In many ways this year’s Risk Institute Annual Conference hosted by the Fisher College of Business was both the best in recent years and certainly the most unique. The global COVID-19 pandemic challenged the traditional format for the conference and questioned its ability to be delivered. However, within these challenges, the Risk Institute found the opportunities to deliver what may have been the best conference in recent memory.
Both speakers and attendees were provided new opportunities to engage with the Institute and the conference. With the support of video conferencing and Zoom, the conference was able to attract speakers and attendees from across the globe. The value of this global diversity was on full display throughout the conference with many of the speakers being from outside of the immediate Columbus, Ohio region and many from international backgrounds.
This increased global flavor was a key aspect given the conference’s theme of Geopolitical Risk. Not surprisingly, the growing risk posed by China to both the US and its Allies was at the forefront of many of the conversations during the conference. However, this risk shared the stage during Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones’ discussion with the new risks posed by fraying western alliances. During Baroness Neville-Jones’ discussion of the US and its recently contentious relationship with western allies took center stage. Baroness Neville-Jones provided analysis and advice based on her more than 50 years of experience in international relations and security. Many attendees, including myself, were delighted to hear her share support for western alliances and the value they have in managing global risks effectively. Baroness Neville-Jones also provided the attendees cautious warnings about the increasing global risk of cyber-terrorism and cyber-warfare.
As our conference continued, we dove further into the global risk facing all of us as global citizens, not just as citizens of our respective nations. Our sessions also began to welcome more corporate practitioners. This was notably valuable to me as a graduate student to hear the practices of successful companies and how they address the topics we discuss so thoroughly in the classroom and corridors of the Fisher College.
The Risk Institute’s 2020 Annual Conference was unlike one we have ever seen. The national and global environment under which the conference took place can only be described as challenging. Despite our distance in the time of COVID, we are more connected than ever before and more reliant on each other to manage the risk we all face. This conference allowed us to reflect, expand our knowledge, and propel ourselves forward into our professional passions.
Written by Trevor Stohr, in association with The Risk Institute