RIMS 2019 Annual Conference

Shenell Vines | Insurance, Volunteer

The insurance industry is complex and dynamic, made up of a wide variety of products and services that offer problem-solving solutions to clients. In this complexity lies the depth and breadth of the industry — the insuring promise.

Insurance professionals operate in volatile conditions with solution-driven mindsets. Such mindsets enable them to provide the protection their insureds need to guard themselves against the unthinkable, have peace of mind, take risks and progress. Insurance makes people and businesses whole again after suffering a loss — what an incredible purpose.

Insurance, in many ways, is the foundation of the economy; it is a force that fosters innovation by supporting the ambitions of insureds everywhere, from everyday people, to small businesses, to multinational corporations. Without insurance, people might not own property, businesses would struggle to expand, and cutting-edge innovation would not be so easily supported.

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the RIMS Annual Conference, which is the largest exhibition dedicated to risk management in the world. The event was held in Bostonand attracted over 10,000 attendees from all areas of the insurance industry, with over 70 countries represented. As a student at the conference, I was able to experience the unique culture of the insurance industry firsthand.

The conference was filled with creative exhibits from many insurance and risk management companies; these companies were eager to pitch their expertise to businesses seeking risk management and insurance solutions. Passion for the industry emanated off of these exhibits, and every professional at the event truly believed in their work. As a student, I was excited to see such a strong, entrepreneurial energy embedded within the industry’s culture.

I also couldn’t help but notice how people-driven this industry is. It’s dedicated to protecting insureds, of course, but it also has love and support for people working within the industry — especially students. Every professional at the conference was so excited to see students present and more than happy to spend time conversing about their journey, offering advice and connections. Students were invited to several industry parties, like AIG and Zurich, which gave us opportunities to network with high-level executives like AIG CEO Brian Duperreault.

We were able to participate in several forums that discussed hot topics within the industry, such as block chain and insurtech. At these forums, professionals shared their experiences and offered best practices to improve efficiency. The interconnectedness of the industry is supported by this utter willingness to help each other.

During the conference, four Saint Joseph’s University students participated in the 2019 Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge in which they identified and strategically analyzed the top five risks for Ikea. The team presented in three rounds and went on to win the competition. The competition truly showcased the talented and knowledgeable students entering the industry!

The RIMS Conference was an amazing experience, and I look forward to attending next year. Every student in attendance left RIMS proud to be entering an industry of allegiance and integrity, doing work that is pioneering and dynamic. The experience affirmed for me that the insurance industry has the best people and careers!

Written by: Kayla Cecchine

USLI’s Children Holiday Party

Nina-Simone Beaver | Lifestyle, Volunteer

Ever since I can remember, Christmas has been my favorite time of year. Spending time with family, making cookies and decorating have always made the holidays special. Receiving presents was always a highlight when I was younger, but as I’ve grown up, I have come to realize that giving is much more important than receiving. 

This year, I volunteered as an elf at the USLI Children’s Holiday Party, assisting with taking pictures of the children with Santa. There was also cookie decorating,face painting, gift giving and even a showing of the Nutcracker. Some community members brought their own kids or grandchildren, while others, including college help, volunteered their time by hosting students from USLI’s local partner schools in Philadelphia. Knowing that I helped kids who may not usually get the same holiday experience I had growing up warmed my heart. Seeing all the children interact with Santa and open their gifts made me remember why the holidays are such a special time.

I am so glad I decided to volunteer my time and give back this holiday season. Not only was it a rewarding experience, but it was one of the best ones I’ve had at USLI.

Written by: Natalie Hedegard


Nina-Simone Beaver | Business, Lifestyle, Volunteer

October – one of my favorite months of the year! Before starting at USLI, October was my favorite month because of Halloween and my birthday, but now, October holds a new meaning to me because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Three years ago, I was able to start an initiative with the Student Ambassadors called #USLIgoesPINK. #USLIgoesPINK is a series of days in October during which the College Help students wear pink to raise awareness and support of breast cancer.

This past October, fellow Student Ambassador Natasha Zachary and I were able to encourage the full-time USLI community members to participate in #USLIgoesPINK. Unlike past years, we wanted to capture the moment in a different way, so we organized a pink photo booth. During the last day of the initiative, there was a photo booth station located in the café of the Wayne office with pink props and signs available. For me, it was amazing to see people dressed in pink and coming together for a great cause. That day, photos were captured, smiles were had and the USLI community was able to raise awareness of breast cancer. It is my hope that the #USLIgoesPINK initiative grows to be bigger and better each year, and positively impacts those within and outside of the USLI community.

Written by: Nina-Simone Beaver

Playground Cleanup- A Meaningful Reward

Nina-Simone Beaver | Volunteer

Some of my earliest childhood memories include hanging out with my older brother at the park. He would chat with his friends while I played with the other kids. There were times that I stumbled across a used needle, cigarette buds, and shattered glass. My mother had always advised me never to touch such things; however, the other kids didn’t hesitate to examine them.

Being able to help with the Green Team playground cleanup for a fourth year has been and will always be a humbling experience. Upon arrival, I was greeted by fellow community members and instantly got to work. We used bags and gloves to remove the waste from the playground. Picking up someone else’s trash really opens your mind and allows you to grasp the reality that children are expected to play there.

Taking some time out of my Saturday morning was both beneficial to me, and those that live within that community, as I got a chance to give back and the kids will now have a safer place to play this school year. I noticed that people were watching us, and seemed so surprised to see us cleaning their neighborhood; some even stopped to say thank you. Although I’m not able to go back in time and remove the harmful waste from my childhood playground, being able to help remove it from another playground is just as rewarding.


Written by: Keona Greene

Packing the Pantry in Austin

Charis Wise | College Life, Volunteer

Last year, USLI held our first Pack the Pantry drive in an effort to fight food insecurity among college students. The goal was to collaborate with universities who have food pantries, and provide them with some food and hygiene items that they could distribute to their students.

The drive turned out to be a great event, and the Student Ambassadors were very excited to bring this initiative to our branch offices this year! I had the amazing opportunity to organize the Pack the Pantry drive here in our Austin, Texas office. Part of my role was to promote the drive, and it was exciting to get a bit creative with the decoration of the poster and the donation box.

In the end, we were able to collect 193 items to donate to Austin Community College! They were very excited and thankful that we were hosting a drive for their students, since 34 percent of them are food insecure. Not only is this a great cause, but also a great way to get involved and get to know some more of our community members! It was a very fun way to gather together to participate in such a terrific project.

This year Pack the Pantry collected 5,715 items across three states, which will be distributed to five different colleges and universities. Thank you for helping us pack the pantry!


  Written by: Daniela Gonzalez-Lores

Hoedown Showdown

Charis Wise | Volunteer

How many of us thought about being a cowboy or cowgirl as a kid? I for one can say I did, and with the theme for the 2018 Community Picnic being “Hoedown Showdown” we got to dress up the way we did when we were kids. There were many really fun games this year including a Wheelbarrow Race, a cow milking game (no real cows were involved), and Corn Hole. There was even a mechanical bull for the people who really wanted to embrace the rodeo experience. It looks like whether you’re College Help or full-time, you enjoy your games.

I was able to hang out and enjoy the games with both College Help students and community members who I don’t get to see every day. I really enjoyed competing against people in the cow milking game. I actually got to help run this game for an hour, and seeing College Help and Full-time community members all trying to fill their buckets and win helped me feel more a part of the USLI community. After working at USLI for two years, I feel like the positive energy, comradery, light hearted competitiveness, and smiling faces at the Community Picnic is a great representation of the USLI community as a whole.

There was also amazing food at the picnic! I could not stay away from the barbecued pulled pork and the cornbread. My only regret is that I didn’t get to try all the food. The day ended with some incredible line dancing and a friendly but tough best-dressed contest. Overall, I loved the 2018 Community Picnic theme, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the 2019 picnic.

Written by: Kylil Kee-Redmond

Learning the FUNdamentals at USLI

Charis Wise | Volunteer

Every year, USLI hosts Bring Your Child to Work Day, and this year’s theme was “FUNdamentals,” which encouraged the kids to learn more about how to become really great at something while making it a fun experience. This year, I had the pleasure of volunteering as a College Help student during the day and spending quality time with all the children. The event was well-organized and balanced between having fun and learning. The children learned about information technology, insurance, science and even the fundamentals of dance. Being able to see through the children’s eyes as they explored their parents’ workplace was really rewarding for me. I love spending time with kids because I learn to appreciate the little things in life. Sometimes, as “grown-ups,” we get so caught up in planning for the future or looking ahead to what’s next, that we forget to live our life in the moment. I don’t see a way that USLI’s Bring Your Child to Work Day could end in anything other a quiet ride home – I was exhausted and can imagine the kids fell asleep on their way home! Bill Keane said, “Today is a gift, that’s why we call it the present.” Kids remind you to enjoy the moment, at that moment, and keep life simple. Participating in Bring Your Child to Work Day was a great experience, and one that I am absolutely looking forward to participating in again in the future!


Written by: Rob John

Deductible Dash 5K

Nina-Simone Beaver | Volunteer

Participating in the 2018 Deductible Dash was such a rewarding experience! This 5k run sponsored by Saint Joseph’s University took place on April 7 through the pathways of the Philadelphia Zoo. The weather was perfect for a run, and the turnout was awesome! After finishing the race, everyone grabbed refreshments and got to network with students, industry professionals, family, and friends. Besides the fact that it served as a Gamma Iota Sigma event for the semester, I was able to introduce my peers to professors and catch up with both past and present College Help students. It was definitely a unique and fun setting to connect with the Risk Management community at Saint Joe’s, as well as the College Help community at USLI. We got to take a picture for the USLI College Help Instagram (@usli_collegehelp), and then we were able to walk around the zoo and see all the animals. Overall, it was a fulfilling Saturday morning, and I can’t wait to drag all of my Risk Management friends to next year’s race!




Chris Grosso

Children’s Holiday Party

Nina-Simone Beaver | Volunteer

I’m not sure about you, but if I got the chance to be 8 years old for the day, I would do it to experience USLI’s Children’s Holiday Party. Being able to host a child was a rewarding experience. I had the pleasure of hosting a fourth-grader named Nonkululeko. Nonkululeko’s name is Zulu for “freedom,” but we called her Noku for short. Noku was the perfect guest; she was smart, sassy and entertaining. She had nothing but great energy since we first greeted each other! The first thing we did was grab breakfast and sit with her friend. We chatted about school and how excited she was to be at the party. We then took pictures, decorated cookies, danced and got her face painted. She got glittered rainbow lion painted on her face — a perfect expression of her bold and unique personality. Noku truly did enjoy her time at the Children’s Holiday Party, and having the opportunity to share that with her was a gift in and of itself.  Because of this wonderful experience, I recommend to all fellow College Help to be sure to sign up to be a host for the Children’s Holiday Party once the holidays roll back around! Not only will you be able to host a great kid, but the few hours you spend there will be fun and pure nostalgia.

Written by: Keona Green