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Feb 27, 2024

Welcome to RIMScast. Your host is Justin Smulison, Business Content Manager at RIMS, the Risk and Insurance Management Society.


Justin interviews guest Sarah Mikolich, Risk and Insurance Coordinator at the Ontario Clean Water Agency. Sarah tells about her 25-year career path in risk and insurance management, describes the work of Ontaria Clean Water Agency, the partnership OCWA has with First Nations in Ontario, and what her priorities are at OCWA. She discusses the importance of World Water Day and how water brings peace. She shares her experience as a woman in risk and insurance and how the industry has become more gender equal.

Listen in for Sarah’s thoughts about the industry, networking in ORIMS, and her tips for women entering the risk and insurance industry.


Key Takeaways:

[:01] About RIMS and RIMScast.

[:14] Public registration for RISKWORLD 2024 is now open. Explore infinite opportunities with RIMS from May 5th through May 8th, 2024, in San Diego, California. Register at Be thankful that it’s a leap year! Advance Registration rates end on February 29th, 2024.

[:38] About today’s EPISODE of RIMScast. We will discuss water and sustainability, with Sarah Mikolich of the Ontario Clean Water Agency.

[1:01] The RIMS-CRMP is the only competency-based risk management credential. That matters because earning the certification shows employers and recruiters that you have the skills necessary to manage risk and create value for your organization.
[1:17] Several Exam Prep virtual workshops are coming up. On March 19th and 20th, this two-day course will be presented with PARIMA. The next RIMS-CRMP-FED Exam Prep Virtual Workshop will be held from April 2nd through the 4th and led by Joe Mayo. Visit the certification page on for more information. A link is in these show notes.

[1:47] If there is a full group of employees in your organization who should earn the RIMS-CRMP, visit and register for the complimentary webinar, How Deloitte Leveraged the RIMS-CRMP: A Fireside Chat. A link is on this episode’s show notes.

[2:06] We will have leaders from the RIMS-CRMP Commission and leaders from Deloitte, who will speak to why they supported several of their employees in earning the RIMS-CRMP. It will be a relaxed, informational session and a lot of fun. Mark your calendars for March 15th and register!

[2:26] On March 20th at 9:00 a.m., Eastern, we have another informational session about Recertification: Keep Your RIMS-CRMP Active. I will be hosting that session, along with RIMS VP of Professional Development, Denise Osorio. If you have the CRMP and you don’t want the credits to lapse, find out how to keep it active! The link is in the notes.

[2:53] We are looking forward to RISKWORLD 2024 in sunny San Diego, California, from May 5th through May 8th, 2024. Public registration is open. Register today at and the link in this episode’s show notes.

[3:08] In the prior episode of RIMScast we had opening keynote Peter Diamandis join us. Check out that episode for just a taste of what’s in store for RISKWORLD 2024.

[3:22] Early registration rates are available through February 29th, 2024; yet another benefit brought to you by RIMS and leap year!

[3:31] March is Women’s History Month. March 22nd is World Water Day. Our guest today brings the best of both worlds. She is Sarah Mikolich, the Risk and Insurance Coordinator at the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA).

[3:51] Many of you know Sarah as a long-time and very visible member of ORIMS. We’ll talk about her career, her work in water, and her perspective on how the risk profession is evolving to meet the needs of, and retain, women.

[4:09] Sarah Mikolich, welcome to RIMScast!

[4:49] Sarah started as a broker for a smaller brokerage and then for Aon in their large risk management sector. From there, she worked in risk management at a global medical company, and then at a global engineering firm. She learned what it’s like to put together a global insurance program. Sarah has been involved with ORIMS.

[5:25] Sarah has worked on the Canada Council’s newspaper. She has worked on two conferences in Canada. For the second conference, in Toronto, she helped organize all the speakers and seminars. Over the last 20 years, Sarah has made good friends in the risk industry.

[6:40] Sarah is coming up on three years with OCWA. She looks after the insurance program. OCWA is a Crown agency in Ontario. It reports to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks. OCWA operates and maintains over 1,000 water and wastewater facilities in about 170 municipalities, for a population of about 4.5 million.

[7:35] OCWA is one of the biggest operators in Canada. Sarah’s department includes just herself. Her previous positions with the medical and engineering firms were also one-person shows. At OCWA, she reports to Legal, so she has support from her general counsel. She loves the responsibility of her positions, past and present.

[8:49] Sarah’s top priority is clean water. The next priority is the retention of their 600+ certified local water operators. Another high priority is cybersecurity. No cyber threats have bubbled up to Sarah’s department. Everything has been dealt with by the IT department.

[10:11] OCWA has an ERM department of one, not Sarah, but she is tuned into the ERM leader’s work. She has recently been asked to help with some of the board materials and minute-taking so she has learned a lot more about what the ERM program looks like.

[10:35] Because they are highly regulated, they lean conservative. They are fully supported by the Executive Management Team and the Board of Directors. The ERM department has done a top-down risk review and is rolling out a bottom-up look at risk, engaging the employees, and providing some ERM risk training, including for the board.

[11:15] OCWA is not mandated to test for “forever chemicals” or PFAS. The main focus is going to be on infrastructure upgrades. This needs to be addressed by researchers, water industry professionals, and governments at all levels, in the years ahead.

[12:01] OCWA has a partnership with First Nations in Ontario. First Nations face a lot of water risks, including some boil water advisories. OCWA is proud of this partnership, providing project management, capital management, emergency services, asset management, and improving the operation and maintenance of its infrastructure.

[12:48] In 2021, OCWA established a First Nations Advisory Circle to gain a greater understanding of the broader water issues facing First Nations communities. The Circle, which reports through the First Nations Committee of the Board of Directors, are individuals who identify as indigenous from a variety of backgrounds and communities.

[13:16] In 2022, OCWA created a First Nations Regional Hub that focuses exclusively on supporting water and wastewater sustainable operations and maintenance for First Nations communities.

[13:48] OCWA’s biggest client is in Mississauga, where its head office is. Sarah lives there and drinks the Ontario Clean Water Agency’s maintained facility water. She has an appreciation of what goes into clean water. She participates in facility tours and inspections; she has never seen a facility so clean. The facilities are fascinating.

[14:44] RIMS plug time! RIMS Virtual Workshops: Visit to see the full calendar. On March 6th and 7th, our friend Elise Farnham hosts Applying and Integrating ERM. On March 12th and 13th, former RIMS president Chris Mandel hosts, Captives as an Alternate Risk Financing Technique.

[15:10] Information about these workshops and others is on the RIMS Virtual Workshops page and a link to the full calendar is in this episode’s notes.

[15:18] On February 29th, Hub International sponsors Ready for Tomorrow: Protecting Your Profits in the Property Market. On March 7th, in celebration of International Women’s Day, Origami Risk leads the session Women of Risk & Compliance: Leading & Learning One Step at a Time.

[15:39] Resolver returns on March 14th to deliver the session Maximizing Business Value: Top 5 Risk and Compliance Dashboards for Organizational Resilience. On March 21st, Zurich presents Fraud Attitude Shifts in the Industry.

[15:54] On March 28th, our friends at TÜV SÜD GRC present Inflation and Property Valuation: Aligning Your Assets with Reality. Visit to learn more about these webinars and to register! Links are in the show notes. Webinar registration is complimentary for RIMS members.

[16:16] Quick shout-out to our friends at the Spencer Educational Foundation, which funds the education of next-generation risk management and insurance talent. Spencer’s scholarship program is open but coming to a close on March 1st for Ph.D. applicants.

[16:31] Students and risk management and insurance faculty with interest can visit for additional details.

[16:40] Our friends at FERMA encourage you to participate in its inaugural International Risk Managers Survey, open through March 2024 to risk professionals from the U.S., Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and Africa. It is produced in partnership with PwC France. The results will be distributed in October 2024. A link is in this episode’s show notes.

[17:12] World Water Day is March 22nd, 2024. The theme this year is Water for Peace, which focuses on the critical role that water plays in the stability and prosperity of the world. Henk Ovink, Ambassador to the U.N. for Clean Water, has been on the show twice. Justin has had a lot of guests speaking of clean water.

[17:48] Water can bring peace to the world. We all need clean water. It’s so important. There’s so much that needs to be done around the world to bring clean, fresh water to so many communities. If we all work toward doing that, in our capacity, providing water that’s clean, fresh, and sustainable, will bring peace.

[18:28] Sarah has been in the risk and insurance profession for 25 years. She reflects on how the risk and insurance profession has changed regarding gender equality. She believes it has changed quite a bit. She is meeting female risk managers, left, right, and center. She thinks it’s a wonderful field. She loves working with clients and partners.

[19:13] Being a woman is not as big an issue anymore. You’re a worker on a career path. Sarah has had great managers who have given her ways to grow in her career. Her previous companies are also working to be diverse. She is supported by her peers and her managers. The playing field has gotten more level, in Sarah’s experience.

[20:33] Sarah has mentored a few women. She doesn’t have many opportunities, being a sole specialist in a department of one. Working on the RIMS Canada Conference was a way she could promote her ideas and support other women to promote their careers. Justin emphasizes to listeners to get involved with RIMS to help others in their careers!

[21:54] Sarah’s tips for women entering the risk and insurance profession: “Education is the biggest one for me, learning as much as I could and picking up as many certificates as I could. Definitely, do your CRM, ARM, or the RIMS-CRMP. Network. Try to get a mentor or two. I’ve done a lot of networking at the global and Canadian conferences.”

[22:39] “So, get out there! Go to your chapter meetings. There’s a lot to learn; there are lots of great people out there to learn from. The risk management community is so giving. They’ll drop anything to help you; any question you have! Education and networking would be the biggest points. We all want to see each other do well.”

[23:41] Sarah Mikolich, it’s been a pleasure to have you on RIMScast finally! I wish you a happy World Water Day, 2024 and beyond!

[23:51] Special thanks again to Sarah Mikolich of the Ontario Clean Water Agency and also of ORIMS, for joining us. Links to her bio and work are in this episode’s show notes as well as links to World Water Day and Women’s History Month initiatives.

[23:19] There’s still time to get the early bird registration rate for RISKWORLD through February 29th. Visit and register there. Peter’s opening Keynote is one of the many memorable presentations we’ll be experiencing at RISKWORLD 2024.

[24:10] Go to the App Store and download the RIMS App. This is an exclusive members-only benefit with all sorts of RIMS resources and coverage. Everybody loves the RIMS App!

[24:35] You can sponsor a RIMScast episode for this, our weekly show, or a dedicated episode. Links to sponsored episodes are in our show notes. RIMScast has a global audience of risk professionals, legal professionals, students, business leaders, C-Suite executives, and more. Let’s collaborate! Contact for more information.

[25:19] Become a RIMS member and get access to the tools, thought leadership, and network you need to succeed. Visit or email for more information.

[25:36] Risk Knowledge is the RIMS searchable content library that provides relevant information for today’s risk professionals. Materials include RIMS executive reports, survey findings, contributed articles, industry research, benchmarking data, and more.

[25:52] For the best reporting on the profession of risk management, read Risk Management Magazine at, and check out the blog at Justin Smulison is Business Content Manager at RIMS. You can email Justin at

[26:13] Thank you for your continued support and engagement on social media channels! We appreciate all your kind words. Listen every week! Stay safe!


Mentioned in this Episode:

World Water Day 2024 Campaign

Women’s History Month

RISKWORLD 2024 — San Diego, CA | May 5–8, 2024


Spencer Educational Foundation

Spencer Educational Foundation — Grants Page

RIMS-Certified Risk Management Professional (RIMS-CRMP)

RIMS-CRMP Virtual Workshops

2024 International Risk Manager Survey conducted by FERMA in partnership with PwC FERMA

RIMS Webinars:

Ready for Tomorrow: Protecting Your Profits in the Property Market | Sponsored by Hub International | Feb. 29, 2024

Women of Risk & Compliance: Leading & Learning One Step at a Time | Sponsored by Origami Risk | March 7, 2024

Maximizing Business Value: Top 5 Risk and Compliance Dashboards for Organizational Resilience | Sponsored by Resolver | March 14, 2024

Elevating ERM in Federal Agencies: The RIMS-CRMP-FED Explored by Deloitte & Touche LLP and RIMS | March 15, 2024

Recertification: Keep Your RIMS-CRMP Active | Presented by RIMS | March 20, 2024

Fraud Attitude Shifts in the Industry | Sponsored by Zurich | March 21, 2024

Inflation and Property Valuation: Aligning Your Assets with Reality | Sponsored by TUV SUD GRC | March 28, 2024

Upcoming Virtual Workshops:

See the full calendar of RIMS Virtual Workshops

RIMS-CRMP Prep Workshops

Related RIMScast Episodes:

RISKWORLD 2023 Keynote Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM President and CEO

“Diving in with RIMS 2024 President David Arick”

“Kicking Off 2024 with RIMS CEO Gary LaBranche”

“Scenario Planning with the RIMS SERMC in 2024”

“Solving Wicked Problems with Dr. Gav Schneider”

Sponsored RIMScast Episodes:

“Alliant’s P&C Outlook For 2024” | Sponsored by Alliant (New!)

Why Subrogation is the New Arbitration” | Sponsored by Fleet Response

Cyclone Season: Proactive Preparation for Loss Minimization | Sponsored by Prudent Insurance Brokers Ltd.

“Subrogation and the Competitive Advantage” | Sponsored by Fleet Response

“Cyber risk Outlook 2023” | Sponsored by Alliant

“Chemical Industry: How To Succeed Amid Emerging Risks and a Challenging Market” | Sponsored by TÜV SÜD

“Insuring the Future of the Environment” | Sponsored by AXA XL

“Insights into the Gig Economy and its Contractors” | Sponsored by Zurich

“The Importance of Disaster Planning Relationships” | Sponsored by ServiceMaster


RIMS Publications, Content, and Links:

RIMS Membership — Whether you are a new member or need to transition, be a part of the global risk management community!

RIMS Virtual Workshops

On-Demand Webinars

Risk Management Magazine

Risk Management Monitor

RIMS-Certified Risk Management Professional (RIMS-CRMP)

RIMS-CRMP Stories — New interview featuring Dr. Lianne Appelt!

Spencer Educational Foundation

RIMS DEI Council


RIMS Events, Education, and Services:

RIMS Risk Maturity Model®

RIMS Events App Apple | Google Play

RIMS Buyers Guide


Sponsor RIMScast: Contact or for more information.


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About our guest

Sarah Mikolich
Risk & Insurance Coordinator at Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA)
LinkedIn Sarah Mikolich

Tweetables (Edited For Social Media Use):

Ontario Clean Water Agency reports to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks. We operate and maintain over 1,000 water and wastewater facilities in about 170 municipalities. One of our biggest clients is that sector. — Sarah Mikolich


No cyber threats have bubbled up to me. We’ve been able to deal with everything internally right now, with our IT department. Nothing’s come through as a threat. — Sarah Mikolich


There’s so much that needs to be done around the world to bring clean, fresh water to so many communities. If we all work toward doing that, in our capacity, water that’s clean, fresh, and sustainable, will bring peace. — Sarah Mikolich


I am meeting female risk managers, left, right, and center. I think it’s a wonderful field to be in. — Sarah Mikolich