Senior Managing Director of Public Sector Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services

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Who do you regard as your eyes and ears when it comes to risk?

When I conduct risk identification workshops, two things always happens.  One surprises me and the other delights me. It is that most people don’t think that much about risk. Really? Honestly? That always surprises me.  It’s not that employees are not managing risk – they are.  We do that constantly, whether we realize it or not.  But unless they are in a work environment where it is constantly reinforced (think safety placards and steel-toed shoes), the management of risk usually isn’t a consistent, conscious choice.

It’s like driving my kids to school.  It’s 7 a.m. and we’re running late. I buckle my seat belt, start the engine and give a cursory glance in the rear view mirror before pulling out of the driveway.  I am doing all of that while simultaneously directing the off-to-school show: “Don’t forget to turn in your permission slip. Stop poking your brother!  Did you remember your gym shoes?”  I am managing the risk of driving without thinking about it, and anyone who has ever adjusted auto claims can tell you how common that is.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that for many employees, they perform their work duties like they are driving their car.  It’s automatic.  Therefore, when I ask the question about “risk in the workplace” I am often greeted with blank stares and puzzled expressions.  They just don’t think about it that much.

So if we want employees to be eyes and ears for us regarding risk, first we have to get their attention and talk about risk.  That means that we need to be ready to describe what we really mean when we say “risk.”

The ISO 31000 standard defines risk as “the effect of uncertainty upon our objectives.”  The definition tells us to start with our objectives – or what is most important to us and our organizations.  After we define risk, then we consider the uncertainties that can effect whether we can achieve our objectives (effects can be both negative and/or positive).  The ISO definition is a broad definition that pushes us to consider whether we are paying attention to the right stuff (objectives, risks, threats and opportunities).

If you have conversations about risk and help employees become more risk aware, you will begin to uncover commonalities.  That’s the part that delights me – when people from very different “turfs” (or departments) become aware that they share the same risks and, as they continue the conversation, when they also start to share their solutions.  That’s when we begin to utilize the eyes and ears of many. Those are the people I want as my eyes and ears when it comes to risk. Who serves as your eyes and ears when it comes to risk? What surprises and delights you when identifying risk across departments?


Senior Managing Director of Public Sector Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services


• 2014 Woman to Watch - Business Insurance Magazine • 2012 Recognized by Treasury & Risk as a “Top 100” Leader in Finance and Risk • 2012 Public Sector Power Broker – Risk & Insurance Magazine • 2010 Public Sector Power Broker Finalist – Risk & Insurance Magazine • 2009 Public Sector Power Broker – Risk & Insurance Magazine • More than 20 years of public sector risk management experience • Speaker, author, leader on Enterprise Risk Management in the public sector • Chair of the US Technical Advisory Group to ISO 31000:2009 and ISO 31004


As Senior Managing Director of Gallagher Public Sector, Dorothy leads 300 Gallagher insurance brokers and specialists dedicated to public sector clients across the United States, focusing on issues of risk management, exposure identification, pool operations and enterprise risk management. In addition to leading the broker group, Dorothy provides consulting and risk management services to select Gallagher public sector and higher education clients.


Prior to joining Gallagher, Dorothy was risk manager of three self-insured pools for the New Mexico Association of Counties (NMAC). She has more than 20 years experience in public sector risk management and insurance. During her tenure at NMAC, Dorothy developed loss-sensitive contribution and allocation formulas. She partnered with her insurance broker to provide new coverage programs for members, including injunctive relief, land use and special events and the Pool’s first coverage document in order to clarify coverage exclusions and conditions of insurance. In response to rising losses, she developed individualized training sessions to address sexual harassment and management issues. She led a team that brought claims in house and developed a legal advice hotline, which saved the pools hundreds of thousands of dollars in the first year alone. As a founding board member of County Reinsurance, Limited, a captive excess insurance company formed to provide reinsurance to county association pools nationwide, Dorothy served as Board Member and Treasurer. Dorothy was also a founding member and organizer of the New Mexico PRIMA Chapter, where she organized local and regional educational opportunities for school, city, county and state risk managers and safety personnel.


Dorothy served as the Chair of the US Technical Advisory Group to ISO 31000, the international standard on the practice of risk management, and its Implementation Guide, ISO 31004 from 2008-2014. Dorothy has also served on the RIMS Standards Comparison Committee and as curriculum advisor for the National Alliance. In 2003, Dorothy partnered with the risk manager of the largest community college district in the U.S. to create an award-winning integrated program that unified traditional risk management and enterprise risk management. From 2003 on, Dorothy has presented educational sessions on ERM and its application in the public sector at regional and national conferences: RIMS (regional and national), PRIMA (regional and national), URMIA (regional and national), AGRiP, STRIMA, NACUA, the IIA GRC, Infonex and for many Gallagher client groups. She is currently co-creating education and training material on implementing ERM in the public sector using ISO 31000 for PRIMA and URMIA. ERM implementation and consulting projects include the CO School Districts Self-Insurance Pool, the City-County of San Francisco, the New Mexico Association of Counties insurance pools, FL College System Risk Management Consortium, UVM, UNC Charlotte, Johnson County Community College District in KS and Maricopa County Community College District in AZ.


AGRiP – Association of Governmental Risk Pools IRM – The Institute of Risk Management ISO 31000 Standard on the Practice of Risk Management – US Technical Advisory Group ISO 31004, the Implementation Guide to ISO 31000 PRIMA – Public Risk Management Association RIMS – Risk and Insurance Management Society


Bachelor of Arts, College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, MN ARM designation, Associate in Risk Management (ARM) designation, Insurance Institute of America ARM-P, Risk Management for Public Entities designation, Insurance Institute of America CIRM, International Certificate in Risk Management, The Institute of Risk Management

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