As an international student, I am honored to be selected as one of PRIMA’s Student Scholarship recipients. I would like to share some of my experiences and takeaways from PRIMA’s 2017 Annual Conference.
I attended several education sessions at the Annual Conference. All of these sessions were amazing and the speakers gave specific examples and clear explanations that provided me with insight into the public risk management world.
If you ask anyone to pick their favorite sessions from this year’s conference, you would likely get a number of different answers. The following sessions are a couple of my favorites due to the fact they are not covered during my college course lectures.
- Developing a Municipal Threat Assessment Program/Plan: Lessons Learned
During this fast-paced and highly informative presentation, Marilyn Rivers and Daniel Hurley offered a glimpse into what may occur during an active shooter situation and what the appropriate response should be. Mrs. Rivers helped us understand how the shooter’s sudden violence affects the reaction of those involved.
Mrs. Rivers shared an example pertaining to the shooting that occurred at Virginia Tech, as well as how she and her department set up safety programs to deal with unexpected violence in the familiar surroundings of their study and work environment.
Two key takeaways, from my perspective, are: (1) Develop a safety program and practice it at least semiannually and (2) report any suspicious actions as soon as possible. Our subconscious mind will always ‘tell us’ when something is not going well. When this happens, we should share our feelings with our classmates, colleagues and the appropriate internal and external authorities.
- Understanding and Managing Reputation Risks
Lori Gray from Prince William County and Carleen Patterson from Aon impressed me with this presentation. They warned that reputation risks can lead to some serious financial losses if not appropriately handled.
Reputation risks are always an important component that people may ignore. Among all the examples listed during the presentation, the Tesco horsemeat burger scandal captured the majority of my attention. Tesco appropriately handled the horsemeat crisis because its CEO made quick, accurate and consistent responses and apologies via multiple channels, which allowed Tesco to reconstruct the trust of millions of customers.
The 2017 PRIMA Annual Conference experience gave me a great opportunity to garner a stronger understanding of the public risk management profession. I recommend that all other risk management students consider attending this great meeting, it will definitely help with developing your career path. Furthermore, if you are already in the industry, you can attend and share the experiences and knowledge that you have cultivated within your organization. Just like the topic of this year’s conference, public risk management is rising, and we will need more ‘freshman’ to join us!