It was just a few short years ago when I composed a similar message as your President. We had no idea a global pandemic was lurking, and Texas PRIMA, like everyone else, would quickly be forced to adapt to a whole, new world. It was a pleasure leading the association virtually during 2020. I certainly never expected to be President again a few years later; however, when the Executive Board asked me to consider filling a vacancy, I simply could not say no. Like most of you, Texas PRIMA really is like family to me and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve this association. I’m honored to serve alongside three new board members-Melissa Ledesma (Risk Manager, City of Sugar Land), Mandy Riske (Risk Management Program Coordinator, City of San Marcos), and Lance Nauman (Director of Risk Management, Katy ISD). In addition, two past Texas PRIMA Past Presidents stepped up to fill additional Executive Board vacancies. Welcome back, Norma Martinez (Senior Staff Analyst, City of Houston) and Gilbert Sanchez (Safety and Risk Manager, City of Corpus Christi)!

Danish Author Karen Blixen once said, “you know you are truly alive when you’re living among the lions.” I am sure at some point in your Risk Management career, you’ve felt as if you were living among the lions-being growled at, pounced upon, and hunted. My hope is with the many tools and resources made available to you through Texas PRIMA, YOU become and remain the lion-strong and courageous, and able to lead your organization and risk management program into the wild and beyond.   

The Board of Directors met in January to begin planning this year’s offerings. The Texas PRIMA Board remains committed to delivering quality education in the form of webinars, Coffee Talks, a virtual summit, and, of course, our annual conference. Each day on a safari brings new perspectives- we encourage you to share your perspective and knowledge by joining one of Texas PRIMA’s Committees: Education/Networking, Member Services, Newsletter, or Social Media/Website. If you are interested in serving, let us know and we will connect you with the committee chair.

Later this month, the Board will host our annual Partnership Meeting in conjunction with our March board meeting. This is an opportunity for us to meet with our generous and committed sponsors to gain their feedback, and to explore opportunities for growth and innovation as we continue to fulfill the purpose of this association.

Last year, our trip to the moon boasted over 700 attendees, and we have room for more on our upcoming expedition! As the board continues to prepare for our safari in Galveston, November 5-8, 2023, we hope you will make plans to attend. Help us grow our travel group by connecting with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

There is an African Proverb that reads, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I look forward to our journey together this year-we will go far!

Lesley Ward
2023 Texas PRIMA President

Distracted Driving Awareness

Next month (April) is recognized as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Distracted driving has become a deadly epidemic on our roads. While drivers texting behind the wheel tops what seems like an endless list of distractions, other risky actions include talking, setting your navigation, adjusting what you’re listening to, drinking coffee, applying makeup, and more. By driving distracted, you’re robbing yourself of seconds that you may need to avoid a close-call or a deadly crash. Read the full article and get additional resources from the NHTSA here. As we near Distracted Driving Awareness Month, we encourage you to share the importance of distracted driving awareness with your entity!

Taking Care of Your Emotional Health

Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, act, make choices, and relate to others. Mental health is more than the absence of a mental illness – it’s essential to your overall health and quality of life. Self-care can play a role in maintaining your mental health and help support your treatment and recovery if you have a mental illness. Self-care can include getting regular exercise, eating healthy, making sleep a priority, setting goals and priorities, and focusing on positivity, to name a few. Read the full article and access additional resources from the National Institute of Mental Health here

Education Update

Strategic Risk Management – Why Safety Matters Too Webinar
Wednesday, March 22, 2023, 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM CST

Award-winning Program Implementation Coffee Talk
Thursday, April 13, 2023, 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM CST

Don't forget that recordings of our webinars are in your Community under the Resources header. 

NEW! Texas PRIMA's Virtual Summit

Join Texas PRIMA for a 2-day Virtual Summit on May 23rd & 24th. This educational opportunity is being offered in lieu of a virtual option at this year’s annual conference. Registration will be open soon!


If you are interested in presenting at the virtual summit, click here.

Members on the Move

Congratulations to Courtney Wood on her move to Risk Management Adminstrator at City of Irving.

Congratulations Lesley Ward & Mandy Riske for completing their ARM certifications!

Congratulations to Lacye Stewart on her promotion to Risk Manager from Risk Specialist at City of Arlington.

Congratulations to Shelley Taylor on her retirement after 23 years of service to Mansfield ISD.

Member Spotlight: Erica Balli, Director of Human Resources & Risk Management for the City of Harlingen

“My very first position in Human Resources was in the Risk Management Division for the City of Edinburg as a Risk Specialist. As a Risk Specialist I handled Worker’s Compensation Claims and the interaction with FMLA. I assisted with the review and development of new and revised policies related to the City’s Worker’s Compensation Program as well as the Accident Prevention Program. I left the public sector for about 2 years to venture into the private sector where I held a position of HR Manager and had direct oversight of the Risk Management Division of the department. I returned to the public sector in 2022 as the Director of Human Resources and Risk Management for the City of Harlingen.

I manage the Human Resources Department to include Civil Service, Benefits Administration, and Risk Management. I plan and direct the comprehensive activities of the City's Human Resources Department. I provide comprehensive guidance and technical advice to City Management regarding specific human resources, civil service, benefits, and risk management functions.

I attended my first Texas PRIMA Conference in 2015. It was great experience, and I learned a lot from it. To be honest, I feel that out of all my HR responsibilities, Risk Management is not my forte, therefore, Texas PRIMA and the community has benefited me greatly. Developing relationships with those in the Texas PRIMA community has been very helpful. Meeting new members and hearing about their challenges and solutions has been key in integrating risk management control for the City of Harlingen. The best advice I have received is to not reinvent the wheel; reach out to the subject matter experts in the community and they more than likely have encountered the very same thing and will share some insight.”

Erica is SHRM-CP certified and is passionate about human resources and all its functions. She works on herself every day to ensure that she is an effective leader. She has a growth mindset and is in constant pursuit for knowledge and personal development. In her downtime, she loves to travel and craft.

Erica’s favorite quote is “If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.” – Zig Ziglar 

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