2015 Risk All Stars

The Courage to Create   

We honor the 2015 Risk All Stars, who stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem-solving, creativity, perseverance and passion.
By: | September 14, 2015 • 2 min read

When I think of the courage to create, and the accompanying traits of passion and perseverance that define Risk All Stars, I can’t help but think of Renee Crow of Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants.


Like a number of our Risk All Stars winners, Crow manages risk at a company that is experiencing rapid growth. Rapid growth brings opportunity. But rapid growth, as we know, carries risk.

When Crow joined Kimpton, the company owned 24 properties. Now, it owns more than 60.

Although customer service underlies so much, there is a laser focus on it in the hospitality business.  Much is expected and very little is forgiven.

The organizations these professionals manage risk for are stronger because of their courage.

According to Crow, Kimpton sets high customer service standards, but it was also facing legal snares from guest and employee interactions gone bad. She devised a training program that enabled Kimpton staff across the country to re-enact various customer service scenarios and learn from them.

Crow humbly states that she did what she did because she’d seen enough bad training approaches to know better. But I say what she did was innately brilliant.

She took a risk, or a negative, and created employee engagement across the board in seeking solutions. This is an era when employee disengagement is reported to be at high levels across many industries. The cost of risk at Kimpton has plummeted as a result.

The creative courage of Risk All Stars winner Kris Finell of Rytec Corp. also comes to mind. Finell possessed not merely the courage to create, but also the moxie to confront.

Rytec, another fast growing company, is a manufacturer of high-speed industrial doors. You can easily see the risks and the results when something goes wrong.

Rytec salesmen were in the habit of removing industrial door safety features at the behest of customers. Finell, practically brand new in her role as risk manager, put a stop to it.


Waivers that allow customers to remove safety features on Rytec doors are now a thing of the past.

Finell also had the courage to remove a broker that was friends with one of her supervisors. The relationship wasn’t working for her vision, so she vetted a number of candidates and chose one with the right fit for her.

Talking to these Risk All Stars reminded me that it’s not enough to see something; you have to say and do something. The organizations these professionals manage risk for are stronger because of their courage.


R9-15-15p26_Intro_Allstar4-2.inddRisk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, perseverance and/or passion.

See the complete list of 2015 Risk All Stars.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]
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2015 Winners List

2015 Risk All Stars

Topics: Risk All Stars

Angeli Mancuso: On a Mission to Revitalize (+Responsibility Leader)

09012015_All_Stars_2_MancusoManager, Employee Health & Safety, Cottage Health System

By getting the board of directors behind a goal to decrease patient-handling injuries, Angeli Mancuso has improved employees’ quallity of life.

Timothy Fischer: With Military Precision (+Responsibility Leader)

09012015_All_Stars_8_FischerChief Risk Officer, BWX Technologies

Tim Fischer was given nine months to address the risk implications of a sizable spin-off.


Tim Kirsch: Keeping the Budweiser Moving, Safely

09012015_All_Stars_1_KirschSafety Director, Schilling

Tim Kirsch overhauled his company’s safety mission, protecting drivers on the road while slashing workers’ comp claims costs.

Martin Brady: A Better Mousetrap

09012015_All_Stars_9_BradyExecutive Director, Schools Insurance Authority

The urgent need for a creative solution inspired one Risk All Star to create a unique excess casualty program with benefits on several levels.

Jennifer Cable: Composing the Grand Opera

09012015_All_Stars_3_CableClaims Manager, Balfour Beatty Construction

Jennifer Cable’s degree is in opera performance. She is also a risk management maestro.


Tracey Gasper: Service Centered (+Responsibility Leader)

09012015_All_Stars_4_GasperRisk Manager, TBC Corp.

This risk manager’s savings for her company can be measured in the millions.


Elizabeth Queen: Building a Unified Travel Program (+Responsibility Leader)

09012015_All_Stars_5_QueenVice President of Risk Management, Wolters Kluwer

With an existing program now spread enterprise-wide, traveling employees have an improved experience, while the company enjoys lower costs and reduced risk.

Michael D. Payne: All the Right Moves

09012015_All_Stars_6_PayneOrganizational Resilience Manager, iJET International

One Risk All Star took on the daunting challenge of quickly relocating a sprawling headquarters, and without a single moment of down time.

David Brooks: Putting ERM on Offense

09012015_All_Stars_7_BrooksSVP, ERM, head of man-made catastrophe, XL Catlin

David Brooks quantifies and manages risks across every industry and product offered by XL Catlin.


Brent Cooley: Shakespeare Minus the Tragedy (+Responsibility Leader)

09012015_All_Stars_10_CooleyArts Health and Safety Advisor, University of California, Santa Cruz

A series of potentially high-severity events drove the push to launch a safety organization that will help keep theater students safe for years to come.

Kris Finell: Doing What Needs to Be Done

09012015_All_Stars_11_FinellChief Risk and Administrative Officer, Rytec Corp.

New to her position in risk management, Rytec’s Kris Finell set about correcting just about everything she could get her hands on.

Albert Fierro: The Fruits of Long, Hard Labor (+Responsibility Leader)

09012015_All_Stars_12_FierroDirector, Risk Management, AARP Andrus Insurance Fund

With decades of expertise in captive insurance, Albert Fierro was the ideal person to help AARP rein in its rising workers’ compensation costs.

Renee Crow: Playing the Part

09012015_All_Stars_13_CrowVice President, Risk Management, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants

Adding role playing to training efforts helped Kimpton Hotels’ risk manager teach employees how to avoid mistakes that drive up the cost of claims.

Todd Chirillo: Turning Risk Inside Out

09012015_All_Stars_14_ChirilloDirector, Cash & Risk Management and Global Real Estate, Treasury, Meritor

Treasury now drives risk management throughout Meritor’s business units, thanks to the efforts of Todd Chirillo.

Jeannie Garner: A Firm Hand at the Wheel

09012015_All_Stars_15_GarnerDirector of Insurance and Financial Services, Florida League of Cities

Florida’s insurance pool members can rest easy that, thanks to Jeannie Garner’s initiative, they can bounce back in the face of severe storms.

Amanda Lagatta: Making It Work

09012015_All_Stars_16_LaggatGroup Manager, Insurance, Target

When staff reductions and organizational change made strong leadership imperative, Amanda Lagatta rose to the challenge.

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Sponsored Content by MyPath

5 Steps for Insurance Firms to Recruit Better College Graduates

Connect with college graduates before they join the workforce to help steer them toward the insurance career path.
By: | December 1, 2015 • 4 min read

It’s no secret that most college students simply aren’t aware of insurance careers. Our own research* has found that only 2 percent of millennials consider themselves “very familiar” with the insurance industry, and fewer than 10 percent said they were interested in joining the profession.

That harsh reality means insurance employers can’t just post entry-level job openings online and wait for the applications to roll in — especially if they’re trying to attract the best and the brightest. You need to be proactive if you want to compete with industries that young people know much better.

One effective way firms can get a jump start on the competition is by introducing students to their organization before students graduate. Here are five steps to get started.

  1. Focus your efforts

With limited resources, you can make meaningful, personal connections at only so many colleges. For organizations that don’t have robust campus recruiting programs, that means first identifying your key targets to determine where to focus your efforts. For insurance organizations in particular, the first place you should be looking is at schools with established risk management and insurance (RMI) programs.

Nearly 40 colleges and universities offer undergraduate RMI-major programs, and many more offer RMI minors, graduate programs and individual classes, according to a 2014 study by St. John’s University and the International Insurance Society. Many of these schools are also MyPath partners, and you can learn more about them by visiting our site.

  1. Reach out

Yes, you can contact a college’s career center. Yes, you can have an engaging, dynamic post on the school’s job board. And yes, you can have an inviting informational table at schools’ career and internship fairs. All these official channels are great ways to catch the attention of students who are actively looking for jobs.

But there are other ways to reach prospective applicants, too. Check for business-focused student groups or clubs, especially Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS), the insurance, risk management and actuarial science organization. GIS has more than 65 chapters across the United States with ambitious students who are already familiar and involved with the insurance field. Find a chapter near you by visiting their website, and offer to send a guest speaker or host an informational lunch. (Trust us, no college students are turning down free food.)

  1. Use your connections

Chances are you already have some untapped recruitment resources in your ranks. Identify employees at your company who are alumni of the schools you’re targeting, especially recent grads. Encourage them to stay active in alumni groups and share news about job opportunities at your firm.

Internships are another great way to generate awareness of your company. They truly are the simplest win-win, because you get support for your team, the interns gain valuable professional experience, and there’s always the chance they’ll spread the word about your organization on campus. If you’re looking for high-caliber interns, you can become a MyPath partner and post your internships on our database for tens of thousands of users to find.

  1. Put your best foot forward

Make sure your company’s online presence and recruiting resources are as strong as they can be. Your company website should look inviting and provide easy access to your social media channels, and you need to be sure you have solid information on key websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, Glassdoor, Vault and others. If you’re really ambitious, look at creating dedicated channels on sites like YouTube. Basically, make it as easy as possible for potential applicants to find information about you.

Ideally, your social media presence should have a personal feel and give students an idea of what it’s really like to work for your company. As we know, careers in insurance organizations are often misrepresented, so it’s imperative to make that extra effort to show your workplace is rewarding and fulfilling.

  1. Rein in your strongest applicants

All these efforts are only half the battle. If the people you’re attracting really are talented, you’re probably competing with other organizations to get them. To hook them and reel them in, consider giving applicants some personal attention.

If you’re making an offer, specifically refer to topics discussed during the interview process or send a handwritten note. Millennials especially want to understand how they fit in to the mission of the organization and want to feel appreciated as a unique addition to the group. Some firms even ask the CEO or another exec to give the applicant a call extending a job offer. If you’ve done a good job up to that point, that applicant may actually become the CEO one day.

Want more ideas for recruiting young professionals? Visit the MyPath website to get more articles like this, including “How Employers Can Make Their Offices More Millennial Friendly” and “4 Myths About Millennials That Smart Employers Should Ignore.” You can also sign up to become a MyPath partner yourself to connect with millions of young people around the U.S.

*Research from The Griffith Insurance Education Foundation, “Millennial Generation Attitudes About Work and The Insurance Industry” (Malvern, Pa.: The Griffith Foundation, 2011).

This article was produced by MyPath and not the Risk & Insurance® editorial team.

MyPath is a collaborative industry-wide insurance and risk management initiative, powered by The Institutes, that is dedicated to educating students and young professionals about the insurance industry and its limitless career opportunities. Visit www.InsureMyPath.org.
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