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From networking to setting work boundaries, a risk professional shares her career advice
Sponsored

From networking to setting work boundaries, a risk professional shares her career advice

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by Megan Burns
29th May 2024
Sponsored By

Louise Campion, Director in Risk Assurance at PwC explains how technology and expertise combine to not only mitigate risk, but also to foresee opportunity. Plus, she shares her own personal tips for success.

When we hear the word “risk”, many of us will inherently think of its negative connotations. We think of danger, of the potential for problems to arise. However, as Louise Campion, Director in Risk Assurance at PwC knows, risk is something that’s built into business, and with the right direction can be harnessed into opportunities.

“I work with clients to identify risks earlier and faster to ensure they minimise disruption to their organisation and are more resilient going forward,” she explains. “I also assist them in managing risks, exploring every angle to turn threats into competitive advantage to deliver results aligned to their strategy.”

 

She has been with PwC for over 12 years, initially joining as part of their banking team in the audit practice, but moving over to risk assurance services. She loves how she gets the opportunity to work across different industries from financial services to public sector, and across topics including  enterprise risk management, operational risk, outsourcing, business continuity and resilience, as well as various regulations across different sectors.

In the past, Louise explains, risk professionals tended to come from an accounting background, and while she herself is a qualified accountant, there’s now a really broad range of skills required for the role. “There are the technical skills that you need to keep up to date with industry trends and new and emerging regulations, and we’re also seeing a trend towards more specialists in areas such as cybersecurity, IT resilience, outsourcing, and climate change.”

She also points out that soft skills are hugely important for working within teams internally, and with clients. “Today’s business environment is more complex than ever before.Risk professionals need to be able to understand what’s happening in the organisation, analyse the data and tell the story it contains as well as be agile, as everything is changing constantly.”

The ability to sift through data and see real-world solutions is only becoming more important as the use of technology increases and the amount of data available grows. “We’re living in a world where technology is really advanced,” Louise says. “Changes are happening at a faster pace than ever. It brings some challenges and risks for organisations, but it also benefits as well. Technology is being used to have a more forward-looking, and data-driven approach, helping organisations predict what’s coming down the line.”

This aids in taking  a more proactive approach to risk management, making changes before they are necessary. What’s key, she says, is a “human-led, tech-enabled approach – it helps businesses make informed risk-based decisions in order to create business opportunities”.

If organisations don’t take risks, they don’t progress, but taking risks intelligently is one of the ways they can transform and survive, while creating value and building resilience.

So while some companies may think of risk as a function that helps them avoid potential problems, Louise explains, risk professionals can help build strong risk and resilience capabilities to differentiate those organisations that thrive and those that fight to survive.

“Incorporating risk management into your strategy brings a lot of benefits and really unlocks potential. If organisations don’t take risks, they don’t progress, but taking risks intelligently is one of the ways they can transform and survive, while creating value and building resilience. I think the biggest risk is doing nothing at all.” Louise explains that PwC conducted a global crisis and resilience survey that showed 96 per cent of organisations have experienced a disruption in the last two years, proving that it is not a case of if a business will experience change, but when.

It’s a fast-paced career which requires constant adaptation and learning, which is what Louise loves about it. It does require careful time management, as well as setting good boundaries between your work and home life. As she has progressed through the ranks, she also emphasises the importance of building a good team around you with a multidisciplinary skill set. “There’s a lot of teamwork and collaboration, which I enjoy. It’s also important to create a positive working environment. Having strong leadership skills and communication skills is key to providing direction to both clients, and teams to solve clients’ complex problems and manage their risk profile.”

Louise says that during her time at PwC she has worked with some inspiring female leaders. “I can see the challenging, rewarding careers they’ve had within Risk.” Her advice to anyone starting off in this field rings true for all of us. “Be confident and don’t underestimate your capabilities.”

Louise’s top tips for career success

Working with organisations across many industries, and climbing the ladder within PwC herself, Louise has seen first hand how people succeed in their careers. Here is the advice she would give others.

Learn how to manage deadlines

“It’s challenging and demanding when you’ve got competing deadlines, so good time management skills are key. I use my calendar to block off time to make sure that I have the focus time to complete the tasks that are required, which does require being organised and planning ahead. It is important to prioritise tasks, avoid distractions and allow sufficient time for unexpected delays.”

Set boundaries between your work and personal life

“It’s important to switch off, to allow you to recharge and refocus. Spending time with family and friends is really important to me, and I enjoy team sports – basketball and tag rugby. Make sure that you have time for the things you enjoy, and plan your work day around that as well. Every so often it’s good to take a step back and reflect. You have to adapt at times to manage your work life balance as well, and see what the right balance is at that particular time.”

Build trusted relationships

“I think having strong interpersonal skills is really important for building trusted relationships and networking. You’re constantly dealing with people, from clients, to your teams, so it’s important to be able to effectively interact, communicate and connect with others. Being able to manage relationships is what separates the best people.”

Be confident

“Be confident and don’t underestimate your capabilities. Don’t be afraid to come out of your comfort zone. I think oftentimes we make excuses rather than overcoming our fears. Recognise your strengths, skills and the value you bring to your teams and projects.”

Find a mentor

“Seek out a good mentor as you progress through your career. Someone who can provide guidance, support and opportunities. It might not necessarily be someone you work with, but finding a good mentor and coach can be really helpful. I have, and continue to have, unwavering support from my mentors and leaders as I progress through my career here in PwC.”

Managing risk isn’t about responding to change. It’s about changing the way we see risk, shifting our perspective and considering different angles to anticipate and be agile. To find out how PwC can help your business, visit PwC.ie.

Photography: Kieran Harnett

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