Join guest host, Jenny Whittington, URMIA’s Executive Director, as she interviews URMIA’s president (and host of URMIA Matters), Julie Groves, Director of Risk Services at Wake Forest University, for another Presidential Podcast!
Julie and Jenny share their highlights of this past year, including two magical regional conferences at Disney and our wonderful members representing URMIA at various associations’ conferences. They also share some inside scoops about URMIA’s Annual Conference in New Orleans in 2024 and all the interest Louisiana will have to offer. As always, Julie and Jenny are spreading the excitement for URMIA’s 2023 Annual Conference in Baltimore from Sept. 9-13, and what an amazing job the conference committee has done to create a great event for all members. This episode is a must-listen as a part of the Presidential Podcast series of URMIA Matters!
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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 everyone. This is Jenny Whittington, URMIA’s executive director and welcome to URMIA Matters. It is late summer here in the URMIA Home Office, and we're about just about a month away from our big annual conference, and today we are bringing you an episode of the presidential update with our favorite host of the podcast- Julie Groves. Welcome, Julie.
Julie Groves: Thank you, Jenny. Now we don't want to hurt any of the other host's feelings. All the hosts are good. So, you know. Let's not hurt anyone's feelings, but I'm glad to be here. And it's also in Winston-Salem, NC. It's also late summer, so that's a coincidence, isn't it?
Jenny Whittington: It is. I can almost feel the change of the weather in the air.
Julie Groves: The leaves are starting to fall.
Jenny Whittington: Yes, I walk my dog in the mornings, and it's been a little bit cooler and crisper. And I do have to say fall is my favorite time of the year.
Julie Groves: I agree. I agree. So, it'll be here before we know it.
Jenny Whittington: So, it's been a minute since we've done our last podcast on the presidential update, but yes.
Julie Groves: It has been.
Jenny Whittington: In fact, it was in February. Right after my favorite regional of the year in the happiest place on Earth in Orlando.
Julie Groves: Where you got to see your favorite character.
Jenny Whittington: I did Pluto was so cool. I mean. I could have all mixed up with Goofy sometimes, but you know they're both dogs and that was awesome that you guys brought in Pluto. So that was a good memory in February. So, tell me what has been going on since the month, since February.
Julie Groves: Well, it has been a whirlwind. I mean, we have been very, very busy and you know URMIA has been busy. I've been busy, I have been busy on behalf of URMIA. So, we had the Northeast regional in Boston in April and that was great. It was really fun to go up into that neck of the woods, as they say down here, and see the folks who are up there. And there are some really great educational sessions. And then we also had the Western Regional Conference in Anaheim, your other favorite place.
Jenny Whittington: Oh yeah, I got to go to that other magic place on the West Coast.
Julie Groves: I think right after we talked in February, you got to go out there and it was your wedding anniversary.
Jenny Whittington: 25 years.
Julie Groves: Wow. So, I think you got to have some extra time out there, right? Didn't you have some extra time out there to celebrate?
Jenny Whittington: I did. Yep. I arrived a little early, stayed a little late, you know, because California is a fair distance from Indiana.
Julie Groves: It's a real fair distance from North Carolina.
Jenny Whittington: Indeed.
Julie Groves: So, I didn't make it to that conference, but I know that you did. And I know you enjoyed it. And so, you know and. Then in in late March, we hosted some of our affiliate members at the Conference Hotel in Baltimore to give them a bit of a sneak peek at the facilities. And we also like to just take those opportunities to talk to our affiliate members and hear feedback and suggestions from them and we really value our affiliate members, you know, and we could not be successful without them. So, it was good to be able to spend some time with the folks who came, and they got to see our awesome hotel. And then at the end of April, we got to go to New Orleans. Yes, and that was very fun. We got to see the hotel for our 2024 annual conference and look at some of the options for event spaces. We got to join a little jazz parade down in the- well. I don't think we were on Bourbon Street. But we got to join a little jazz parade and then we got to it was really fun. We got to throw beads from a balcony down on the revelers. So, it wasn't Mardi Gras, but we had a little taste of that.
Jenny Whittington: So, I think that's called a second line.
Julie Groves: A second line, yes, you're right.
Jenny Whittington: Yes, it took us from one place to another place and we had a band and we followed them, and it was very festive, and I would recommend that everybody participate in a second line at some point in their life and they might have the opportunity when we're in New Orleans next year.
Julie Groves: You are correct about that. Correct, yes. It was. That is correct. So, I mean it was just really it was a lot of fun. To be there. New Orleans has a lot of really cool places, a lot of it and there's a lot of history there. So, it was really great to see. So, I don't want to steal the thunder from Baltimore, but go ahead and put the dates for New Orleans on your calendar. September 28th through October 2nd and we are going to have a great time. While we were there, we were very fortunate that we happened to be there the weekend of the New Orleans Jazz Festival, which is a pretty legit event, and I was not the true die-hard. I only went to the first day of the festival, which was really, really great and PS, enough for me. But Jenny was a die hard and Jenny went the second day and the really the main reason I didn't go the second day. It's because it was raining and-
Jenny Whittington: It was pouring rain.
Julie Groves: I'm just. Yeah, I was not interested in that, but Jenny- a few of the Die Hards went and Jenny went, and so Jenny tell us what your most favorite thing about the Jazz Festival was.
Jenny Whittington: Well, I'd never been to a music festival of that scale. I have to admit, I thought maybe I was prepared for that, but I'm still confused. If there were 400,000 people there that day, or if that was like the whole time number, but it seemed like 400,000 people the day we went, because that's just a lot of people and I think we all know about post. That can be a little overwhelming, but yeah, the second day I was very fortunate to be a guest of the Marriott, who is hosting our conference next year and they took me to these special seats to see Ed Sheeran and it, it was pretty awesome.
Julie Groves: That’s great.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah. So yeah, it was one of the highlights of the year. So, thanks for asking me about that.
Julie Groves: And he was by himself, right? No band. It was a solo thing.
Jenny Whittington: All alone. And he had just won his lawsuit. So that was cool.
Julie Groves: Yes, yes.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah, it was super fun, and it was pouring down rain and we did get very, very wet. But it was well Worth it.
Julie Groves: Well, well, good. Yeah. I was happy to stay dry, and I'm happy that you got to see Ed. So, I know that was your- that was one of your highlights of that visit, yes. Yeah.
Jenny Whittington: Bucket list this year.
Julie Groves: So, and some other things, URMIA has kind of done since we last chatted. We've launched some new communities and one of them is our solo risk professionals community, and it's a community for those folks who are a department of 1 like I am. And we have about 62 members. And we're actually planning an in-person get-together at the annual conference in Baltimore. So that will be nice to see people in person. So it should be on our schedule, in our new app. So be sure to check that out. And if you're a member of the community, I'll be sending an e-mail out to remind you guys, but we would love to see you there.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah. And if you are a solo risk manager, you're not part of the community. Give us a shout, we'll add you.
Julie Groves: Let us know. Yes. And you know, I think one of the things URMIA has really been focused on in the last few years is getting our association's name out to other organizations and associations so that we can become better, well known and I will truly give you kudos for that. Jenny, I think you're a great, you're a great ambassador for our association and you really work hard to get us lined up with these other groups and to attend their meetings and their conferences. And so, we were able to do a little bit of that. And so, in May, I got the honor of going with you to the CHEMA meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. And we had a little flashback to some of our conference events when we had our annual conference in Providence. But why don't you tell the folks, what CHEMA is?
Jenny Whittington: Sure, it's the Council of Higher Education Management Associations and URMIA has been a member of CHEMA, I mean, even long before I got here, NACUBO started this group. I'm guessing, I don't know, 30 or 40 years ago. And NACUBO does the administration for it and it's probably up to 40 different higher education associations. Some of them in student affairs and some of them on the administrative side of the house. But we have two meetings a year and the one we went to in Providence is the one where the Chief Volunteer officer, like Julie, attends together with their chief staff person, which was me. There were probably 75, 80 people there. It was, it was a big group, I think. Providence is a sweet spot because there are so many associations that are in the Washington DC area and it's pretty easy to get to Providence and they had a great agenda. We talked about things about like board governance. We talked about what's going on in higher education. We heard a session from 2 presidents of universities that Educause sponsored, and we always hear a Washington update from Liz Clark at NACUBO. So, it's always a really great gathering and the really fun part is that in these cities host this meeting. So, Providence hosts us and they kind of take us all around the city and show us all their, you know, kind of bells and whistles. Because they know all of us have our own meetings and just in fact URMIA is going to partner with ACCED-I, our Sister association in the event conference space for our Northeast regional next year and it is in Providence. So definitely mark your calendar for that one. So, CHEMA is a great group and yeah, over my tenure as executive director, I've gotten to know the other associations really well and I kind of compare it to the camaraderie that you all have together in your space. When I get together with the CHEMA chief staff officers, we have that same camaraderie because, you know, we share in what we do together. So. I'm so happy that you got to be a part of it and we did get to go go-karting, did you enjoy that?
Julie Groves: We got to go go-karting, I had a great time and we also got to go axe throwing. So that was fun too.
Jenny Whittington: I failed at the axe throwing. I never made contact.
Julie Groves: But yeah that- I don't think that's exactly true. I think you did, but I think you just gave up too soon.
Jenny Whittington: I'm a weakling.
Julie Groves: So that was fun. But, you know, I will say about CHEMA. You know, I think working at a smaller institution like I do, you know, you just don't realize all of the dozens and dozens of student organization associations, I guess, or higher ed associations. I mean, certainly, we know about the auditors and the attorneys. You know that, but I mean, it was amazing to me the representatives that were there and the organizations they represented. I mean, there's an association for everything.
Jenny Whittington: Everything. Every single thing.
Julie Groves: That was amazing. And then we actually sort of ended that coincidentally ended our time in Providence by the board and chairs did some diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging training, so that was good for us to do that. I think it's always good to have, you know, take as many opportunities as you can to, you know, learn more about that so.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah, I was really happy we were able to do that was part of strategic goal for kind of indirectly something I've been looking at for the staff. And then we're like well gosh, if we invest in this, why not open it up to our board members, our committee chairs? And I thought it was really, really helpful. So, thanks for doing that for us.
Julie Groves: Sure. Then, in July, July was really busy for us because we first headed to NACUBO’s annual conference in Orlando and I was one of the presenters of the Future of Risk Management and Higher Education: A look into the crystal ball. But no crystal balls were involved, and I did that with my friends. Barb David, Jean Demchak, Kathy Hargis, and Margaret Tungsten. And so, Jenny, I know you're very faithful about submitting sessions to NACUBO every year and so we were really pleased to be included, you know in their schedule this year and we hope that will continue in the future.
Jenny Whittington: Sure, NACUBO is such an excellent association and they put on a great conference. So, I love bringing URMIA members and sharing that experience with our members because it really gives you a lens and what is all on the business officer's plate as well. They have a lot going on there. And I always think it's interesting to go to their sessions and hear what's on their minds and the topics that are being bought there, so if anybody has ever interested in submitting to the NACUBO call for presentations, reach out to me. We can partner in on that. We would love to have more than one session on their agenda every year. So, help make that possible reach out to me.
Julie Groves: And I will just put in a little anecdote. My good work, buddy. Marty Matthews, who's the AVP for finance and controller at Wake Forest. She also presented at NACUBO, but she got to hang out with all the URMIA folks, and she has proclaimed that their risk managers are way more fun than the business officers.
Jenny Whittington: Well, she just doesn't know the right business officers. But I mean, the URMIA and people are fun.
Julie Groves: They are fun, so she thoroughly enjoyed being an honorary risk manager for a few days, so. And then the week after NACUBO, we headed to the College Business Management Institute, which is an annual week-long sort of educational conference that's put on jointly by SACUBO and the University of Kentucky. It's at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. And so, URMIA had quite a few members who were “faculty”, and we taught sessions, and this is a program where, you know, people who work in different areas of business or whatever at a university can come. It's a two-year program. They come the first year. And they go through certain courses and then they come the second year and go through the remainder of the courses and then they graduate from the CBMI.
Jenny Whittington: I think after the third year.
Julie Groves: Oh they after the third year?
Jenny Whittington: Yeah.
Julie Groves: OK, so it's three years. So, it's not really an open conference that anybody can go to. You have to be accepted into their program. But you know, I know Wake Forest has sent people from our business office there, and in our session, which was hot topics and risk management that I did with Jean Demchak, we had probably 70 people and there are 80 people in there and they were from all parts of the university because we did a little poll at the beginning. So, you know it was a good opportunity to sort of help people who are not involved in risk on a regular basis understand what's on the horizon for risk managers. So, and you know UK, they do a great job with that, and it's been going on- this was shocking to me- for 70 years.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah, it's older than URMIA.
Julie Groves: I mean it's crazy.
Jenny Whittington: It is. And I mean, I was so impressed. I've been aware of this program for a long, long time, because URMIA members in the past had presented, and I had asked the board, probably a year, maybe two years ago, could have been even during the pandemic, if we could really get more involved in CBMI. And it was really fortuitous because they were kind of relaunching their program kind of to celebrate their 70th year. So yeah, we coordinated 4 different sessions and two were in the first-year track. So that was over 330 people. So those people heard about kind of the fundamentals of insurance and risk management from Anita Ingram and Susie Johnson and then they also heard about compliance from our Robin Oldfield and Todd Adkins. And then the other session we did, the 4th one was the ERM boot camp that Gretchen Fitzgerald and Mark Anderson. And kudos to all of you for doing that. I was really impressed with the UK program and anybody who wants an intro into higher education in general, it would be a great three or four-day investment, just a lot of camaraderie, meet other people at other institutions who do what you do, and they have a lot of fun too.
Julie Groves: Mm-hmm. It was really, really worthwhile. So hopefully we will continue to be involved in that. So, thanks for kind of helping us get in, and get our foot in the door there. And then the first week of August. The URMIA staff came to my hometown, Winston Salem, NC, for a little mini-retreat, and we had a great time. We had a great time. We did some planning. We did strength finders and learned, you know what our strengths are, and our less-than strengths are. And so, what did you think about your time here, Jenny?
Jenny Whittington: Oh well, I mean I think First off, I mean, Julie is a great host. She made us feel super welcome and we had a tour of her very impressive campus. And we had this really cool shuttle driver that drove us all around because it's a little warm, warm there in the South.
Julie Groves: Yes, it's a little warm, it was.
Jenny Whittington: But I'm just really impressed with your campus and your knowledge. Julie's knowledge of the history of Winston-Salem is very impressive. So, you should- fun fact- you should ask her some trivia about. She told us many, many stories, about the people.
Julie Groves: Some of them are juicy, some of them. Involve murder and potentially and-
Jenny Whittington: The tobacco industry, there's a lot of stuff.
Julie Groves: Yes. Was there anything that surprised you?
Jenny Whittington: I didn't realize how big your city was.
Julie Groves: Yeah, it was pretty amazing, wasn't it?
Jenny Whittington: Yeah, you live in a thriving metropolis.
Julie Groves: We do, I mean, just so to let people know that this, you know, in the city of Winston Salem is there's one, there's one population, but if we count all of the people who live in the little suburb communities right outside of the city, but still in the county, our metropolitan area, we have over 600,000 people, and Jenny was she was just kerfuffled by that.
Jenny Whittington: I was. I was. I just thought it was going to be a slow- like a smaller place, I don't know.
Julie Groves: You thought you thought we all walked around with hay, with hayseeds sticking out of our teeth.
Jenny Whittington: No, I just live in a very small place here and I take it for granted sometimes.
Julie Groves: So yeah, so that was fun to have you guys here. And I think we did some planning for next year and we got to have a little bit of fun too. We did, we went to some golf simulators, but they did other things too, so that was fun. So, you and I have been very busy. We have been very busy. But there are a couple of other things I didn't participate in, but I did want to mention just so that folks know we are still really you know we spent the spring and summer getting our association’s name out there. I wasn't able to attend, but we did present the higher ed session at RIMS in Atlanta in May. And thanks to our friends Craig McAllister and Colorado Robertson. And did Lou help with that as well?
Jenny Whittington: Lou did as well.
Julie Groves: Lou Drapeau. So, they did it, which my understanding is very well attended.
Jenny Whittington: It was a great session and we also- we set up a meeting with the new RIMS leader. They have a new CEO now. And their volunteer leader, Jennifer, and it was great to introduce our leadership team to their leadership team, and RIMS is a great, great organization and right now we are actually submitting to their call for presentations for San Diego. I did a call out to our affiliate members earlier this week to see if anybody wanted to partner with URMIA because we want to submit additional sessions for San Diego next week- or next year, so that's in process right now. So, URMIA hopes to have a nice presence at RIMS in San Diego next year.
Julie Groves: So, we'll keep our fingers crossed on that. And then finally, Keesha Trim from the University of Richmond, represented URMIA in May at the HBCU Risk Management conference at Texas Southern University and you know, that was a great treat for us. We are trying to align with our strategic goal #4 and you know be more purposeful about reaching out to underrepresented people and groups. And so, this went right along with that very nicely, so.
Jenny Whittington: Indeed, yeah.
Julie Groves: So, it's been a busy-.
Jenny Whittington: It’s a whirlwind.
Julie Groves: Spring and summer, as we have called it, the year of Jenny (And Julie).
Jenny Whittington: Actually, no. Jenny and Julie. I think calling it Jenny and Julie's Big Adventure.
Julie Groves: Big inventor. That's true, Jenny and Julie's Big Adventure, which I forgot. That is like Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. But I was thinking of it more like Pee Wee's Big Adventure. One of my favorite movies.
Jenny Whittington: I know we just lost Pee Wee. That's kind of sad.
Julie Groves: We did. We did. So yeah, so it's been very, very busy. But you know we are doing a lot to make sure that our association is out there and known and that we are making connections everywhere. So, we can continue to ensure that the association is successful for many, many years in the future.
Jenny Whittington: Absolutely
Julie Groves: So, thank you for all your efforts in that area, Jenny.
Jenny Whittington: Well, thank you for giving so much time of your time to spending with URMIA this year. We have had, we've had a lot of laughs and a lot of good work on URMIA's behalf, but really thanks to everybody who has spoken on URMIA's behalf. I mean, I know it's extra on your day job when you take on a speaking role at another conference, and just kudos to everybody who joined us in 2023, and looking forward to all those people who are going to speak in a few weeks in Baltimore.
Julie Groves: Yes, we are heading to Baltimore in a few weeks. It's hard to believe that it's going. That's almost here. That's going to be a really great event and the conference committee has lined up some really neat things for us to do and the educational sessions, as always, they're going to cover a wide range of topics. So, if you want to find out more about the annual conference, be sure to listen to a recent podcast we did with the conference chairs, Rachel Pluviose, Keesha Trim, and Tristan Tafolla, I don't want to steal any of their stuff.
Jenny Whittington: And there's, you know, new stuff all the time, adding to the app, yeah.
Julie Groves: There is new stuff all the time, right? And if you haven't registered.
Jenny Whittington: There’s still time!
Julie Groves: There's still plenty of time. So, the hotel is getting full, but you know there we also have some other hotels nearby if that happens, so if you think it's too late and you don't want to sign up because you think you may have missed it. You have not. So please come. And join us, it's going to be great.
Jenny Whittington: The more the merrier is what I say.
Julie Groves: The more the merrier, that's right. And on that note, the Baltimore Conference will be your last conference as Executive Director of RMIA which is a little bittersweet for everyone. So.
Jenny Whittington: Oh, thank you.
Julie Groves: But our committee, our search committee for the Executive Director successor, is hard at work and we've gotten a pretty steady stream of applications. So, we're working through those right now to narrow them down and sort of come up with our first round of interviews and we won't be announcing a new executive director in Baltimore. But we will keep everybody updated as we go through the process and we will have, and we will have an announcement later this fall, so.
Jenny Whittington: Awesome. Yeah, I've had such a wonderful career for URMIA and really, really feel very fortunate. I'm actually having lunch next week with Bill Peyton and Larry Stevens, who hired me back in 2005. Bill just happens to be coming through Bloomington. So that's kind of a bittersweet in itself, but good things are going to happen for URMIA in the future. Change is good. It can be hard, but it really is good for all of us. So, I just appreciate the opportunity URMIA has given me and all the people that I've had got to work with and the people that I've gotten to manage. Just appreciate everyone.
Julie Groves: Wel, and again to echo what I said earlier, you have really done a lot over your tenure to really elevate URMIA. To get our name out, to be involved in other organizations and associations. And so, you know, we really, really appreciate you being such a good ambassador for our association, so.
Jenny Whittington: Thank you. You guys made it an easy job. You guys are such great people. It's easy to be an advocate. You know when everybody's doing good work and have such a good attitude and URMIA is just a tremendous organization. So, thank you.
Julie Groves: Certainly. So, we are heading off to Baltimore soon. So.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah. Julie, are we going to be doing one more presidential podcast?
Julie Groves: I think we'll do one after I step down from my-
Jenny Whittington: Leave office. Right?
Julie Groves: Yes, after I leave office. Just to maybe a kind of a wrap-up of my year. I mean, it's been really, really, really great. It's been an amazing experience. It's gone really fast. So, it's hard to believe that it's almost over. But Craig McAllister is going to be a great president, so I will look forward to seeing what he does and supporting him so. But yes, we will have one more. I think we'll have one more visit after.
Jenny Whittington: Absolutely. And that's why the President has three years, one year to warm up as president-elect, one year as President, and then you get to stay on as immediate past President. So, it's all good.
Julie Groves: Unless you’re Chauncey, but most presidents get-
Jenny Whittington: Yeah, some people get a bonus here.
Julie Groves: That's right, but most have three
Jenny Whittington: Not everybody gets that lucky, but that's.
Julie Groves: That’s right, that's right.
Jenny Whittington: Chauncey and Courtney got a little extra
Julie Groves: They did.
Jenny Whittington: and we appreciate them too. Well, Julie, thanks for being my wonderful- can we say co-host, special guest, president, or past president?
Julie Groves: We can say conversation partner.
Jenny Whittington: Oh, I like that. I like that's very politically correct. Well, I appreciate your time and all the travel that you've spent on URMIA this year, and looking forward to seeing everybody who is joining us either online or in person in Baltimore. And that will be a wrap on URMIA matters.