Still burning strong, CLM’s annual conference celebrates 10 years
By Eric Gilkey
The CLM’s annual conference is helmed by Education Chairperson Anne Blume. We talked with her about the trends she sees developing and what attendees can expect from this year’s event, which takes place March 29-31, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn.
You’ve helped plan nine out of 10 annual conferences. How has the role changed over the years?
Nine years ago, we were planning a conference for 200 or so attendees; this year, it’s closer to 2,000. That means there have been a LOT of changes. As the conference was growing, and especially when we brought in the roundtable format, we sometimes had trouble finding a speaker for a session. Today, we have more speakers than available speaking positions. In addition, the number and the quality of the submissions has increased exponentially. These are really good problems to have!
What trends did you see in the topics being proposed this year? Did you get a good sense of what’s on the minds of CLM’s members and fellows?
We saw a lot of topics on technology, cyber, and emerging subject matter-specific issues, which is exactly what we want to see. The CLM is—and I suspect always will be—on the cutting edge of issues relevant to the claims and litigation management industry. With technological changes, there are liability, risk management, and insurance issues that the CLM’s constituents really need to stay ahead of and be informed about. People are really thinking ahead of the curve, and it truly is a challenge for our committee to select which sessions will be presented.
The CLM is all about inclusion, diversity, and sharing. How is that reflected in this event?
One of the many things that sets the CLM’s annual conference far ahead of other industry events is this message of inclusion, diversity, and sharing. That is precisely why the roundtable format was introduced about seven years ago—it promotes collaboration and sharing as well as diversity and inclusion. The members and fellows really appreciate the opportunity to work so collaboratively with one another, and it is a great way to learn and to network at the same time.
What excites you most about this year’s event?
I am absolutely psyched about this venue and the keynote presentation. While I greatly prefer sunny warm venues, Nashville is special because it’s so different. Every one of the annual conferences has had a location-specific special quality to it in one form or another—we once had lunch right on Royal Street in New Orleans, one block off Bourbon Street, which was the first time it had ever been closed for a private event! Nashville lends itself to a different quality than any other of our conferences and any other conference I’ve ever heard about. This year’s keynote speaker is James Dean Hicks, who has written hit songs recorded by artists like Blake Shelton, Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire, Alison Krauss, and The Oak Ridge Boys. He’s going to both entertain and inspire us all from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. So this is certainly not your ordinary insurance/risk management/claims conference now, is it?
What do you think the conference will look like in 10 years?
I can hardly say! I certainly hope that it’s not virtual, because CLM CEO Adam Potter keeps picking great locations and venues, and I’d miss seeing everyone and the buzz of the conference. Guessing where next year’s event will be held is always so much fun, too, and this year, I actually know where it will be!