A WRIEC Q&A with Tyler Leverty: How to Make the Best of a Virtual Meeting

What will you miss the most about attending the WRIEC event in person?

I’ll miss interacting with all of my Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) colleagues and fellow ARIA members. Since most of us only get to see each other once a year, we really look forward to these meetings to have a personal touchpoint and an opportunity to connect beyond our normal email and Zoom calls. That time together helps us foster a more collaborative culture year-round. In addition, we have many ARIA members who may be the only RMI faculty in a school, so they really value the social aspect of the annual meeting to connect and discuss with fellow RMI faculty.

What are some tips for how everyone can get prepared ahead of the virtual WRIEC?

Even though nothing beats a physical event and networking with fellow members, we can try to achieve a similar experience in our online event. First, definitely make sure you have the best internet connection possible and find the perfect spot in your house where your WiFi is the strongest. The last thing anyone wants to do is deal with technology issues when they are trying to actively listen and engage with our sessions. Second, we are making every effort to have the virtual program up and running in advance of the August 2nd start of the meeting. The papers will be viewable, so I recommend that participants read the papers in advance of the video presentations.  I think this will make the video presentations more engaging, and reduce any tendency to “check out” during the video presentations. Third, to allow participants to meet and discuss their research, WRIEC will be hosting zoom sessions for each research session topic. If participants read the papers and prepare discussion points in advance, these virtual research meeting will be more engaging and beneficial.

How can everyone stay engaged during the WRIEC event?

I think it is crucial to remember that engagement for an event like this is a two-way street. Usually with virtual events, there are far too many cases where attendees are only watching videos. Attendees should be actively participating in the conversation the same way they would during a physical event, not just watching. I encourage participants to connect with the authors and provide them constructive comments and feedback on their research. Also, participants should not try to re-create the experience of the in-person meeting by watching 30 research presentations every day for 3-4 days in row. Take breaks and take your time. The research videos will be available to registrants for at least one month.  Lastly, I would encourage everyone to log-out of their email and avoid trying to multi-task while watching the presentations.

While WRIEC will be a bit different this year, I look forward to making the best of it and fostering great discussions with my ARIA colleagues.