was fun," said Jeff Ford, a risk analyst at McKee Foods Corporation. "The ice sculpture was very artistic and the themed music gave it all a great mystique."
This intrigue was heightened by an array of secret agents, femme fatales and nefarious evil masterminds at the Royale. Even the RIMS President got in on the fun. Sporting a tuxedo, "Liebowitz, Mike Liebowitz" was introduced and welcomed attendees to what is sure to be another exciting week of networking, education and productive Exhibit Hall interaction at RIMS 2007 New Orleans.
"It was a great atmosphere and a great place to meet some new faces," said Alejandro Martinez, an MBA student of insurance at the University of Wisconsin. "This was my first time at RIMS so I really had a good time."
The roulette wheels, craps tables and poker games throughout the ballroom were popular attractions for all who enjoyed the "high stakes" world of international espionage. Attendees also enjoyed the sweet sounds of singer Theresa Andersson, fresh off an earlier performance that day at the Jazz Fest fairgrounds, entertained the crowd with an 007-inspired medley. And the plethora of food and libation choices were, of course, among the most savored highlights. All in all, it was a great kickoff event and all those who missed out should "never say never again" to the RIMS Conference Opening Reception.
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