ON THE JOB
R &I : What was your first job?
One of my first jobs was actually at a local insurance agency when I was a high
school student, before I had any idea I was going to get into insurance. After
college, I was a claims analyst at Sunbeam.
R&I : How did you come to work in risk management?
I fell into it after college, where I studied international business. I had a stack
of resumes, and Sunbeam came to Florida from Rhode Island, so I applied. I
interviewed with the director of risk management and just stuck with it and
worked my way up.
R&I : What is the risk management community
Getting a holistic view of risk. Risk managers
are understanding how to get all stakeholders
together, so we understand how each risk is
aligned. In my view, that’s the only way to
properly protect and serve our organizations.
R&I : What could the risk management
community do better?
We’ve come a long way, but we still have to
continue breaking down silos at organizations.
You also have to make sure you really
understand your business model and your
story so you can communicate that effectively
to your broker or carrier. Without full
understanding of your business, you can’t assess
R&I : What was the best location and year for the RIMS conference and why?
Being on the East Coast, I like Philadelphia.
R&I : What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance
industry since you’ve been in it?
Organizations understanding their cyber risk exposures and how this line of
insurance can best protect them. Five to ten years ago, people shrugged it off
as something just for technologies companies. But you can really see the trend
ticking up as a must-have. It was always something that was needed, but people
came to their own defining moments as we got more involved in electronic
content and social media globally. Cyber risk is inherent in the way we do
R&I : What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?
The advent of security and contractual obligations. These are concerns as we all
play a part in this big web of a global economy. There’s that downstream effect —
who’s going to be best insulated at the end of the day should something transpire,
and did we set the right expectations?
R&I : Is the contingent commission controversy overblown?
I think so. At the end of the day, it’s all about the transparency you’re getting
from the people you work with. I think some best practices in transparency came
out of the situation, but we were working on a fee basis, so it wasn’t as much of
an issue for us as it may have been for other companies.
R&I : Are you optimistic about the U.S. economy or pessimistic and why?
I’m cautiously optimistic. We seem to be stable in terms of growth, and I’m
hoping that the efficiencies and the economies of scale we achieve through
technology will benefit us. But I’m also worried about the impact that could have
on the number of jobs globally.
R&I : Who is your mentor and why?
Robert O’Connor, my former director when I was first on-boarded at Sunbeam,
gave me so many valuable tidbits. I’ll call him to this day if I have an idea I want
to bounce off him. He’s a good source of comfort and guidance.
R&I : Of what accomplishment are you most
I have two very empathetic, healthy and
happy boys. Eleven and soon-to-be 14.
On the professional side, there were a lot
of moments during my career at Citrix where
we were running a very lean organization, so
I had the opportunity to get involved in many
different projects that I probably wouldn’t
have had in other larger organizations.
R&I : What is your favorite book or movie?
My favorite movie is Raiders of the Lost Ark.
R&I : What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever
A place in Santa Barbara called Bouchon.
R&I : What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?
Caverns in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. They were interesting. It was cool to see these
stalagmites and stalactites that have been growing for millions of years, and then
just above ground there are homes from the 1950s.
R&I : What is the riskiest activity in which you’ve ever engaged?
Riding on the back of my husband’s Harley.
R&I : What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?
I like educating people and helping them find their ‘aha’ moment when you
highlight areas of risk they may not have thought about. It allows people to
broaden their horizons a little bit when we talk about risk and try to explore it
from a different angle. I try not to be the person who always says “No” because
it’s too risky, but find solutions that everyone is comfortable with given a risk
R&I : What do your friends and family think you do?
I tell my kids I protect people and property and sometimes the things you can’t
feel or touch.
“We have to bring people to common ground and reinforce that
we’re all working toward common goals and objectives.”
As risk manager for a cloud computing and software
company, Laurie LeLack knows that the interconnected
economy and cyber security remain top risks.
Senior Director, Corporate
Risk and Americas Real Estate
Organization: Citrix Systems, Inc.
Years in Risk Management: 26
Previous Position: Director of
Corporate Risk Management
Place of Birth: Granite City, Illinois
Alma Mater: Florida Atlantic
Degrees and Certifications:
B.A., International Business; Member, RIMS, TIRF