In this episode of URMIA Matters, Jenny Whittington interviews immediate past president, Julie Groves in the final podcast of Julie’s presidential podcast series. Jenny and Julie share highlights from Julie’s year as president, including the 54th Annual Conference in Baltimore, speaking engagements at other associations, and the five strategic goals for this year. Jenny asks Julie about her favorite moments during her presidency, any unexpected challenges she encountered, and what is next for Julie as the immediate past president. You don’t want to miss this last episode in Julie’s Presidential podcast series!
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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. Hey there, URMIA land. Jenny Whittington here. Coming to you live from Las Vegas, doing a very, very special URMIA Matters today with our good friend, Julie Groves from Wake Forest. Good morning, Julie.
Julie Groves: Good morning. Good morning. It's later in the morning for me than it is for you in Las Vegas. I'm sorry those of you at home cannot see Jenny with her sparkly Elvis glasses and her pink bow on.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah. Michelle and I got to meet young Elvis 2 nights ago, and it was a pretty special moment. And it's a good thing I have it in a photograph. So, I can look at it whenever I need.
Julie Groves: You know Elvis is still alive, they say.
Jenny Whittington: So much. we're here at a conference looking at future destinations for our main conferences, and we stopped at the Memphis booth yesterday. And I told Michelle my story that I'd been there, and I've visited Elvis's house, and I went to that another company. And Memphis is really cool. So I do think that URMIA should consider going there one day so far.
Julie Groves: Graceland. There's a lot to see.
Jenny Whittington: So, let's start with this. Are we calling this the final presidential podcast?
Julie Groves: We are because I'm no longer president. So, this has to be our final presidential podcast.
Jenny Whittington: Parting is such sweet sorrow.
Julie Groves: It is.
Jenny Whittington: But as in the URMIA of governance structure, you know you're the immediate past president for the whole year.
Julie Groves: Still around, I'm still around.
Jenny Whittington: OK, so tell me, how did you think the conference went?
Julie Groves: Well, Baltimore, last month we had our annual conference, so it was great to see many of you there. For those who weren't able to be there, we missed you, but I think from my perspective that the conference went really well and I would love to get another, give another shout-out to Rachel Pluviose, Tristan Tafolla, and Keesha Trim the conference chairs all their hard work. I think their committee put on a great event. Baltimore was beautiful. The conference sessions were really varied and timely, and we had some impressive keynote speakers. On Monday, we got to hear from Seeyew Mo, the country's Assistant National Cyber Director. Not an important job at all, who shared his, who shared his-
Jenny Whittington: No, no.
Julie Groves: Thoughts on the current cyber landscape. And then on Tuesday, we got to hear from NAACP President Derrick Johnson and he discussed the challenges of leadership and that's our current political climate. And then I will say one of my favorite sort of it seems like it's becoming an annual tradition, i's the president's panel. We had that on Wednesday morning and I feel like this year, I feel like the President's this year, they were all from Baltimore area institutions, and they must know one another fairly well, or at least a couple of them did, because I feel like they had a real rapport, which I think added to the discussion.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah, yeah, we've gotten pretty fortunate the last couple of years where the leadership panel or the presidents, they do know each other. And it's, it's always, I think a bit richer because they have that comfort with each other. And I think they share maybe a little bit more because of that comfort.
Julie Groves: I totally agree. They seem very complementary of one another and you know are they will share things about the others that you know those people may not share about themselves. So, I really appreciated that. I do look forward to that each year. So, I think we had some awesome URMIACares opportunities this year. I know a number of people were looking forward to the regatta and sadly it was “allegedly rained out”, even though maybe 14 or 15 drops fell from the sky. I'm not sure if we have a count on that so. So, but again, that was going to be something that was going to be really awesome. And I know there were some people who were very sad about that. There were others who had gotten roped into being on a boat that maybe were OK.
Jenny Whittington: That’s true. It all worked out, didn’t it?
Julie Groves: It did. And so, I really again I want to really applaud Rachel because I know that that was something that was really near and dear to her heart. And I'm so sorry that it turned out that we couldn't do it, but. I hope we'll have an opportunity to do something similar in the future. I am not a big aquarium fan. I'll just put that out there, but I thought the closing event at the aquarium was really neat. I mean that aquarium, you could take a whole day and still not see everything because it just seemed like you just walked and walked and walked, and there was always something really interesting to see. So that was great. And I will say just I think personally for me, one of my favorite things that happened in Baltimore is I got to go to the Marsh dinner at the Peabody Library at Johns Hopkins and it's basically a library of rare books. And they took us. The archivist for the library took us in the back and showed us some very cool rare books, and I got to see a 1st edition of an Edgar Allan Poe.
Jenny Whittington: What? 1st edition?
Julie Groves: So that was awesome, 1st edition. I mean that is in a glass case. I didn't get to like touch it or anything, but I did get to see it so. So that was very cool. So, I thought I thought Baltimore went really, really well so.
Jenny Whittington: I totally agree with everything you said. I mean, I think the team worked really hard and Baltimore just gave us a really good backdrop. All the venues there and just the views from that hotel. And I've been going back, I think you have too and listening to some of the content you know, because I certainly didn't get to as many sessions as a regular attendee. That the recordings are great, so anybody who hasn't done that and have gone back into the app, it's really great because the quality of the recordings we tried harder this year to make it more, more better to have better audio and then that you could see the people and their slides even better. So, I encourage you to check that out. So, what were your takeaways from Baltimore? What did you take away?
Julie Groves: Well, you know, I always look forward to the annual conference each year because I just, I just there's so many people in URMIA that I just enjoy, and in many ways feels like a second family to me. So, it's always good to see people. And I don't know about you, but for me, it seemed to me that this year, if this is actually a term. It seemed more “normal” to me for some reason. I mean, I think you know this shadow of the pandemic has been looming over people for so long. You know, I mean, we had a great conference in Seattle, and we had a great conference in Indianapolis, but it just seemed like this really is like our this was our largest in person attendance since COVID and I think people are just really ready to leave the pandemic behind and get back to, you know, going to educational events and seeing their colleagues and making new connections, so I you know, I felt like that was something about Baltimore that was different from the last couple of years. I will say another take away that probably anyone who was in Baltimore for just even a day. And one other take away is that Jenny Whittington is loved. Because we had- Jenny got an award named after her. Jenny got a scholarship named after her. And you know, it was Jenny's last annual conference as the executive director, so it was a little bittersweet. I think people were, people were not ready for that to happen, and so people, I hope that you felt very appreciated Jenny, because-
Jenny Whittington: Ohh gosh yeah it was a, it was a little overwhelming, to be honest. I mean, not Monday. Wow, they're going off script and-
Julie Groves: That's true. That's true. Poor Jenny writes of this massive, wonderful script for us every year and we just kind of took that and threw that out the window because we had secret texts going on and secret scripts so that Jenny wouldn't know and. But yes, and so I think it, but I think all of the all of the recognition was very well deserved, you know. And so, I mean, I will say. I think one of the other things I felt like at this year's conference was that we really were able to really recognize some people who've really meant a lot to URMIA, I mean, besides you being awarded again, you know, getting an award named after you, Jean Demchak from Marsh received an award. We were able to name a grant after our colleague Lisa Zamaro who passed away several years ago from cancer, so I feel like this year was really a way to honor folks who have really given a lot to URMIA.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah, well said.
Julie Groves: So yeah, so I and I, I heard other people say that too that they feel like the awards ceremony in particular was very meaningful.
Jenny Whittington: So yeah, well, URMIA members are the very best. And I mean your kindness towards me certainly was very appreciated. And yeah, just the kind nature of our members, you know, the respect they have for each other, and you know, that's why my membership organizations exist. You know, it's because to honor each other and lift you up and, you know, make sure we all feel part of this great organization. So well done to the Honors Committee. And everybody else all the behind the scenes, things making all that magic happen, because it really is. It is magic. It really makes people feel good. And I mean, you guys all have super hard jobs in the real world where do you deal with, you know, evacuating people from Egypt and Israel. You know, we've heard a. Lot of that over the last couple of weeks and that is a hard, hard job and it's nice when we get together and we can celebrate and yeah, the conference, I thought was outstanding, so let's switch gears and look back at your year as President, kind of in the rearview mirror. How do you think that went?
Julie Groves: Well, I hope it went well. I mean, I hope others think that. I think it went well. I hope. I hope folks think that is also you know I think this year was really about making connections. My theme was you're not alone. And so, I hope people felt more connected. Our five strategic goals are all about connecting and I think we really were able to achieve a number of objectives on these strategic goals and we established 2 new communities, the solo risk professionals community and the professionals of color community, and I think those will pave the way hopefully for more afinity type groups in the future, so I hope that people feel more connected, you know, and I think you just mentioned it when you said URMIA as a kind organization, I mean that's what I always try to be as kind. I mean people always tell me how funny I am, and I think that's a great compliment. But I hope people I think I'm kind as well and just, you know, to your point, it echoes the membership. It's just full of kind people. And so, I hope people feel connected. I also think you and I were able to really represent URMIA at a number of different events and with a number of different, you know, non-URMIA organizations and conferences. And that was, you know, I think that went really well. I think again, you have done a great job over the last few years of trying to really get URMIA's name out to other non-higher education risk management type places and really help other associations to know about us. And I think going to CHEMA, if you've heard our past broadcast going to CHEMA was really great and I just think it's URMIA has a really great reputation outside of the risk management industry and so that's great. So.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think the members of CHEMA, you know, as you all say in the URMIA world, you know, you get so much more out of being a part of something than you give. In CHEMA, you know it's group of about 40 different higher education associations, maybe more than 40 at this point. But you know we have our own online community with the URMIA network and we share, you know, best practices, we share struggles. And we get together twice a year. So yeah, Julie got to go to Providence with me and we have a large group of folks there. But, you know, just listening to what other people are doing, sometimes you get inspiration or sometimes you just say, gosh, that's such a great program, like, you know, for me, I should do something just like that. And, you know, we share with each other, I mean. I think that's a form of, it's a compliment when you when you copy somebody else's good work because you know we all want to do good work in the space and people are so happy to share their things just like in the URMIA community, you know somebody has a great process or great policy or procedure. You know, our folks are so good at sharing that and that, you know, comes to the association level as well. So, I think your year as President, you know, will go down in history as being-
Julie Groves: Jenny's last year.
Jenny Whittington: Super, super important. No, no, no. It’s not all about Jenny, don't be silly. You got a lot done.
Julie Groves: As we've joke, it's been the year of Jenny and Julie.
Jenny Whittington: No, it's the year of Julie, Julie, Julie and Jenny.
Julie Groves: No, no, no.
Jenny Whittington: So, beyond those things that you just mentioned, are there any other highlights?
Julie Groves: Well, I mean I don't want it to sound hokey, but it is really an honor to represent URMIA in all these places. You know, I've spoke at NACUBO. I went to the College Business Management institute and did a session there. You know, we were, as we just talked about, we were at CHEMA and I got to also go to Gamma Iota Sigma last fall. I mean, it's just really, it's an honor to be representing our association because, like I said, people do think very highly of us. And so that's always nice. I will say, when we were at NACUBO, we got the chance to go to Disney for the day, Magic Kingdom and that was always fun. I mean, I will say traveling on Julie and Jenny's big adventure was a lot fun. We had a great time and you and I had weekly meetings, which was always fun and I'm kind of missing that now that we haven't been having those so.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah, well, it did go by. It went by fast, and we did have that great time at Disney. And you know, we had to have that. Board dinner at the Hoopty Doo show. That was.
Julie Groves: Oh yes. Oh, well, that's true. We got two trips to Disney actually out of that.
Jenny Whittington: And I got to go to Disneyland. So, it was a bonus this year.
Julie Groves: Yes, we did. It was a bonus for you.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah, well, it was no surprise to me that you were a great president because you have such a nice way about getting things done. And nice way with people in general. So, your leadership style you know is unique in the way that you get things done by you know gaining consensus and you're well liked and appreciated by people and you know being a volunteer leader is a commitment and I mean. You know, not only do we do all but travel together, which I know you know can be grueling sometimes. I mean, it seems all glamorous until your plane gets cancelled and then you're stuck somewhere you don't want to be in and you are tired, so I certainly really appreciate you, the personal time and I do miss our meetings. But you know what we did is we extended the one-on-one meeting, so now me and Julie and Craig McAllister and Sandy Mitchell are meeting almost weekly. We just didn't do it this week because I'm at this conference in Las Vegas, where we're trying to find URMIA future conference locations.
Julie Groves: Yes, I think we should call those meetings the Illuminati.
Jenny Whittington: Maybe I should leave with that today at the meetings. Maybe I'll get some attention.
Julie Groves: Yeah, yeah, yes.
Jenny Whittington: What’s that risk manager Lady talking about.
Julie Groves: That's right. That's right.
Jenny Whittington: So yeah, we had dinner last night with anybody listening who came to our San Diego conference. The sales guy from our conference there in 2006. His name is Logan, and he took us to dinner last night and they would really love to see us back at that Manchester Hyatt and that was a beautiful property and we just had that little rain when we went to that aircraft carrier. But beyond that, we had that beautiful opening reception on the pool deck. Remember that.
Julie Groves: And wasn't that like the first day of rain they've gotten I like, I don't know, seven years or something I mean.
Jenny Whittington: It was. Just they were celebrating and we were like, no.
Julie Groves: It did, pardon the pun, put a damper, but on our aircraft carrie event, but that was still fun. So.
Jenny Whittington: That was awesome. So were there any surprises?
Julie Groves: Well, I do think the amount of travel was surprising, but yet I enjoyed it, right. So I mean, you know, it's not necessarily a negative surprise. I will say my favorite surprise of the whole year was I had a great president's reception in Baltimore right before the conference opened, the conference committee very kindly got me while what I referred to as my date, they got me Edgar Allan Poe. It could have been him. I don't know. I mean.
Jenny Whittington: I think it really was.
Julie Groves: He was acting like he was the Edgar Allan Poe, but he was a very convincing Edgar Allan Poe reenactor I guess is what you would call him. So that was fun. We had quite a long conversation about his life, and I assured him that he was really well known and respected and his death. And he was surprised by that. But yeah, so that was. But that was very cool. I enjoyed that. I enjoyed that president’s reception. I got to come up with, I had two signature cocktails. Or as Michelle called them poe-tails. So that was very fun.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah, but he was a great addition. And then we had some others at the opening reception who has a flag lady?
Julie Groves: Betsy Ross! Flag lady? Harriet Tubman.
Jenny Whittington: We're supposed to have a football player, but he got sick, or he had a conflict at the end, but they were really popular. People really liked.
Julie Groves: We had that guy that's a director whose name I can't.
Jenny Whittington: Oh yeah, and I didn't talk to the actors that night. There was so much going on with the dueling pianos and-
Julie Groves: There was. And all the food.
Jenny Whittington: The birthday wishes and-
Julie Groves: Yes, it was. It was. It was.
Jenny Whittington: A game, remember, Sandy was doing her URMIA Family Feud with Susan Wrinn.
Julie Groves: Yes, there was a lot going on.
Jenny Whittington: Jam packed with activities.
Julie Groves: It was. It was.
Jenny Whittington: So, what's next? Julie Groves, what's next on your radar?
Julie Groves: Well, I am now the immediate past President, which I'll be in for the next year. So, I'm still part of the executive committee. We have some travel coming up for that and some regular meetings. And I'm also the immediate past president, always chairs the Leadership Development Committee and that's the committee that works on identifying president-elect and board candidates for the next election, so we'll get that committee underway soon, so be on the lookout for more information about that in the coming months. And of course, since you're still retiring, I'm still chairing the search committee to find your successor, so we've had quite a few great applicants and we're in the midst of our first round of virtual interviews with the candidates, and we plan to have the final round of interviews in person. In mid-November, when we are in beautiful Bloomington, IN. And so, we will be naming a new executive director shortly thereafter. And I guess, I mean, I'll just return to my day job. You know, I mean I know, yeah.
Jenny Whittington: Oh man.
Julie Groves: That’s what's up next for me.
Jenny Whittington: That's so cool. Well, we're, you know, counting the days until you come visit us in Bloomington. It's always fun to have the executive committee and new board members come into town to see, you know, the URMIA office. Like where the magic happens there. And, yeah, it's always great to have you guys in town and show you Bloomington, and we usually get to have a nice meal or two, so.
Julie Groves: And we're staying at the University this year.
Jenny Whittington: Yes, the Indiana Memorial Union has a hotel, and I know you like spooky things. So, I think there are parts of the Union that might be haunted.
Julie Groves: Ohh, well. OK then we'll have to find out more about that when we're there. Very cool.
Jenny Whittington: Yeah, have to figure them out both. Julie, thank you so, so, so much for being a great president. And in my last year, and it'll be fun to see what Craig-
Julie Groves: Well, it was my pleasure and honor.
Jenny Whittington: has in store for the organization and Sandy too.
Julie Groves: He’s gonna do a great job.
Jenny Whittington: She's going to hit the ground running. She and I have some time set aside to talk about her presidency, which is always good when a future leader is thinking about it so far in advance. I love that. Well, thank you for making time to be on URMIA Matters today.
Julie Groves: He's going to do a. Great job. Don't kick me off as host now that I'm not president anymore.
Jenny Whittington: Ohh no, you're like you know a regular host we probably just need, yeah, to make it regular.
Julie Groves: I don't want to. I don't want to lose that gig because it's-
Jenny Whittington: Of course not. It is a good gig.
Julie Groves: It's a pretty good, it's a good gig.
Jenny Whittington: Well, take good care, and everybody out there in the URMIA Matters listening world. Thank you for tuning in this time and that will be a wrap on URMIA Matters.