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ASPA Holds Inaugural Forum on Risk Management

A panel of federal risk experts joined more than 70 attendees for ASPA’s inaugural public policy and policy management forum. A wide range of federal executives and managers, ASPA members and other stakeholders attended the May 14 event at the Renaissance Downtown DC. ASPA President Allan Rosenbaum and Executive Director Bill Shields provided opening and closing remarks.

Managing Risk in a Time of Uncertainty: What Executives and Managers Need to Know was the first in a series of convenings that ASPA has launched to inform the debate on critical public policy and policy management issues. The forums are aimed at raising ASPA’s profile as a recognized convener on key governance issues and bringing together varied audiences on a shared topic. They will take place every other month with an organizational partner. ASPA partnered with the Association for Federal Enterprise Risk Management for this first forum, sponsored by pwc.

Panelists included senior risk officers at the Department of Education, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and Federal Housing Administration; they highlighted the importance of enterprise risk management (ERM) at their agency. They shared insights on securing top leadership support to ensure success of a risk management program; addressing the evolving nature of the field which still struggles to recruit skilled individuals; and building a culture of credibility within the agency.

Thomas Stanton, co-editor of Managing Risk and Performance: A Guide for Government Decisionmakers, noted that “risk management is really good management.” It was a theme echoed by other presenters, who emphasized that a risk management department was not only responsible for pointing out potential crises but also preparing an organization for opportunities. Most important, risk management teams can help leadership understand the risks it is taking and help devise countermeasures.

Panelist presentations prompted questions from attendees who wanted to learn more. The questions focused on how risk management programs spur innovation in agencies, how to build credibility for risk management programs and why there is an absence of federal rules and regulations for the still evolving field.

ASPA will host at least five more forums in 2014. E-publications from each one will be made available through the ASPA website.

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