‘Much’ Ado About Experience
Heidi Much has 30 years of professional risk management experience in the health care, automotive, and real estate sectors. A past president of the RIMS Detroit Chapter and former Chair of the Society’s Student Advisory Council, she has the unique ability to see the value of a professional profile through various lenses. She flipped those lenses on herself in 2019 when she took the RIMS-CRMP exam in an effort to enhance her own profile.
RIMS: Heidi, you took the test cold, which is wild. You must have been confident in your abilities and knowledge.
Much: I panicked a bit when I started to research the material to review before taking the test. I am used to a study guide and books, like any other exam. But the information you are expected to know for the certification is more experience-related and not necessarily insurance-related. I thought I would try and see if I had the knowledge base—if I failed, I would know where to study and focus my attention. But I’m happy to say, “I passed.”
RIMS: What was your mindset or approach to taking the exam in-person? For example, are you the type of person who likes a classic “quiet classroom” setting?
Much: I did like the quiet of the testing center and felt it worked best for me. I liked being able to take time away from everything and focus. Multitasking is not for everything.
RIMS: How did your career experiences help you prepare for the exam? How might they have even helped you answer some of the questions?
Much: Having been part of executive committees and board of directors reporting is the best experience. At those levels, you see the business holistically and intertwined. This allows risk professionals to see, first-hand, the risk appetite of the company and better recommend solutions that align with the company’s goals.
RIMS: How did being a licensed insurance consultant help prepare you at all?
Much: Holding any kind of license keeps your basic skills sharp—even the ones you may not use every day. Remembering policy language and the flow of indemnity allowed me to answer the more technical questions on the test.
RIMS: How do you feel the RIMS-CRMP adds value to your professional profile and also to your company, ALS Group, which you had joined in the same year?
Much: Earning the RIMS-CRMP proved that I have much more than just technical knowledge. It demonstrated that my professional experiences were extremely valuable and have given me a great understanding of risk management strategies. Other credentials do not do this. Employers and—if you’re consulting—clients want a business partner who understands their operations, goals, and risk appetite. The RIMS-CRMP is a way to demonstrate that the individual holding the certification is that person.
RIMS: What advice would you give to prospective RIMS-CRMPs who want to take the course and exam virtually for the short-term?
Much: Be committed. Virtual learning is not easy for everyone. You need to be disciplined and really devote the time to it and, if you’re going to go for it, keep it at the top of your priority list. I found actually blocking out time on your calendar like another meeting worked best for me.
Interview by Justin Smulison, RIMS Business Content Manager