April 28, 2021
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Jessica Mechtley

Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS), the student professional organization for the Risk, Insurance and Health Management (RIHM) major at the Fox School of Business, has had to innovate over the past year. Similar to most in-person meetings, conferences and events, the student professional organization (SPO) had to transition its H. Wayne Snider Distinguished Lecture Series to the virtual world. 

However, this transition is not a barrier to good educational programming. Due to the interconnected nature of the internet, GIS has pulled in some of the biggest names in the industry to bring their varying stories and expertise to the ears of aspiring professionals. Over 400-plus attend these sessions, which has led to GIS having to purchase additional Zoom capacity.

Recently, risk manager of the U.S. Olympics & Paralympic Committee Jessica Mechtly spoke at the panel.

“A lot of our speakers are insurance-based, so having someone from a place such as the Olympics is great for our students to learn about unique industries,” GIS President Finian O’Brien says.

Mechtly discussed her role in shaping both the Olympic Committee’s preparations and response to issues that arise within the community, such as paraathelte and insurance risk. 

In 2016, American Olympic swimmer Ryan Locthe was accused of vandalizing a bathroom in Brazil during the Rio Olympics. Mechtly had to work with staff members in event facilities and the people in USA Swimming to find out what happened. She was part of the team that managed the social media messaging.

“Our career is all about putting out fires before they start,” O’Brien says. “One thing that stuck out was her ability to view a situation for how it was. In 2018, the Olympic Games were really spread out across Russia. Mechtly had to determine how to handle medical care for snowboard incidents, for example, compared to other sports happening further away.”

The speaker series has heard from other unique professionals such as the vice president of the Walt Disney Company, Steve Wilder. He explained factoids such as Disney World’s building codes being much stronger than the rest of Florida’s to withstand up to category four hurricane winds.

“You can’t change situations, you can only change how you react,” O’Brien says.
For more information about the H. Wayne Snider Distinguished Lecture Series, visit GIS site.

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