Spencer Gala Raises $1.3M For The Next Generation of Risk Management and Insurance Professionals

2019 Spencer Gala Dinner Chair, Teresa M. Black

2019 Spencer Gala Dinner Chair, Teresa M. Black

Industry Leaders M. Steven DeCarlo and David North Honored for Unwavering Support of Rising Risk and Insurance Professionals

More than 700 insurance and risk management executives gathered at the Spencer Educational Foundation’s (Spencer) annual fundraising gala on September 19 at the Midtown Hilton Hotel in New York. The group celebrated gala honorees M. Steven DeCarlo, executive chairman at AmWINS Group, Inc. and David North, chairman and CEO of Sedgwick. The event raised more than $1.3M that will fund the development of grants, scholarships, internship and other educational programming for the next generation of risk management and insurance professionals.

At the gala, Spencer honored Renata Bruno, a junior at St. John’s University. Renata is the first recipient of the Elizabeth Lisle Scholarship donated by the two-time Spencer Scholar Elizabeth Lisle. Also honored at the event was Varun Sivakumar, a senior at Temple University. Varun was the first recipient of the 2018 Steven Penman Memorial Scholarship donated by Sedgwick.

“The insurance industry and risk management profession are filled with countless opportunities for future business leaders, but it starts with providing these future leaders with the chance to succeed in the classroom,” said 2019 Spencer Gala Dinner Chair Teresa M. Black. “Today, more than ever before, businesses are counting on the ingenuity of these young professionals to address a myriad of cultural and technological changes. Spencer could not be more proud to bring this industry together, to celebrate the bright and talented students entering the profession and honor the generosity of this amazing professional community.”

Two-Time Spencer Scholar Megan Miller to Lead Foundation as Executive Director


Miller’s Nonprofit and Insurance Experience a “Winning Proposition” for Spencer

The Spencer Educational Foundation (Spencer) today announced the addition of Megan Miller as the Foundation’s executive director. This is a new position and the appointment is effective immediately.

 At Spencer, Ms. Miller will oversee the Foundation’s day-to-day operations including the administration of grants, the Risk Manager in Residence program for universities, and the scholarship and internship programs that support undergraduate and graduate risk management and insurance students. Her responsibilities also include managing Spencer’s fundraising endeavors such as the Spencer Gala, golf outings, the Spencer-RIMS Risk Management Challenge academic competition, the Spencer 5K Fun Run, and others.  

“As a Spencer Scholar myself, I know first-hand just how valuable this Foundation’s support is,” said Ms. Miller. “In addition to its already outstanding lineup of services, I look forward to working with the Spencer team and its esteemed Board Directors to identify new opportunities that pave the way for tomorrow’s risk management and insurance leaders.”

“Megan joins us with an outstanding skillset and background in both the insurance and risk management arena, combined with a long-standing dedication to philanthropic and humanitarian causes,” said Spencer Chair Marya Propis. “Her blend of leadership skills and altruism priorities made her unique candidacy a winning proposition. And, the best part of her story, Megan is a two-time Spencer Scholar. We are excited to gain her perspective and learn from her keen understanding of our mission and our ability to impact lives.”

Ms. Miller comes to Spencer with an extensive background in nonprofit management and working within the insurance and risk management space. Most recently, Ms. Miller was the executive director for The Sasamani Foundation where she managed an international team, developed strategic and fundraising plans and directed all aspects of its financial performance and viability.

Her work within in the insurance industry included employment at Beecher Carlson, Swiss Re , XL Insurance (now AXA XL) and FM Global.She earned her Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University and Master of Business Administration from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.

Spencer funds NYU course to explore insurance data analytics

Spencer awarded a $50,000 grant to New York University’s Center for Data Science to pilot and develop a course that is focused on insurance and insurtech. The course is anticipated to be taught in Fall 2019 and Fall 2020. Michel Léonard, PhD, CBE, who applied for the grant, will create and teach the course.

“We are excited to be investing in curriculum that ties into risk management and insurance industry priorities,” said Spencer Grant Committee Chairperson Andrea Dudek. “Data analytics has become a critical component in corporate and industry decision making. It is critical that our future leaders have the skills needed to make data valuable and actionable. We look forward to working with Dr. Léonard and NYU on this grant.”

Said Dr. Léonard, “The course will showcase the insurance industry’s leadership in expanding the use of A.I. in our daily lives, from self-driving cars to smart homes, cyber security, and predictive modeling, while providing the machine learning skills needed for students to succeed in insurance”

"We are excited to broaden our successful Data Science Masters Program with this offering connecting data science to insurance and insurtech,” said Julia Kempe, Director, NYU Center for Data Science. “This will significantly strengthen the profile of some of our students and prepare them as leading actors in the corporate sector.”

Established in 1979, the Spencer funds the education of tomorrow’s risk and insurance leaders by awarding scholarships, facilitating internship opportunities, providing Risk Manager in Residence programs to universities, and awarding grants to help promote the industry to the next generation. For more information, visit www.spencered.org.

Established in 2013, under founding director Yann LeCun, the NYU Center for Data Science is a focal point for New York University’s university-wide initiative in data science and statistics. The Center was established to help advance NYU’s goal of creating the country’s leading data science training and research facilities, and arming researchers and professionals with tools to harness the power of big data. For more information, visit www.cds.nyu.edu.

Top nine risk management challenge teams named

Spencer is a proud supporter of the 2019 Spencer/RIMS Risk Management Challenge, and we would like to congratulate the top nine teams that will be traveling to the 2019 RIMS Annual Conference & Exhibition in Boston to present their findings before a panel of distinguished industry judges. The nine teams are from (in alphabetical order): Appalachian State University, BCIT, Butler University, Florida State University, Fudan University, St. Joseph’s University, St. Mary’s University, Temple University and the University of Georgia.

To reach this stage in the competition, teams submitted a written paper on a case study. This year the case study involves IKEA. After each team makes its presentation on Sunday, the top three team will be identified and will present in a public session on Monday, April 29. The winner will be announced at the Spencer reception Monday evening.

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Spencer kicks off 40th anniversary in Atlanta

The Foundation began its 40th anniversary celebration in the city where it was established — Atlanta. The Atlanta RIMS Chapter’s Education Conference served as the venue for the foundation to begin celebrating 40 years of funding the education of industry leaders.

Joining the celebration were Robert Spencer’s widow, Charlotte Spencer, and their daughter, Libby Swinson. Founding board member Jim Newton and his wife Judy also attended. A reception also was held for local alumni.

Here is a link to a video of the celebration, streamed live on Facebook. During the event, we debuted a new video:

The Atlanta chapter made a $25,000 contribution to Spencer. Over time, the chapter has contributed more than $500,000 to the foundation. The Chapter has established two named scholarships and has supported the foundation’s ongoing programs.

Foundation Chairperson Marya Propis with Spencer alumna Sunmi Hirata and LaKenya Young.

Foundation Chairperson Marya Propis with Spencer alumna Sunmi Hirata and LaKenya Young.

Celebrating Spencer’s 40th anniversary: Spencer alumni Paulus Ackah (far left), Julia Hellman (third on left) and Sunmi Hirata (far right) talk with Charlotte Spencer, Jim Newton, Judy Newton and Libby Swinson at a reception the night before the luncheon.

Celebrating Spencer’s 40th anniversary: Spencer alumni Paulus Ackah (far left), Julia Hellman (third on left) and Sunmi Hirata (far right) talk with Charlotte Spencer, Jim Newton, Judy Newton and Libby Swinson at a reception the night before the luncheon.

Spencer opens applications for 2019 scholarships and grants

Foundation highlights awards new scholarship opportunity in 2019

“For many years we have offered a Pre-Dissertation Ph.D. scholarship,” said Mr. Tim Meacham, Chair of the Scholarship Committee. “We need to make sure that there are professors in the schools to teach risk management and insurance and are pleased to extend our scholarships to doctoral candidates.”

The Doctoral Candidate Scholarship application will follow a slightly different schedule – opening in November 2019 with a deadline of March 1, 2020.

In 2019, two Doctoral Candidates were awarded $10,000 scholarships: Ms. Juan Zhang of Temple University and Ms. Chenyuan Liu of University of Wisconsin-Madison


“What’s new this year is that we are recognizing academic performance, leadership, community service and commitment to the industry,” said Tim Meacham, chairperson of the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee and COO of Lockton Benefit Companies. “The top five undergraduate applicants as determined by our committee will receive a $7,500 scholarship and named a Spencer Honors Scholar.”

Spencer awards undergraduate scholarships in the amount of $5,000 and Master and pre-dissertation scholarships in the amount of $10,000. Among the criteria students must meet are: they must be a full-time student for the full 2019-2020 academic year; have major or minor in risk management, insurance, actuarial science, business/finance; and have a GPA at or above 3.3. The full list of criteria can be found at https://www.spencered.org/students/scholarships/. Completed applications are due by January 31, 2019.


“Our grants enable risk managers to provide experiential learning opportunities to students,” said Marya J. Propis, chair of the Spencer’s Internship Committee and SVP, Director of Distribution& Broker Partnerships at All Risks, Ltd. “To keep pace with the job market, we are delighted to increase our grant from $5,000 to $7,500 for 2019.”

The Foundation will only be awarding 40 grants for 2019. Risk managers interested in applying for this grant should read the criteria. Applications must be completed by January 9, 2019.

Established in 1979, the Spencer Educational Foundation changes lives and propels careers by awarding scholarships, facilitating internship opportunities, providing a Risk-Manager-in-Residence program to universities, and awarding grants to help promote the industry to the next generation. For more information, visit www.spencered.org.


Spencer Awards 16 Part-time Master’s Scholarships

Total value of scholarships awarded for 2019 exceeds $600,000

June 27, 2019 (NEW YORK) – Spencer, the premier foundation supporting risk management and insurance education, awarded scholarships to 16 industry professionals who are seeking master’s degrees part-time. Each recipient was granted up to $10,000; a total of $148,315 was awarded. Combined with its full-time scholarships, the Foundation awarded 93 scholarships this year totaling $600,815. Since its inception, the Foundation has given out more than 1,143 scholarships.

Tim Meacham, Chair of the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee and COO of Lockton Benefits Companies congratulated the recipients, “These individuals are taking an important step to further their education. Their dedication and commitment to advancing themselves also helps advance the industry as a whole. We would also like to thank our donors, for making the education of tomorrow’s industry leaders possible and accessible.”

The 16 outstanding industry professionals receiving the scholarships this year can be found here:

Spencer Scholars are selected through a rigorous and competitive process. Criteria for evaluation include field of study, career objective, work experience, leadership skills and academic performance.

Applications for the Foundation’s Part-time Master’s Scholarships will be available on the Foundation’s website (www.spencered.org) in February, 2020.

Spencer is moving!

We’re moving offices! Our new address is effective June 4th.

Starting at 12:00pm (eastern time) on Thursday May 31st, we will close the office and suspend our phone and e-mail service as we physically move to our new space. Our website should be unaffected. We will be available to speak and respond to e-mails on Monday, June 4.

Our new address is:

Spencer Educational Foundation
1407 Broadway, 29th Fl.
New York, NY 10018