At the FERMA Forum in 2013 when I had the honour to accept the position of President of FERMA, I gave a commitment to invest some of my time and energy into developing and driving forward a FERMA “diversity agenda” and as part of this, gender diversity.
The FERMA board has now agreed a project with the objective to build and promote a FERMA diversity strategy, that is rich in value, but light on administration. Although we are focussing initially on gender, a number of the components of the project can equally apply to diversity more generally.
Some of the elements are as simple as preparing and promoting a FERMA position statement on diversity. We will also look closely at the diversity of our event speakers; we think we can do better. Others involve building simple resources for others to use to promote networking and mentoring as well as participating in events that encourage women in the profession.
FERMA is a recognised leader in the promotion of the risk management profession and is committed to helping develop relevant intellectual capital. This leadership position presents an opportunity for us to support a more diverse membership. Personally, I have had the good fortune, as have other FERMA board members, to enjoy a career in an inspiring profession. However, as I am sure for others, the career journey has not been without its challenges.
At times progressing in our profession has involved a battle to break through barriers, some of which have been erected because of my gender. I want to use the privileged position I now have to make a pledge on behalf of FERMA to the new generation of risk managers to help improve the gender balance in our profession, by suggesting actions we might take directed at helping to making the journey along the risk management career path, a path based on knowledge and talent – not gender.
Is there really a need? From the exchanges I’ve had since the Forum in Maastricht, the answer is a resounding “yes”. I have been humbled by the number of people who have approached me on this subject – men and women – supporting the development of a FERMA gender strategy. The support has come from risk managers, our member associations, and our partner insurers and brokers.
My fellow board members Helle Friberg and Michel Dennery are acting as the FERMA board project sponsors to create a “Leadership and Diversity in Europe” response with an advisory team to help scope the content and define the priorities of the response for the FERMA board to agree. We hope other members of the risk management community, men and women, will join us. If you are interested, please contact me via the FERMA office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to the associations who have welcomed me. I have had the privilege to attend the AMRAE conference in Deauville, the Sl.Risk/ANRA event in Ljubljana, the SWERMA conference in Stockholm, the AIRMIC Annual lecture and the IRM Annual Awards dinner in London and the BDM Transport event in Antwerp. The next few months see me and our Vice Presidents visiting other countries including Belgium, Malta, Spain and the Czech Republic. I have attended the events of our FERMA insurer, broker and service partners and met with a number of their senior leadership, as well as colleagues from the audit, loss adjusting and business continuity professions. It has been a busy and a fulfilling time flying the “FERMA flag”.