By Louise Schlesinger, Communications and Community Coordinator, URMIA.
Glenn Klinksiek has been a leader in higher education risk management and involved with URMIA for 30 years. His retirement as URMIA's education manager will take place during the 2018 Annual Conference, which makes this a perfect moment to acknowledge the scope of what he has contributed to the profession and to this association.
Like many others, Glenn spent the first part of his career in the private sector and in government acquiring experience in different facets of the insurance industry. It was in the 1980s while working for Public Service Indiana, Atcor Inc. (acquired by Tyco Laboratories Inc. in 1987) and the consulting firm Warren, McVeigh & Griffin, Inc. that the focus of his work shifted from underwriting to risk management.
In 1988, he was tapped to become the University of Chicago's director of risk management, a position that evolved into assistant vice president for risk management and audit before his retirement from the university more than two decades later in 2012. "The great challenge I faced was developing effective, coordinated risk management, audit and compliance programs," he remembers. "Consolidated programs then were rare, so I didn't have any models to follow."
Obviously, Glenn rose to the challenge and even created some of those models. One of Glenn's protégés, Luke Figora, URMIA's president-elect, worked with Glenn at the University of Chicago and considers him one of his key mentors. According to Luke, "It was impressive to see just how deeply our internal leaders relied on his judgment and opinions before making decisions about risk. He built a foundation."
Glenn's involvement with URMIA dates to shortly after he started working for the University of Chicago. As his friend Larry Stephens of Indiana University recalls, "I first met Glenn at MURMIA, the Midwest URMIA group. It was obvious that Glenn was a very intelligent and dedicated member of the group from the beginning. It took a little longer to figure out his sense of humor."
In fact, many of Glenn's friends and colleagues mention his wry sense of humor. Perhaps that quality is one of the keys to his success — along with what another friend, Leta Finch of Aon, notes are Glenn's "professional insights and alternative ways of looking at challenging situations to bring about better and more sustainable solutions."
In his volunteer capacities at URMIA, Glenn served on the board of directors from 1992-2000 and chaired the planning committees for the 1993 and 1997 annual conferences. He was president during the 1998-1999 term and was a devoted champion of strategic planning as a separate initiative from regular board business to guide the association's activities. As president, he also formed the Association Relations Committee with the purpose of coordinating efforts to link URMIA to key higher education associations, and he worked tirelessly to enhance URMIA's professional development efforts, including fostering discussion about a new technology called "bulleting boards," the precursor to today's URMIAnetwork communities and online discussion boards. Glenn was honored for his contributions to URMIA in 2000 with the Distinguished Risk Manager (DRM) award.
During the next decade, the growing responsibilities of Glenn's campus job curtailed the time he had to devote to URMIA. However, shortly after Glenn retired from the University of Chicago in 2012, he followed Pat Fowler as URMIA's part-time knowledge center content manager (now referred to as URMIA's education manager) when she stepped down. He has energetically used this position to address retiree engagement, peer review and the association's education plan. According to Jenny Whittington, URMIA's executive director, "It has been a total pleasure to have Glenn on the URMIA team! Working with him is an absolute joy."
In the near future, Glenn and his wife Anne have the combined goals of achieving simplicity and discovery, all of which translates into time spent on travel, enjoying the performing arts and engaging in active learning. For the many people who, like Leta, hope "that Glenn will reappear in a post post-retirement capacity," have no fears. He intends to remain active as a resource to URMIA, and his friends can contact him by email at email@example.com.
"To look back on my career, many would see a journey that appears to have been planned, but living it was not so. Mostly it was the result of recognizing and seizing opportunities, helped by a healthy dose of good fortune," he says with characteristic modesty. "I wish to thank URMIA for the opportunity to continue to serve higher education and the risk management profession for these past five years. The involvement has only added to the richly rewarding experience that risk management has afforded me in my career. My hope for all URMIA members is that they will find the same in their professional lives while taking care to make time for all those in their lives who matter."
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