This year seems to be flying by, especially compared to the last two years which seemed to crawl along. We are just weeks from our Lighthouse conference in Westlake Village, California at the amazing Westlake Village Inn. The agenda is set, our speakers are lined up, and we are tackling some of the most pressing topics facing the retail and restaurant risk management community. We have some fun planned along the way, so please register on our website now; there is limited capacity at this event.
Our planning for the annual conference, set for March 1-3, 2023 in Charleston, is also quickly coming together. We are anticipating record attendance, and like Lighthouse, our committees are loading the agenda with challenging topics that are unique to our industry and that you will not find at any other conference. If you have not been to Charleston, it is a quaint town with a charm that is not replicated anywhere else I have visited. Our golf tournament March 1, will be taken to the next level of execution, so bring your clubs with you and start planning now.
From my desk as a Risk Manager, Covid seems to finally be in the rear-view mirror, although I have said this before and been proven wrong. When people ask me “what keeps me up at night” I focus on how the pandemic has changed so many people. There seems to be a lack of engagement and commitment to so many things and an overall “burn out” across the nation.
As a result, my goals are not to take my claim strategies to pre-pandemic levels, but to embrace the new challenges we now face, and build our programs with the unique environment we have in front of us. How we engage with injured employees and guests who have had a less than desirable experience while visiting with us must change. Although I don’t have all the answers, my strategy is to pivot toward what is needed to reduce frictional expense in our claims administration, do the right thing for each claimant, and build teams of litigation professionals when we are unable to resolve matters amicably. At no other time is NRRDA’s network of members more valuable to the risk management community than it is today. Our referral process continues to bring the best in the business to our membership base, and there is still significant membership growth ahead of us.
Thank you for continuing to support NRRDA, the future is exciting and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with you all in Westlake Village, CA and Charleston, SC.
Conferences, Scholarships and Sponsorships
2022 Lighthouse Seminar
There is still room to attend the 2022 Ligthouse Seminar set for November 8 at the Westlake Village Inn in Westlake, California. This seminar entitled, "The Great Attrition: Getting Workers Off the Sidelines & Retaining Your Talent", is advanced content that focuses on what matters most to our members and ensures an intimate and interactive learning experience. Click on the button below to review the agenda. If you are interested in sponsorsing the welcome reception please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
2023 Annual Conference - Hospitality, Resilience and Innovation in Litigation & Risk Managment, with Southern Charm
Mark your calendar for March 1-3, 2023 at the Charleston Marriott in Charleston, South Carolina. NRRDA's first meeting in South Carolina promises to deliver the exceptional, in-depth educational experience NRRDA is known for. Plus all the fun and networking, too!
Annual Conference Testimonials
"The NRRDA conference is the best in the industry! The focus on our industry members with a no marketing policy is critical to our success."
"As an industry member, NRRDA Conferences are important to me, first and foremost, because of the people. There is a commitment to excellence inherent in the conference that few other
organizations have. The content of each conference is carefully thought out so it is fresh and new."
Industry scholarships to attend the 2023 conference
This is the 7th conference in which NRRDA has offered scholarships to industry members worth free registration and up to $750 in travel and hotel reimbursements. NRRDA has never turned away a scholarship applicant.
"While our company does not have the budget to send its representatives to conferences across the country, our legal team values the NRRDA conference and believes it provides its team
members with extremely valuable information, introductions to wonderful industry people and firms that can be great partners for us!"
- In-house Counsel, National Restaurant Organization
"A fellow member approached me to serve as a panelist at this conference but my department didn't have the budget to send me. The NRRDA scholarshiop allowed me to participate on the panel, meet with my peers and network with all members."
- Claims Manager, National Retail Organization
Industry Spotlight - Monica Patterson
I had the pleasure of meeting Monica Patterson, newcomer to NRRDA, at our annual conference in San Antonio, Texas last March. Monica, who currently lives in Chesapeake, Virginia, graduated from Duke University in 1996 and then went on to earn her JD at Vanderbilt University in 1999. She began her legal career as an attorney at a mid-sized North Carolina law firm. When that firm unexpectedly broke up, she landed a position as an associate at Hawkins, Parnell, Thackston & Young, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia, which brought her nearer to her family in her home state of Alabama. Monica spent six years honing her general liability litigation skills at Hawkins, Parnell, and then, on the advice of a former colleague, Rose Miller, she transitioned to the industry side of things and accepted a position as corporate counsel at The Home Depot USA, Inc. In that position, Monica oversaw the subpoena and discovery process for both general liability and workers’ compensation. In 2009, her responsibilities shifted to litigation management.
Dollar Tree contacted Monica in 2018 and offered her a new and exciting opportunity as Director of Litigated Liability Claims. In this capacity, Monica handled general liability customer claims and litigation for the entire country and Canada. This position, which is part of the finance group, offered Monica the opportunity to segue with other teams and to partner with different business units, such as asset protection, the legal group and associate relations/HR. It has also afforded her the opportunity to interact with brokers and Dollar Tree’s TPA, who as luck would have it, was also the TPA for Home Depot. Monica found it exciting to see how information flowed from the corporate level to the store level, and speaks highly of the district managers whom she called "rock stars".
In May of this year, Monica moved to Lowe’s Companies, Inc. as Sr. Director, Claims Management. In addition to the professional opportunity, Monica was attracted to Lowe’s because of the diversity that she saw at the higher levels of the corporation.
I asked Monica what was the best advice that she ever received. She mentioned Anita Wallace-Thomas, her mentor and friend from Hawkins, Parnell. Monica credits Anita with giving her various opportunities at the law firm, such as depositions and court appearances, and always encouraging Monica to ask questions.
On the personal side, Monica is a dog lover. Her beloved Yorkie of 15 years has recently passed away, but she thinks that she might be ready to get another. She is involved in the Junior League, is close to her family and has three nephews whom she adores. Monica also loves to tend to her flower garden. Post-COVID, she would like to travel to South America, South Africa, and wants to return to Morocco. Her guilty pleasure is “murder TV” and podcasts, and especially a podcast that comes out of Georgia called The Fall Line.
Monica is looking forward to becoming an active member of NRRDA and there’s no doubt she will be an asset to our organization!
On Covid, Chocolate, and Presumptions: California’s Perfect Storm for COVID19 Liability
In March of 2020, California experienced one of those “black swan events” that seemed to change everything. Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order, via Executive Order N-33-20, requiring the closure of various businesses and gathering places unless they were deemed “essential.”
Read more here.
Navigating Claim Subrogation in Your Self-Insured Retention