Join guest host Jenny Whittington, URMIA’s executive director, as she interviews Courtney Davis Curtis, University of Chicago and URMIA’s immediate past president and Sam Florio, Santa Clara University and URMIA 2017 past-president, about the upcoming URMIA elections for the President Elect position and candidates for the Board of Directors. Courtney and Sam share their insights into the election and nomination process, how it has changed over time, and how you can reach out to the voting member of your organization. Courtney also shares her tips on how to get involved in the volunteer opportunities with URMIA and if you foresee an URMIA presidency or leadership in your future, that’s the best way to get started.
Voting runs from July 12 to August 1, so please get out there and vote!
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Election season runs 7/12/23 - 8/1/23
Courtney Davis Curtis, Assistant Vice President for Risk Management and Resilience Planning- University of Chicago
Sam Florio, Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services- Santa Clara University
Jenny Whittington, Executive Director- URMIA
Jenny Whittington: Hey there. Thanks for tuning in to URMIA Matters, a podcast about higher education risk management and insurance. Let's get to it.
Hello out there. This is Jenny Whittington, URMIA’s executive director and I'd like to welcome our audience to another episode of URMIA Matters today. I have two past presidents of URMIA, our immediate past President, Courtney Davis Curtis from University of Chicago. And we also have Sam Florio from Santa Clara University. And 1st, I'm going to ask Sam to introduce himself. This is his first podcast with URMIA, so super excited to have Sam with us and Sam, tell us a little bit about your history with URMIA.
Sam Florio: Thanks, Jenny. I appreciate it. I have been a member of URMIA for a very long time since the beginning of my career in risk management back in 2007. Was the president of URMIA in 2017/2018 back in I believe was when we first started thinking about podcasting and doing some podcasts for me. So, I was so excited to five years later, have them be a routine part of our educational process. So, this is great to be part of this. So wonderful. I've been involved in URMIA since ‘07 as I mentioned and been in risk management for 16 years, but now I have transitioned to auxiliary services at the university, but risk management is part of my portfolio and remains part of my portfolio and probably hopefully will for the near future. So, I'm excited to be part of this conversation. Elections are so important, so it's great to be here.
Jenny Whittington: Well, I'm happy to recognize your efforts from your presidency back in 2017, and it has been a minute since we talked about podcasts, and it took us a bit to, you know, make it a reality, but they've been they've been a great medium for us and we're just so happy to have you as our guest today. Now our other guest, Courtney Davis Curtis is many a time participant on the podcast. Courtney, say hello and tell us about a little memory about this recent 4th of July holiday.
Courtney Davis Curtis: And I hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July. Actually, considering the hassles we usually all deal with July 1st renewals, I think my highlight would be the fact that my daughter has fallen in love with the fireworks song by Katy Perry and didn't fully recognize why they were playing it during fireworks or the fact that they mentioned the 4th of July. But I think we've had a full circle moment. Hopefully, we can retire that song, but I'm not quite sure just yet.
Jenny Whittington: That's awesome. So today we are going to talk about the URMIA election. So, Courtney is the chair of our Leadership Development Committee that used to be known as our nominating committee. But a number of years ago may actually may have been when Sam was president, we renamed it to the Leadership Development Committee because that was kind of a more modern term and it really talked about the role of the committee in, you know, not only the running the election, but really looking at the whole process. And I'll turn that over to you, Courtney, to talk about the Leadership Development Committee and their role and what you guys have been doing.
Courtney Davis Curtis: Absolutely. While most of the work that the Leadership Development Committee does happens over the course of the spring and summer, this year we've really started the process much, much earlier to really refine the whole entire approach to the election process. To consider how best to represent candidates to get a diverse slate, to provide the members of the URMIA community with information that be most relevant to assess the candidates themselves, but also the needs of the organization to make sure we have a broad representation as our president-elect, but also the members of the Board of Directors as well. The membership of the Leadership Development Committee includes, you know, folks who have served on the board, current and past, or have had other roles with other committees and a couple of past presidents as well. We try to diversify from the types of institutions represented, you know, the years of experience et cetera. Just to make certain that our outreach really considers a broad group and an array of potential candidates. So, in addition to, you know, working on the nomination forms, ordering out how best to communicate with the community, providing you know podcasts like this, or webinars to talk about the process, this committee is also tasked with some of the outreach to identify those folks who may be interested in serving in another capacity to the organization. And answering questions that they may have, and I know Sam will talk a little bit about who our nominees are, but, you know, this lays the groundwork most importantly for this year, but certainly future years as well as people try to find the right time in their career and, you know, having the capacity to serve this amazing organization. So, we've been working very hard over the last few months to really present the slate that we have this year and that's a core function for this group.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah, that is a really good point. And I mean really the whole board of directors to me has a leadership development role in all of this and we do at most board meetings, you know, talk about you know how to get those around us more involved and our call for volunteers is always on the website. We'll definitely put it in the show notes, so while you might be considering a future board, it's best to start with a little volunteer experience. You know, volunteer at the registration desk or volunteer on a committee, or just reach out to the Home Office here, we can help set you up for success. So now I'm going to turn it over to Sam for the big unveiling of this great pool of candidates we have. So, Sam, take it away.
Sam Florio: Thanks, Jenny. Super excited and honored to be able to unveil this great slate of candidates. I think they reflect who the membership are of our association. From, you know, community colleges to large university systems to others, so it's a great opportunity to present these candidates and I look forward to having you all in in our association vote because they're great, great options and we're very lucky to have them. So, starting with our president-elect, we have one candidate, Sandy Mitchell from MIT, will be our candidate for president-elect. It's wonderful that she stepped up. And then our board of director candidates. We have 7 candidates and three spots to fill. So, of these candidates, you will be able to choose three, they are Mya Batton from Vanderbilt University, Kevin Confetti from the University of California Office of the president, Joshua Davis from the Florida College System Risk Management Consortium, Mellany Patrong from Texas Southern University, Matt Tuttle of the University of Utah, and Nakeschi Watkins from Cornell University, and Tim Wiseman from the University of Wyoming. 7 great candidates for again those three spots. We are so happy that they've stepped up and said yes and taking this opportunity to be one of the potential leaders of our wonderful association. So, it's a great list and I'm looking forward to having you all vote for them.
Jenny Whittington: Thanks for that, Sam. Yeah, it is a great selection of our Members and I look forward to working with the group and all of them. So now I'd like to turn it back over to Courtney and ask her for her thoughts on the election process itself. I know we did some early work on the Leadership Development Committee, made some changes. Why don't we tell everybody what they're going to see when they see the candidate statements?
Courtney Davis Curtis: Yeah, I think this would be really exciting. The form itself is new. We've got separate questions for those who are nominated for the Board of Directors role versus the president-elect to really reflect the nature of their role and responsibility on the board. We've also highlighted some of the demographic information about the individual, the years of experience, the type of institution they represent. And you know, their nationality and background as well, and gender if they so chose to provide that information so that we're looking from diversity from a broad perspective, big schools, small schools, religious HBCU's to really reflect the membership that makes up the URMIA organization. So, you'll note those changes in the form itself and how you can view each candidate, but additionally, we've also provided candidates with the opportunity to provide us with the video to speak to the members about their candidacy, to make it a little bit more personal as well. And so that's something that you'll see this year. But this is a very fluid process, and we'd love any feedback that members may be able to share or offer about this process, and if there's additional information that really will help you make an informed decision and so you know, make sure when looking at the candidates, you're looking at the current slate of members of the Board of Directors, along with our strategic plan to figure out what may be the best fit for the organization.
Jenny Whittington: Thanks for that. Yeah. And I am the staff member that mostly supports the election. So, if you have any trouble at all, reach out to me. Jenny with the Y at URMIA.org. I am happy to troubleshoot with anybody. So now I'd like to turn to Sam and ask specifically about how our election works. It's a little different than maybe some other elections that you participate in. So, Sam, will you walk us through that process?
Sam Florio: I appreciate it. I was trying to think as Courtney was talking and in anticipation of me answering this question, how we voted back when I first started, but it wasn't as bad as paper ballots, but now? And it wasn't just raising the hands, but now I think we've got this great opportunity to have an online election. That's super secure. Super easy to utilize. The important thing to remember is that for our association, each member of the association only has one vote, and there's only one voting member. Even if you are a system and you have a number of schools in your system, a number of universities in your system, there's still only one vote per member. Even if you are a large affiliate group that has a number of affiliate members, there's still only one vote for affiliate member group, so it's very important to remember that but very important then to make certain that you reach out to your voting member and make sure that they vote. Back I think Jenny has given us some statistics from our elections and our most highly involved election where we had the most folks vote was in 2017, I think was around the might be either the election before or after when I was President, was 38.4% of our membership, voted- with 38.4% May sound like a small number, but among our peers, our peer institutions, associations, we are one of the. Highest and most involved associations of any. So that 38.4% number is incredible, but I'm convinced that we can get that number higher. Particularly because it's super easy to vote super easy for your voting member to do so. So, make certain you reach out to that voting member. Encourage them to vote. If you don't know who that might be, you can certainly e-mail URMIA at URMIA.org and Jenny or Jenny’s team will reach out and let you know who that voting member is. So, then you can send an e-mail to that voting member and say don't forget to vote in the election. Because we got some great candidates, and they need to be voted upon and we need to get a good slate of folks to be able to be leading this association as we move forward. So, make certain you do that super easy.
Jenny Whittington: Thanks, Sam. Yeah, we aim to please here to make things super easy and yeah, a few years ago, Ronna Papesh found us a great little bit of software that we subscribe to that runs our election. And it really has made it pretty seamless. So again, if you have any troubles, reach out to me or Ronna. Either one of us can help you with any troubleshooting for the election. Now I'd like to turn it back to Courtney to just give us a little call to action here for more volunteerism.
Courtney Davis Curtis: Yeah, absolutely. Well, first and foremost, the best way to volunteer as a volunteer and exercise your right to vote. So please do that. The voting will end in early August, but I also want to welcome everyone to check out URMIA's volunteer opportunities. It's a great way to get involved with the organization on some of our micro-opportunities, shorter in nature. And some of them will have longer-term commitments. But I look forward to also seeing everyone in Baltimore, so you know, if this conversation sparked any interest that you may have to serve this organization in different capacity, volunteering as an excellent way to do it, along with responding to our communities to get your face and name out there, any member of the Leadership Development Committee, URMIA office, board etc. would be happy to give you some suggestions on what a potential path to leadership may look like, but again you know, get involved, volunteer and certainly come visit us in Baltimore for our conference.
Jenny Whittington: That's terrific. And thank you, Courtney, for your leadership of the Leadership Development Committee. We've worked together for a number of years and you're always awesome and a wonderful volunteer. So, Sam, why don't you share the timeline, the future timeline of the election?
Sam Florio: Yes, the election begins in mid-July. It'll open and then it ends in early August and then we will make our announcement. The leadership committee will make the announcement on behalf of URMIA. Actually, it may be that URMIA makes the announcement on behalf of URMIA, but in generally it will be made in the week of August 14th and also those new board members and the president-elect will be recognized at our annual business meeting, which generally happens at the annual conference, but we've now moved that to a Zoom meeting, so it will happen prior to the annual conference. So, you have the opportunity to also meet them via Zoom at that meeting, which will be announced at a later date. But in general, don't forget that the week of the 14th August 14th, the final- official announcement of our board new board and our president-elect will occur then, so thanks. And also, don't forget voting starts in mid-July and we'll end the first week of August.
Jenny Whittington: Thanks, Sam. That was awesome. Thanks for looking forward with us and to view the candidate profiles and get started with the URMIA election process, go to www.URMIA.org/election. So again, thanks to both of you for making time in your busy busy days post-renewal time. Courtney, shaking her head. I don't know.
Sam Florio: It never ends, Jenny. We still got a couple weeks left. Never end.
Jenny Whittington: Oh dear. Well, I wish everybody luck out there. I know we try to lay low in mid-August, mid-June to mid-July because we know that our members are just swamped with insurance renewals, and we hope everybody's doing well out there. Thanks to the both of you for being my special guests and wonderful presidents of URMIA and that will be a wrap on URMIA matters.