More than 400 Authority members, business partners, and staff gathered at the Hyatt Regency in Indian Wells from October 9 – 11 to learn about The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Risk Management, the theme of the Authority’s 2019 Risk Management Educational Forum.
This year’s Forum provided participants the opportunity to interact with experienced speakers, hear relevant and timely presentations, and the venue to interact with members and business partners.
Wednesday’s opening sessions addressed exposures that represent the new normal for many public agencies: wildfires and cyber exposures. We Didn’t Start the Fire: Extinguishing Public Entity Liability After a Fire led the opening session and addressed potential claims arising from catastrophic wildfires and the defense strategies and risk management guidance public entities can use when faced with claims arising from wildfires. The recent California wildfires were the largest and most destructive in state history.
The second opening session Avoid an Ambush: Cyber & Ransomware Exposures – One Member’s Experience & Lessons Learned featured one member’s experience with a ransomware event and shared lessons learned for protecting government agencies and businesses. Cyber and ransomware attacks are hitting state and local municipalities, including school districts and local government agencies, and have reached epidemic proportions.
Participants gathered on Thursday morning for breakfast and a warm welcome by Chief Executive Officer Jon Shull. Shull shared, “The Authority plans each Forum so that members can study topics and issues relevant to local government. I am proud that the Authority hosts this educational experience each year where members can be together and learn together.”
Assistant Executive Officer Norm Lefmann then recognized the finalists for 2019 Capstone Award. The Capstone Award is presented annually to an individual at a member agency who best exemplifies the practice of risk management. The seventh annual Capstone Award was presented to Stephen Aryan, risk manager with the City of Palm Desert.
The Forum’s keynote speaker, Mac Anderson, founder of Simple Truths and Successories, Inc., inspired participants with his 212° philosophy on creating a service culture. Anderson shared personal anecdotes and explained “at 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And with steam, you can power a train. Just one extra degree makes all the difference.” Chris Yanonis, maintenance worker with the Authority recommended Mac Anderson as keynote speaker. Yanonis said, “I was given Mac’s book, Charging the Human Battery¸ a few years ago. The stories and words of wisdom are inspiring and simple reminders to maintain happiness in your life.”
Thursday’s breakout sessions addressed emerging risk management issues including The Role of Leadership In Addressing Employment Practices Liability, Social Media Use for Elected Officials, Effective Management of Bicycle & Scooter Rideshare Services, Best Approaches for Encounters with the Homeless, and Establishing a Comprehensive Sidewalk Inspection & Maintenance Program. A full listing of the breakout sessions and links to presentations are available in the Forum Agenda.
The Forum’s success is significantly owed to the overwhelming support of those partners that contributed financially toward the Forum’s program and activities. Shull recognized over 40 partners at the Sponsor Lunch on Thursday. Shull said, “The partnerships we have developed together allow us to continue to deliver an exceptional educational experience for our members. We deeply appreciate the role of our strategic partners in supporting this educational event.”
The Forum concluded Friday morning with a presentation by Gerry Preciado on True Grit: The Risk Manager’s Guide to Communicating with the Executive Suite. Preciado shared how to master the process of harnessing human interaction tools to effectively communicate with every level of an organization, including the executive suite.
Mark your calendars now to attend the 25th Annual California JPIA Risk Management Educational Forum to be held October 14 – 16, 2020 in Santa Barbara.
Photo caption: Chris Yanonis and Mac Anderson