What is your educational background?
I earned a BS in business administration at the University of Arkansas, an MBA at Syracuse University, and an MS in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (National Defense University). I am also a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College and attained the ARM-E risk management professional designation.
Did you know you wanted to go into the risk profession? If not, what was your journey to get here?
I served 25 years in the United States Army as a finance corps officer and resource manager. In 2009, I transitioned into the career field of enterprise risk management in higher education. It was an interesting career path and professional journey. I found the processes for military decision-making, composite risk management/safety protocols, and operational hazard identification processes very valuable as a foundation for transitioning into the risk management profession.
How long have you been working in the risk profession?
Military leadership involves risk management constantly, so arguably since 1984. I’ve been a risk manager in two different higher education institutions since 2009 (East Carolina University and currently, the University of Wyoming), so a total of 36 years.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love interaction with all levels of our institution and connecting people with effective tools and a framework for identifying and assessing risks, understanding their nature, and effectively treating them.
Has managing risk changed over the course of your career? If so, how?
The basics haven’t changed, but I think there is more of a consideration of the non-conventional risk areas (strategic, reputation/image, speculative, etc.), discussions about opportunities, as well as just risks, and a better appreciation for building corporate risk intelligence to provide assurance and enable better decision-making about resource allocation. Risk management isn’t just about insurance and claims anymore.
What advice would you give to someone who is about to start their career in the risk profession?
Work hard on contextualizing risk and putting individual exposures and possible negative outcomes in relevant perspective to the broader risk profile of the individual, department, or enterprise. Too many leaders – and even some risk managers – tend to look at risks in isolation rather than thinking about their interrelationships and the second- and third-order effects of treatment plans for individual risk issues.
Do you have a personal motto? If so, what is it?
Perhaps not a motto, but I’ve always liked the quote from Edward Everett Hale: “I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”