Our fabulous host, Julie Groves, speaks to Michael Del Duke and Jeremy Lambeth about their experience at the URMIA Annual Conference 2022 as newcomers. Michael and Jeremy share their favorite conference memories, their tips for making the most out of their conference experience, and what advice they would give to someone who is ‘on the fence’ about attending the annual conference. If you’re a new member of URMIA or have never attended the annual conference before, this is the podcast for you! Mark your calendar to join us in Baltimore, Sept 9-13, 2023.
Show Notes [member log-in required for some content]
Connect with URMIA & URMIA with your network
-Share /Tag in Social Media @urmianetwork
-Not a member? Join ->www.urmia.org/join
-Email | email@example.com
Give URMIA Matters a boost:
-Give the podcast a 5 star rating
-Share the podcast - click that button!
-Follow on your podcast platform - don't miss an episode!
Thanks for listening to URMIA Matters!
URMIA Member Directory [member login required]
URMIA All Members Discussion Board
NAFSA: Association of International Educators
The Forum on Education Abroad
Overseas Security Advisory Council
Foundations of Risk Management from AC22
Michael J. Del Duke Jr.- Risk & Claims Specialist, Drexel University
Jeremy Lambeth- Director of Risk Management, University of Oklahoma (University of Oklahoma System)
Julie Groves-Director, Risk Services, Wake Forest University
Julie Groves: Hi everyone. Welcome to URMIA Matters. I'm Julie Groves. The Director of Risk Services at Wake Forest University, and I'm also the current URMIA president. Today we're going to talk to two annual conference newcomers about their experience at the recent conference in Indianapolis.
With me are Michael Del Duke, Risk and Claims Specialists at Drexel University, and Jeremy Lambeth, the Director of Risk Management at University of Oklahoma. Welcome to the podcast, guys. I'm glad you're here. Before we start talking about the annual conference, I always like to ask guests, tell our listeners a little bit about themselves. So, Mike, why? Why don't we start with you? Why don't you tell listeners a little bit about yourself?
Michael Del Duke: Sure. Thanks, Julie. My name is Mike. I just recently became the Assistant Director of Risk and Claims Management at Drexel University. I've been in my role for approximately five years now, and I mainly handle the claims at the university for our property and casualty, so workers' comp, auto property. If it's a claim, I'm submitting it to our carrier. In my, uh, free time. I enjoy spending time with my wife and my soon to be three-year-old son. And, uh, we are going to be welcoming our second son in March. So, we're very, very excited, and busy preparing.
Julie Groves: Congratulations. That's, that's great. Congratulations. So how long have you been at Drexel?
Michael Del Duke: Just a little bit over five years now.
Julie Groves: Okay, great. And when did you first get involved in URMIA?
Michael Del Duke: Well, when I first started at the university, that was one of the first things that my supervisor did was get me hooked up onto the URMIA site and made sure that I was registered. It's probably been about the past year or so that I've become more involved, um, and trying to make it part of, I've always read the, the Daily Digest that comes through in the morning just to see if anything piques my interest, but it's been probably the past six months to a year where I've reading the message boards more and attending the, the, the annual conference. Great.
Julie Groves: Great. Well, we are glad you're a part of our association. Thank you. So, Jeremy, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Jeremy Lambeth: Sure, Julie, thanks. Uh, I would say that my name's Jeremy and I'm the director of risk Management for the College of International Studies at the University of Oklahoma. So, in short, I'm the sole full-time international travel risk manager for our three campuses in Oklahoma, as well as our two centers located Arrezo, Italy and Puebla, Mexico. I prepare travelers for the mobility, safety, and wellbeing challenges they, they might face while. In addition to being a point of contact for benefits assistance and insurance claims, I also carry a twenty-four-seven emergency response phone for our college in the, in the event that, uh, something should impact the health of our travelers, or in the case of, say, an extended hospitalization.
I facilitate global travel for family reunifications to Oklahoma and international student medically advisory repatriations to their home country. Pretty good gig. I've been doing it since, uh, March of 2020 a month that we live on in many people's memory in the United States. So international travel was, uh, is something I was doing prior to coming to the University of Oklahoma, but it certainly, uh, was, was an interesting a few years, uh, to start here.
Julie Groves: And how did you get involved with URMIA? How long have you been involved with URMIA?
Jeremy Lambeth: Sure. Well, this year was my first engagement with URMIA. Aside from, uh, attending a few webinars that were recommended by some of my senior peers, the annual conference was, was essentially the first time that I'd gone full into to meeting with URMIA, engaging with its membership, uh, I'd looked through the website quite a bit, a lot of great articles and pieces in there, and I saw a lot of my, my peers across the United States also commenting on subjects that are related to international travel risks. So, it's been fun. That's been a good, good year, but this is my first year.
Julie Groves: Well, great. Well, we're glad to have you involved in the association as well. And so, we're here to talk a little bit about our recent annual conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, and both of you were there. Why don't you start, Mike, and let us know. Uh, why did you decide to come to the conference?
Michael Del Duke: Well, mainly it was at the suggestion of my supervisor. I have another colleague along with my supervisor in my small department, and, uh, they would alternate for the first few years that I was working in attending the conferences. And this year as part. My promotion and as part of trying to take on more responsibility at the university, my supervisor really encouraged me that if, if possible, that she wanted me to attend the conference, to start the networking and to try to make those connections that would help us and help me in my, my daily activities.
So that was the main driving force. And me wanting to go and, uh, I knew my broker, our broker was gonna be there and was gonna help show me the ropes and make some introductions and start to build the networking process. So, I got some encouragement from, from them as well.
Julie Groves: Great. And Jeremy, how about you? What made you decide to come to the conference?
Jeremy Lambeth: In the other associations and groups that I work with across the United States Higher Education Spectrum, URMIA is an organization that, uh, our senior international travel risk managers, they recommend, they recommend to us to participate, but with education abroad being like the lion's share of global mobility, and not just my institution, but a lot of other institute.
It's kind of expected that the International Travel risk manager attends seminars and workshops, uh, hosted by organizations like NAFSA, the Forum on Education Abroad, and the Oversee Security Advisory Council. So, in the past, my budget and availability to join URMIA or attend a conference was pretty much nonexistent.
I was already tapped out for travel and going across the states, and if I have any site visits in a foreign country, it just starts to add up real quick. However, uh, after supporting a, a few travel related cases involving our student health plan, uh, so international students needing travel support here in Oklahoma, our plan administrator encouraged me to share my experiences in an URMIA panel. They were setting up a panel, they were looking for guest speakers and they invited me to be on the panel. And, uh, the director of Enterprise Risk Management, here at the University of Oklahoma, chose to sponsor my membership. So, this is the first time that I actually got access to the website to see the community firsthand and to review some of the conversations that were being held.
So that certainly motivated me to get involved. Uh, both of those individuals, those organization, those entities both at the university and also our plan administrator. Uh, obviously they must see some aptitude in me, hopefully, and, uh, in expanding my role beyond international. So, I certainly appreciated that. And then being at the conference, URMIA certainly set the bar for what is possible for growing my portfolio for risk management and what I can, what I can do for the university, which is great.
Julie Groves: That's great. So, both of you attended the conference in person and Jeremy, you also attend a part of it online, so we'll talk about that in just a minute. So, um, why don't you tell us, you know, what are some of the most interesting aspects of being at a conference in person. You know, especially maybe post-Covid when you know, we all have maybe forgotten how to be at conferences. So, Jeremy, you wanna start with that question?
Jeremy Lambeth: Thanks, Julie. Yeah, I would say that this conference was a career inspiring opportunity for me. I had to put it simply, uh, not only did I get a chance to share my international travel risk experience with colleagues, which is always great. But I learned so much about the breadth of work that other risk managers, including enterprise risk managers, engage with every day, including things like infrastructure, you know, building resources, our built environment for our colleges, the cyber safeguards that we all need to be aware of and attuned to, youth minor protection protocols. This is great stuff. And I was certainly blown away, uh, by just my peers. And, uh, I would say I count myself pretty privileged to work in this field with them to be counted as one of those risk manage.
Julie Groves: That's great. And Mike, what about you?
Michael Del Duke: Yeah, I'll piggyback off of what Jeremy said. Just the amount of knowledge that, and camaraderie that are in the rooms.
I remember attending, I think it was the large institution session where it was basically, you know, what's going on, what challenges? Like here's, here's an incredible amount of brain trust in, in one room, we're, we all are going through the same things to a different extent. So, it's just the power of knowing that there are others out there that are sharing the same difficulties as you, and that you don't always have to reinvent the wheel. That was a big thing that I took away, is that, you know, you have colleagues out there that have been there, been through it, poke, you know, pick their brains, ask them questions, ask them what they, what they wish they could have done differently.
And so, you know, just learning about that and making connections with people. I met too many people to remember. There were a lot of familiar faces that you see in responding to discussion board. So, it was nice to, you know, actually meet some people and, and do that networking. And this was my first professional life conference that I've ever attended.
So it was, you know, learning the ropes and from those types of, you know, from that type of experience and being away from family for the first time and you know but soaking everything up. I think that that was, that was what I wanted to be. I wanted to be a sponge, try to gather as much information as I can, take notes down and then, you know, make connections. And everybody was so friendly there at the conference. Where are you going? Do you need help? Or, you know, the URMIA’s staff, Jenny, Michelle, Gary. I know I'm forgetting everybody, but they were all friendly. Like, where do you need to go? Who do you need to see? We can help. How can we help?
Julie Groves: So that's great. I mean, I, I do think URMIA is just about the friendliest group of people you'll meet. I mean, I've been to other association’s conferences, and you know, I, I feel like, you know, to your point, Mike, URMIA folks really wanna help people get to where they need to go, help them find the information they need, and they want to be resources for one another. And so, I, I think that, uh, you captured that very nicely. So, Jeremy, you attended part of the conference online, is that correct?
Jeremy Lambeth: I did, gearing up to the conference there were a few sessions that were held, uh, online and uh, I sat in and they had some nice little breakout activities where I got to meet with some risk managers, again, from around the country, which is always great, who are going through the same issues and concerns that I'm going through, that I'm having to manage here, and those that I need to keep an eye on that may potentially impact my institution.
So, it was great to see people in a virtual setting for. Uh, I, very large cohort of people participating, which was wonderful. So, it was nice to see, and it also prepared me to see some faces that I actually saw when I came to the conference, which was really nice. I wasn't the only one who, who kind of double dipped there. Got a little, the virtual and then came and came to the event too. And so, it was nice to meet people in person that I may have, uh, otherwise just seen or heard, give a talk or an introduction, or a presentation before I even arrived. So that was fantastic.
Julie Groves: That's great. So, I mean, and you, you have each touched a little bit about this already, but what, what were a couple of the most valuable things you all took away from the conference? Jeremy, you wanna start with that question?
Jeremy Lambeth: Definitely. I would say that if I had to choose. Because I could go on and on much like, much like Mike and I, you can find out we're we're pretty good talkers. Uh, but if I had to choose, I'd say my most valuable experience was actually the foundations of risk management. Those pre-conference sessions that I attended before even things kicked off, uh, I was. So humbled by again, the knowledge as Mike reiterated. It's the knowledge and experience of the presenters. They showed us how to find the most utilized resources within URMIA. How to solicit feedback from the community.
Those are great tools. It's a great way of onboarding someone into into URMIA, which I thought was fanta, fantastic, but it also set the tone for the rest of the conference right from the moment our pre-conference cohort shared their position roles. Their reporting structure within their institution. I realized I was among an extensive group of committed professionals. This is a fantastic commute. Some were starting to build a foundation for ERM while others were responsible for large teams across multiple campuses with, within a system of universities, this is, this is high level stuff. And, uh, I got to sit with them. I got to listen to their, their concerns, talk about some of their solutions, how they address the challenges that they, that they face. And I mean, just to reiterate that the conference broadened my understanding of what's possible in the realm of risk management across our university. And [that's, that's probably one of the most valuable things I got, was right from the beginning.
Julie Groves: That's, that's great. And Mike, what about you?
Michael Del Duke: Well, I think, you know, first and foremost the connections, right? The, the friendships that you make and the connections that you make with others that you can, um, pick up the phone and give them a call and, and bounce things off their brains. But also, I think, I think, and, and in talking to my supervisor kind of doing a, a decompression afterwards from the conference was that, you know, in our day-to-day activities, when you work with just two other people in a group and you're responsible for so much, it can just feel like you're, you're always trying to catch up. You're always trying to put out the next fire. Right?
But in scene, in, in, in attending the sessions and attending some of them, it made me feel good about what we are doing. Um, we are like, maybe, maybe we're really good at this. That was old news to me about one topic, but it opened my mind about another thing that, oh, maybe I need to not worry so much about X because I've got a good basis for that. We're, we're doing a good job with that, but like, let's spend some time thinking about Y and Z that, you know, maybe we can, we can focus more of our e energy and effort. So, it kind of, you come back, you feel refreshed, even though it's a really hectic schedule. You feel refreshed and ready to tackle some things that you're like, I need to stop putting these off because, you know, others can do it. I, I can, I can kind of divert my attention a little bit because I'm, I feel like I'm in a good place with some things. So, I think that that was one of the, the biggest takeaways for me.
Julie Groves: Was anything surprising about the conference to either of you? Any big surprises since you hadn't been before, Mike?
Michael Del Duke: Uh, the camaraderie, like, I, I had a sense of it online, but like, honestly, the number of people that were like, oh, did you get your raffle tickets? Um, you know, I purposely made a point to sit down at, at different tables every meal that there was in the big auditorium and just other people came and sat with me and, and just to meet more people. Um, but everybody just in it together. I can't say that enough.
Julie Groves: How about you, Jeremy?
Jeremy Lambeth: Yeah, I think you hit it, the nail on the head, Mike, like the comradery. I, I was thinking about that too. And the openness to share resource. Discovery of the various paths to excellence. Uh, a desire to do as much as possible to support your colleagues. Phenomenal. I'd say that I have certainly been to conferences that drain the life outta you. They really do. But this was one that I walked away from invigorated, right?
Just as Mike articulated so eloquently, like I walked away either wanting more or ready to go hit the ground, like. What I thought would may have been insurmountable was actually just low hanging fruit and I just needed to implement it and the resources and tools were already, uh, the path had already been laid out for me to, uh, to prepare our institution a little bit better.
Julie Groves: Well, I mean, you guys have certainly made a lot of really poignant points today about your time at the annual conference, and we will be probably, uh, taking a few of those and putting them on the website as quotes if you know, if you're okay with that. Um, and it, and not that you haven't already given enough of this information yet, but if there's someone out there who is on the fence, and we have a while till next annual conference, but if there's someone on the fence, uh, who can't really decide if they should come to the conference or not, what, what advice would you give them to, you know, convince them to come to an URMIA conference? Jeremy, you wanna start?
Jeremy Lambeth: I'll keep it pretty simple. I'll say that if you're the kind of person who has the passion for improving the health, the safety, the wellbeing, security of your institution, if that's you, then consider coming to the conference. Um, you're gonna discover a community of practice and you're gonna open a whole lot of doors of possibilities. There are scholarships available and there really, if you can find the time, there's really no reason why you shouldn't come and, and be with us. Join, join the fun. And also, uh, take a look at some of the, the partnerships that URMIA is now engaging with. Uh, I would say that the HEPNet group, that was after URMIA talking about youth protection, that was fantastic.
It just dovetailed right after our full, you know, overarching risk management conference and you got to a really deep dive into, into an issue that impacts all of our institutions that host minors on our campuses, and that was fantastic. Got to dive into a really, really important specialization after our conference. Same thing goes for our, the travel risk track. That was really neat. If you're coming for something specific, you're gonna find the people that that chip away at those issues every day.
Julie Groves: Mike, what about you?
Michael Del Duke: Yeah, I think that the advice that I would give is that there's going to be something there for you no matter what your role is at your institution. You know, whether it be, you know, more review, review of contracts, or, you know, international travel or claims. There was, there was a topic for everyone. So, you will definitely get something out of it that you can take back to your institution. That, that's, that would be beneficial in your day-to-day work life.
And I would also say, I feel like in my limited time that I've been, you know, increasing my participation in the organization, whatever you put into it, you're probably gonna get back tenfold from it because, you know, you answer a few questions on, on a message board then, then, Other people are, are gonna know that you're a, a center of excellence or you know, that, that you're someone that's approachable and then they'll return the favor. So that's put yourself out there, you know, just make an effort and it, it will be worthwhile. It, it certainly will be.
Julie Groves: Well, I mean, again, thank you for the, uh, fabulous. Feedback you gave us on the conference and your, your valuable participation in it. And we're so glad you're both, like I said earlier, members of URMIA we're fortunate to have you. Thank you. I'm glad you could come to the conference. And so, before we close, any final thoughts you wanna share, uh, real quickly or we, you know, any, any last moments that you wanna share? You're gonna wake up tonight and say, oh, I should have shared that on the podcast.
Michael Del Duke: I can't think of any. I mean, I think that, you know, it's just the power of connections. Other people are out there fighting the same fight. So don't, don't, don't do it. Don't do it by yourself.
Julie Groves: Well, again, thank you both so much for being on the podcast today. I really appreciate everything you've shared. Thanks. Thank you. And this wraps another episode of URMIA Matters.