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It's hard to see the link between a Hollywood celebrity
known for making buddy comedies and the world of risk
management, but when Ghostbusters actor Harold Ramis
-- or Egon Spengler, as he's more commonly known -- says,
'Nothing reinforce[s] a professional relationship more than
enjoying success with someone,' the link becomes clearer.
For Samantha Zimmerman, Head of Risk Services at the
Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA), professional
relationships with clients, colleagues and professional
bodies are integral to her success as a risk professional.
With a Master of Risk Management, Samantha
appreciates the value of continuous development and
education, and began her decade-long relationship with
the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and
Finance (ANZIIF) in 2004.
Heading up the insurance team as National Insurance
Manager with the Department of Defence, Samantha
undertook her insurance training with the education
provider, and, impressed with the experience, put many of
her team members through the same program.
'I first encountered ANZIIF while I was at the Department
of Defence, undertaking my insurance studies there,'
'To understand insurance, ANZIIF was the place to go for
any learning, and many of my team went through their
As relationships often do, Samantha's affiliation with
ANZIIF evolved, adapting to the shifting circumstances
of her career. Of her time at the Department of Defence,
Samantha says, 'I felt there was a way I could do more, a
way to make a positive difference to the community'.
In what has become Samantha's epiphany moment, she
made the deliberate decision to move away from managing
insurance and claims, to learning about risk management.
'My experience in insurance and claims management
led me down the path of wanting to do something that
would make a difference in terms of the prevention space,'
continues Samantha. 'It was at this point that someone
advised me to get a formal qualification in risk management
to give me credibility in the risk management profession.'
With a few risk-related short courses and workshops
under her belt, and the majority of her Master of Risk
Management completed, Samantha says that she was
fortunate to be given an opportunity to go to VMIA -- a
move that has exposed her to numerous risk management
strategies, problems and opportunities.
'The Victorian community expects its government to be
vigilant, and be prepared for risk. VMIA helps the public sector
to improve its risk management approach. We have a role
in prevention to help the state prepare for, prevent or reduce
the impact of harm. Our work supports the Victorian public
sector to deliver the government's agenda,' says Samantha.
'It is a great way to serve the community and build my skills by
helping a number of different organisations.'
Samantha is currently involved in the development and
delivery of VMIA's new five-year strategic plan. Significantly,
the plan aims to improve public sector risk management by
strengthening prevention services. This will be reflected in
VMIA's education and advisory services, particularly through
insights based on data and intelligence.
Samantha believes that VMIA's work has synergies with
ANZIIF, by focusing on better practice, thought leadership
and actively looking to improve the risk management
capability of their clients. She says that both organisations
work to help support informed decision-making, which
leads to better outcomes and performance.
As Samantha's role at VMIA has progressed, so too has her
relationship with ANZIIF. Samantha believes in the power
of shared learning and shared knowledge, and, as Deputy
Chair of ANZIIF's Risk Management Faculty Advisory Board,
Samantha has expanded her perspectives, capabilities and
'My relationship is much stronger now that I'm Head of Risk
Services,' she admits. 'As part of the Risk Management
Faculty Advisory Board, I am able to work together with peers
across a wide spectrum of industries and organisations,
including government, health services and insurers.'
In risk management, there's no one-size-fits-all approach,
as each organisation and, by extension, each risk, will
require different solutions. Samantha believes that the
insights gained from the sharing of knowledge and
experience are invaluable, and the flow-on effects from
her relationship with ANZIIF and its community are of
considerable benefit -- not only personally, but also to the
'The value of being a risk professional, and particularly so in
my job as we continually look to improve risk management
practices across government and the community, is having
a partnership and relationship outside of VMIA so we get a
broader understanding of risk management issues outside
of government,' says Samantha.
'Bringing those varied perspectives together to get
a shared understanding of the complexity of risk
management is invaluable.'
A relationship built on shared perspectives
By Edward Vukovic
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