As we get ready to celebrate URMIA’s 50th anniversary in Boston this September, we are also celebrating the major milestones and accomplishments we’ve made as an association over the last 25 years. What events have shaped who we are as an association? How have our members been impacted by the changes we’ve seen in the profession? Over the summer, we explore each of the seven milestones that have shaped our past and positioned us for a strong future.
Milestone #2: Strengthening Our Members’ Voices
Members vote for URMIA leadership
Each year, URMIA’s primary members participate in elections for the association’s leadership. But did you know it wasn’t always like that? Previously, URMIA leaders were appointed into their position. That all changed in the mid-1990s under URMIA President Gregory Clayton. Association leadership strengthened the voices of our members by moving to an election cycle rather than appointment of board members and leaders. Not only did this mean anyone in the association could run for a leadership position, it also created greater investment in the election process and involvement of our primary members. Annual elections are still a defining piece of how the association is managed.
Member-to-member communication grows
In the 1960s, higher education risk managers recognized a need to communicate with each other and share solutions. URMIA and the first annual conference in 1969 evolved from this need. To this day, the hallmarks of URMIA include our members’ camaraderie and member-to-member knowledge and solution sharing. But how could members share knowledge, problems and solutions in between the conferences?
In 1997, Larry Stephens, Indiana University, built off of the successes of URMIA’s first email listserv, creating an improved system that allowed members to communicate directly and immediately. This 24/7 access to colleagues from around the globe became a great benefit of URMIA membership. As technology advanced, so too did our methods of member-to-member communication. By 2011, the URMIAnetwork was launched, creating what would become an active online discussion forum and resource center. Today, the URMIAnetwork serves as a searchable, real-time discussion tool and is part of a seamless online member experience, including membership information, professional development opportunities, resources, insurance options and access to URMIA’s leadership.
“Our first board and committee in-person strategic planning was overseen by Glenn Klinksiek, University of Chicago. We all learned to spell camaraderie as that was considered one of URMIA’s core values for the open sharing network that was and is at the heart of our volunteer organization. This was before all the electronics with autospell, and we whipped out a dictionary to confirm. That word was such an apt description that today it is still in our core values.”
— Christine Eick, Executive Director of Risk Management and Safety (retired), Auburn University, and Education Manager, URMIA
For a more in-depth understanding of URMIA's milestones, read URMIA's Historic Compendium: The Second 25 Years.