As the recipients of a generous scholarship from the Spencer Educational Foundation, we attended the RIMS Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) conference held in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was a memorable experience, both intellectually and professionally.
A reception/networking event for the student attendees held on the first evening provided a nice way for us to get to know each other and some of the speakers ahead of the official conference commencement. Student attendees hailed from a variety of schools besides Wisconsin, including Temple, Florida State, and St. Mary’s.
We quickly observed that conference leadership and speakers were happy to meet us, sharing career wisdom and offering small previews of their planned talks. After two hours of fascinating conversation with interesting people, we were forced to conclude the event, search out dinner in a city of fine food, and prepare for the next day’s sessions.
Day one of the conference opened with a keynote speech from Gretchen Anderson on the importance of corporate culture in the implementation of ERM. ERM is not successful if the culture does not support it. Afterwards, attendees dispersed to attend a variety of panels and talks, with topics ranging from ransomware as an enterprise-wide concern, to finding gaps in influence diagrams, to making sure that risk management is a valued voice in organization-wide decisions. Speakers represented a variety of backgrounds and a variety of organizations – Estee Lauder, Chubb, Marsh, and our very own University of Wisconsin System were all represented, with speakers’ backgrounds ranging from captive creation to cyber-crime investigation.
The end of day one assembled speakers, attendees, and sponsors alike on the hotel roof to network and discuss the events of the day. It was a beautiful experience.
Day two followed a similar schedule, with an initial talk for all attendees on the implementation of an ERM program at PepsiCo, followed by another morning of diverse sessions, with topics from digital innovation to emerging risks. The capstone of the conference was a debate/group interview on the merits of the 7 attributes of the RIMS Risk Maturity Model with the members of the RIMS Strategic and Enterprise Risk Management Council.
Ultimately, the wide variety of experience and topics demonstrated by both speakers and attendees made the conference meaningful. The breadth and depth of experience served as a fantastic complement to and example of the academic instruction we receive at the Wisconsin School of Business.