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Board Member Spotlight: Wayne Robinson
While association board members share many of the same motivations, goals, and challenges, everyone’s story of board service is unique. As a result, each individual story can be enlightening to other board members. We talked to Wayne Robinson, the current board chair for Financial & Insurance Conference Professionals (FICP), to get his story. Robinson is the Assistant Vice President of Programs and Exhibits for FM Global, the world’s largest purely commercial property insurance company. Robinson oversees a team of 13 that manages roughly 130 programs and events worldwide annually. He has been in the event planning industry for over 30 years, with tenures at AT&T, Guardian Life Insurance, Northwestern Mutual, and FM Global.
 
When did you join the association and why?

I joined in 2000, and at that time FICP was called the Insurance Conference Planners Association (ICPA). My friend invited me to the annual conference in 2000 and it was pretty eye-opening. It was like no other organization I had been involved in because it spoke specifically to our industry. I was able to gain a lot of knowledge from people who had walked the same path that I had and faced the same challenges. I had been a member of other associations before joining ICPA, but I found it most beneficial to join this association because it addressed the specific needs of the insurance financial services incentive industry.
 
What led you to serve on the board?

I’ve always aspired to become a member of an association board. In 2011, I was approached about serving on the board and I thought, maybe it’s the right time to get more involved. I went straight from general membership to serving on the board without serving on any committees or groups first. It was a big step — there was a lot to learn. Many of us have that requisite skill set, but when you put the board member hat on, you look at the association completely differently. Your responsibilities are no longer just to network and learn, it’s about leadership and strategy. But I had to cut short my first term because of a job change requiring me to move from New York to Milwaukee. The move made it just too overwhelming for me to fulfill my board responsibilities. But I came back on the board in 2015 and served another term. I chaired a membership committee and then became the incoming board chair. And now I'm the board chair and will remain on the board next year as past chair.
 
How have you benefitted from volunteering?

It gave me an opportunity to give back to the industry where I’ve spent the majority of my career. It’s also given me an opportunity to give back to an organization that’s helped me overcome many stumbling blocks. I've learned a lot through FICP, and I've met a lot of people in this role as a somewhat unofficial ambassador for the association. It gives me great pleasure to be able to help grow the organization and its membership. I also enjoy mentoring young professionals. Mentoring is an opportunity to not only help others become better volunteer leaders, but it also helps build comradery and provides the foundation to continue the success of FICP’s leadership. Everyone needs a mentor.
 
What advice do you have for other board members?

Your focus has to be on being a good steward and preserving the legacy of the association — that’s ultimately your legacy. The destination has already been predetermined — you are basically steering the ship. You have to look at things strategically and sometimes your personal feelings or preferences have to take a back seat for the betterment of the organization. And that takes work, that takes patience, and that takes selflessness.
 
And for those who are considering serving on a board, you have to find that balance between volunteerism and your full-time job. You have to make sure you have the time and the bandwidth to do it. I’m a prime example as I had to walk away from the board in my first term. You’re not doing anybody any good if you’re not able to commit to the responsibilities of your job and your responsibilities as a board member simultaneously. It can be very challenging. That’s the question people have to ask themselves. Is it the right time and the right point in your career?
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JULY/AUGUST 2019 EDITION
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Board Forward is published 10 times a year by SmithBucklin, the association management and services company more organizations turn to than any other. SmithBucklin has served volunteer board members for 70 years.

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