Validating Practical Experience

Tamika Puckett

Tamika Burgos Puckett is a Global Client Advocate at WTW. Though she is now on “the service side” of the profession, she spent years as a risk leader in several public entities and major companies and earned her RIMS-CRMP in 2021. She discussed how the knowledge she gained from the exam continues to be useful, even after the unexpected career change.


RIMS: What inspired you to study for the exam?

Puckett: I began studying for the RIMS-CRMP in 2018 when I was Director of Enterprise Risk Management at the City of Atlanta. I completed the RIMS-CRMP Workshop at the 2018 RIMS Conference in San Antonio, but didn’t take the exam until 2021 when I was Head of Cyber Risk Management at Zoom Video Communications. I had contemplated several different certifications over the years, but never dedicated the time to complete the coursework. I found the RIMS-CRMP to be superior to other risk certifications as it is competency-based versus textbook-based. Successful certification is contingent upon experience and practical application of technical knowledge.


RIMS: You led the risk groups for two major cities. How did the RIMS-CRMP’s criteria reflect/intersect with those high-profile roles?

Puckett: The experiences at both the City of Atlanta and City of Chicago definitely prepared me for satisfying the RIMS-CRMP criteria. Public entities provide services of all types to the community, such as public safety services (police and fire), public works/construction, water management, and even aviation services, as both cities are home to the world’s busiest airports. As a public entity risk manager with exposure to various risk scenarios across many industries, the principals of risk management and enterprise risk management become second nature.


RIMS: How did you study? For example, do you still like to open a textbook or are you more of an online learner?

Puckett: While I love a good book, I am most successful as an online learner. I first selected a test date and then created a study plan around that date. I reviewed the structure of the exam and prioritized my time on those domains with the higher percentage on the exam. When taking the self-assessments, I not only noted the correct answers, but also documented the reason why the answer was correct and why the other answers were incorrect. This really prepared me for the exam, as some of the options could be a bit tricky if not completely digested.


RIMS: What tips do you have for anyone studying for the exam now? For example, how critical are the workshops, especially since they are offered in hybrid settings?

Puckett: My advice would be to first ensure that you possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to be successful. The exam is not one that can be studied for—you either know the material or you don’t. Instead, you develop a strategy for how to successfully complete the exam. I found the workshop to be very beneficial in helping me to understand how to take the test, and I believe independent learners will, as well.

The discussions around why certain answers were more correct than others were extremely helpful. For me, taking the workshop first was essential in preparing me to complete my self studies and, ultimately, the exam.


RIMS: How does the knowledge from the RIMS-CRMP impact you now that you are on the service side of risk?

Puckett: I feel that having the RIMS-CRMP further validates my practical experience. Now that I am on the service side, in addition to my professional experience, I feel it supports my credibility, as well as demonstrates my commitment to continued learning and professional development.


RIMS: What plans do you have to recertify?

Puckett: I absolutely plan to recertify through continuing education to maintain my RIMS-CRMP certification.


Anyone considering taking the RIMS-CRMP certification exam should know of the changes being made to its blueprint beginning September 1, 2022. Join our complimentary RIMS-CRMP Exam Updates webinar on August 9, 2022 to learn the enhancements to the certification requirements and exam.


Interview by Justin Smulison, RIMS Business Content Manager