Global Spotlight: The World in Sync

How RIMS—The Risk Management Society applied a strategy to its global expansion.

RIMS—The Risk Management Society was one of those lucky organizations that acquired a global presence in the past decade without actively pursuing it. But though international chapters organically formed and held meetings, those efforts weren’t well coordinated.

One of our weaknesses was that we were trying to be everywhere and had no real focus about what region we wanted to enter.

“No plan had ever been created, no strategy,” says Darlene Lebron Lopez, manager, international initiatives, at RIMS. “If members in Mexico want to get together and form a chapter, great. Or if somebody in Dubai wants to take our professional development workshop, wonderful. But there was no collective thought process.”

So, in 2009 RIMS began to build a concerted strategy around its international efforts. That began with the board launching a task force to study forming an international committee, which was created the following year. Together with the committee, Lopez and RIMS’s executive director and director of membership began assembling a strategy document that would guide the association’s future international efforts.

“One of our weaknesses was that we were trying to be everywhere and had no real focus about what region we wanted to enter,” says Lopez. RIMS also defined the structure of affiliate agreements and international chapter charters.

Since the document was created last fall, Lopez says, RIMS staff have been able to better focus their energy on key projects.

“Recently, a member needed a list of risk-management-related conferences in China,” she says. “A year ago, we wouldn’t have had that. Now we do, because we’re tracking that kind of information.”

(Gary S. Chapman/Getty Images)

Mark Athitakis

By Mark Athitakis

Mark Athitakis, a contributing editor for Associations Now, has written on nonprofits, the arts, and leadership for a variety of publications. He is a coauthor of The Dumbest Moments in Business History and hopes you never qualify for the sequel. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!