Debra Rodgers: Debra Rodgers originally went to college to become a teacher, and after graduation, it was a profession in which she worked for four years. But a lack of job security made her rethink her career path, so she left her Delaware teaching job in 1981 and took a job as legal assistant for a local law firm. This, she said, quickly became another 'dead-end job'.

Author:Holbrook, Emily
 
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Wanting more, Rodgers went back to school to earn her MBA, working in the legal department of CertainTeed Corporation, a Pennsylvania-based building materials manufacturer, while doing so. It was here Rodgers got her first taste of the world of risk management, working closely with the company's risk manager on litigation matters. Eventually, she was recruited to work in the risk management department of Saint-Gobain Corporation, CertainTeed's parent company.

"I knew that's where I wanted to be--even back in 1988," Rodgers said. "And I've been in the risk management profession ever since."

It is her 30 years of success in the industry that earned her this year's Harry and Dorothy Goodell Award, the most prestigious award the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS) bestows upon an individual in the industry. The award, named after Harry Goodell, the first president of RIMS, recognizes a person who is furthering the goals of risk management and RIMS through outstanding lifetime achievement.

A LIFE OF RISK MANAGEMENT

At Saint-Gobain, Rodgers managed a nine-member department for the North American operations of French-based Saint-Gobain. Her length of service--from 1988 to 2003--saw her responsibilities increase and position advance, from casualty insurance manager to director of risk management.

As a director, Rodgers was responsible for procuring all insurance and brokerage services, evaluating alternative risk financing options, managing insured claims and insurance run-off related to historical asbestos claims, performing risk management due diligence, and administering all self-insurance programs. During her tenure, she also established and managed a Vermont-based captive insurance company.

In 2003, Rodgers took on the role of vice president of risk management for Aramark Corporation, a Philadelphia-based provider of uniforms and food services to large venues and establishments around the world. She was hired into the company's Executive Leadership Council to lead a nine-person team primarily responsible for risk financing. In 2004, she led a multi-function, multi-level organizational initiative to address the rapidly increasing cost of risk. She identified opportunities to improve the safety function, develop and deploy analytics, and centralize claims. Post-initiative, Rodgers formed a holistic risk management team comprised of safety, risk analytics, insurance procurement and insured claims management initially focused on the...

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