Love My Way – Resources for Risk-taking

By Melanie Lockwood Herman

“You can never win or lose. If you don’t run the race.” – Love My Way by The Psychedelic Furs

Driving my home on Valentine’s Day my radio was tuned to 1st Wave on Sirius/XM and a special program featuring love songs from the 1980s. First up was one of my favorites, “Love My Way” from the 80’s band, The Psychedelic Furs. The lyrics reminded me of why human beings risk everything-in relationships, in business, and in serving the nonprofits whose missions touch their hearts. Risk-taking is essential to advancing any nonprofit’s ambitious mission.

If your leadership team is tentative when it comes to risk, inject your mission with risk awareness and energy by asking:

  • What big risks will we take this year to advance our mission?
  • How is our risk landscape likely to change this year?
  • Whose perspective is missing on our risk management team?
  • What are the gaps between our exposures and our capabilities, and what can we do to close those gaps?

With equal measures of focus and love, you can evolve the risk management capabilities at your nonprofit to new heights. Invite colleagues to sign up for the RISK eNews to receive weekly risk insights and inspiration. Mark your calendar and plan to attend at least one intensive risk learning opportunity during 2017. And add a risk briefing featuring a custom risk dashboard to the agenda of at least one board meeting taking place this year.

The topic of love also reminds me of Philadelphia – the location of our 2017 Risk Summit. The City of Brotherly Love’s best-known landmark is arguably Robert Indiana’s ‘LOVE’ sculpture, which was installed in John F. Kennedy Plaza in 1976. The piece has been temporarily relocated to Dilworth park, while it’s permanent home undergoes a facelift.

As we look ahead to our gathering this Fall, we’re feeling a lot of love about these resources related to risk:

  • The participants in our inaugural Risk Leadership Certificate Program. RLCP candidates will meet at our Virginia headquarters during March-April, and then reconvene in September at the Risk Summit as faculty members and mentors to aspiring Risk Champions from across the sector. Meet our first class here. These accomplished leaders will come together to elevate their risk leadership skills and abilities. They will return to their organizations empowered and inspired to lead and serve as confident Risk Champions. Stayed tuned for news of their progress; we will feature RLCP updates at in the weeks ahead.
  • Our new Risk Benchmarking App – More than 160 sector leaders checked out the app webpage when it was announced last week. It takes less than a minute to answer each of the benchmarking questions. That means you can see how your nonprofit compares in 5 areas in less than 5 minutes! Take five to benchmark your nonprofit’s risk function.
  • AHT Insurance, a first-time Corporate Sponsor of the 2017 Risk Summit and our neighbor in Leesburg, VA. Learn more about this top 100 broker in our press release announcing AHT’s support. We are deeply grateful for AHT’s commitment to serving nonprofits, from schools to associations and NGOs. Several Center clients are also satisfied AHT clients.
  • “Portrait of a Risk-Taker: An Artist’s Risk Management Journey,” our inspiring 2017 Risk Summit keynote presentation, featuring Jeremy Sutton. Sutton, a San Francisco-based artist originally from London, specializes in digital painting and explores the intersection of art and risk-taking by combining the spontaneity, power and versatility of digital art tools with the beauty, quality and texture of traditional media. Experience firsthand Jeremy’s risk-fraught, creative journey as he paints an original digital masterpiece while illustrating the surprising connections between traditional and digital art and the discipline of risk management. Inject inspiration into your Risk Summit experience and your risk management philosophies by opening your mind to risk-taking via creative process.

To help you spread the love in your own workplace, I’ve asked my NRMC staff members to share something they each love about our workplace culture. If one of these tips resonates with you, then try it out with your team.

Kay Nakamura, Director of Client Solutions

I love our Affiliate Membership structure. We encourage our Affiliate Members to share the “love” (Affiliate benefits) with their own chapters, agencies, policyholders, and team members. We treat all Affiliate Members the same, whether the organization is a primary Affiliate Member (such as a national nonprofit or umbrella organization), or an Affiliate Member through sharing the benefits of an umbrella organization. Affiliate Members should check out the Affiliate Member Dashboard on our new website; this is the place where you can access all your benefits. Existing Affiliate Members can login or create an account, and new folks can gain access by joining our Affiliate Member family today.

Eric Henkel, Project Manager

I really love the spirit of collaboration that’s present here at NRMC. There is an explicit expectation that staff work together and have overlapping responsibilities for our various projects. I think this encourages considering different perspectives and facilitates intellectual growth on my part. This is also good from a risk management perspective because you know that you have a backup to your work! In addition, the informal culture in the office also promotes collaboration and engagement and that makes NRMC an enjoyable place to work.

Erin Gloeckner, Director of Consulting Services

I love the Center’s relatively new approach to strategic planning and budgeting, which involves both our Board team and our full staff team. NRMC’s commitment to transparency and succession planning led us to take this approach, and now our staff team feels a greater sense of ownership and investment in our long-term goals. My own job is even more satisfying now that I take a systems-based approach to my work within the context of NRMC, rather than only focusing on projects and short-term outputs within our consulting practice. In the end, this approach should drive greater synergy across NRMC projects and resources so we can better serve the nonprofit sector.

Though The Psychedelic Furs said, “It’s a new road… follow where your mind goes,” I think our team will continue paving the Center’s future by leading first with our hearts. Perhaps the only traits more remarkable than the nonprofit sector’s teeming talent are the compassion and love of service that abound within our community.

Melanie Lockwood Herman is executive director of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center. She welcomes your questions about NRMC services and resources, and your stories of workplace love and compassion at or 703.777.3504.