I’m often asked how to best manage the risk and safety of a community. Like many of you across our great globe, I’d answer with one word – consensus. Consensus requires a mixture of hope, perseverance, courage, and partnership. Risk is about the ebb and flow of partnerships. Its achievement is often hard won and bittersweet, but extremely rewarding when all the planets align.
Our collective greatest resources are our people…our risk family. Let’s talk about the people that assist you in achieving your consensus. They come in all shapes and sizes with a multitude of personality. The composition of your team capitalizes on all its strengths and tries to minimize its weaknesses. Personalities manifest themselves in the idiosyncrasies of individual dress, mannerisms or speech. More often than not, we might agree that the more colorful the attire, the more colorful the personality, right? More importantly, the more colorful the partner, the more imaginative the opportunity for consensus!
Our partners in risk and safety are varied. Each of us brings our education, definition of common sense, upbringing, departmental needs and perception of reality to every risk and safety discussion we have.
Whoever said patience is a virtue missed the opportunity of being a public risk manager for a day. Many people we know may have preconceived notions about risk and the people who manage it. I often hear stories from my contemporaries who think that the public perceives us as ogres, trolls or people with a huge red marker with “NO” tattooed across our foreheads.
How many times have you been introduced by your boss to members of another division or the public and the comeback is “Why I’d never have guessed it was you who made my life miserable…I’ve always pictured you as something different.”
Safety Committees are a wonderful melting pot of reality and the opportunity for the totality of a group to be “different.” They have the capacity to offer sanctuary by embracing the richness of all of the personalities contained within the team, which results in the team coming together to achieve common goals. Embracing the acceptance of our differences and the nuances of our consensus is what makes our committee a macrocosm of the very best of who we all are.
By: Marilyn L. Rivers, CPCU, ARM, AIC
Director of Risk and Safety/Safety & Compliance Officer, City of Saratoga Springs
Summary of Qualifications
20+ years of experience in risk financing, operations and safety management
2014 - Present, President, NYPRIMA
2013 PRIMA President's Award
Strategic Chairperson/Educator PRIMA Institute PI 15 - Albuquerque, NM; PI 14 Louisville, KY; PI 13 Milwaukee, WI; and PI 12 - Charlotte, NC.
Vice Chairperson, RIMS Standards and Practices Committee - Participating in the formulation of international policy concerning risk management, January 2014. Committee member 2012 to Present.
Educator and lecturer on risk, insurance, facilities and safety management including PRIMA Podcasts.
2007 PRIMA Public Risk Manager of the Year.
As director of risk and safety, Marilyn is responsible for the city's claims management, contract administration, litigation management, safety, and compliance programs. She also contributes her expertise in fiscal oversight, compliance, administration, delivering cost reductions, policy development and management. Additionally, Marilyn serves as the chairperson of the City of Saratoga Springs' Safety Committee.
Marilyn possesses private sector experience in healthcare risk management on both local and national levels, corporate operations experience for an internet engineering dot-com, as well as 13 years of experience in the public sector. She is a regular Risk and Insurance magazine columnist.
RIMS - Risk and Insurance Management Society
The National Safety Council
PRIMA - Public Risk Management Association
PRIMA NY - Public Risk Management Association, New York Chapter
B.S. in Chemistry, Clarkson University
M.Ed., Tufts University
CPCU, Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation, American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters
AIC, Associate in Claims designation, American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters
ARM, Associate in Risk Management designation, American Institute for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters
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