Women in Risk and Control was created as a collaborative industry initiative to positively impact gender diversity at the most senior levels of non-financial risk management. In the second in a series of online events celebrating Women in Risk and Control’s first anniversary, WiRC founder Rupal Patel joined Harrington Starr Chief Customer Officer Nadia Edwards on her Women in Fintech podcast to discuss how the initiative is enabling meaningful connections within the risk and control community and giving women a platform to share their voice. 

Here are Rupal’s five key takeaways from the podcast: 

1. Empowering women in risk and control 

“Women in Risk and Control really aims to empower individuals regardless of the stage they are at in their career journeys. It is specifically focused on risk and control because that is an area, I am passionate about and can support, but I also want to drive that group of people to be the best they can be and help each other. The idea is really simple—it’s about helping one person and that person helping someone else, about empowering yourself and others to keep moving, learning from the skills and talent within the community, and network to continue your career journey.” Explaining the value of a risk professional to the business needs a certain skill set; one that can explain controls are there to make revenue within a set risk appetite, or to put it another way to help save the revenue already made. It takes a certain skill set to get that message across to the business, hence the need to empower each other to be able to have meaningful conversations with our stakeholders. 

2. Advocate for yourself and your team 

“The community is about engaging with people to learn from them to get to where you want to be. A really common misconception I had in my early career was if you do a really good job, you will get noticed. I remember one of my bosses saying to me if you do a really good job at X, Y and Z, you will get promoted—but I didn’t get the promotion. The CFO said I heard you’ve done an excellent job, but I have not seen the work you’ve done, and at that point it clicked in my head—I hadn’t advocated for myself enough. So regardless of what anyone says, it’s really important that you have the strength, and you’re brave enough to advocate for yourself, that you can lift your head up from the work you do daily, because that does not speak for itself. Advocating for yourself means showcasing the work you do, but that also includes the work you do as a team, so it’s about bringing the whole team to the table and saying we did this and my role was…” 

3. Community collaboration  

“We wanted to create an environment where people can speak up and be part of the conversation. Our LinkedIn group is a platform for you to share your own thought leadership pieces, to share your own blogs and your own content. I’m more than happy to collaborate with individuals who want to create a piece and write that piece together, or even to just review that piece for them. The idea is that people do not often have the opportunity to showcase their talent or their thoughts, but within the risk and control group that we’re trying to create here, the idea is we can all learn from each other, but more importantly it’s a platform for you to share those ideas.” 

4. Policies for authentic inclusion 

“The policy is really the tip of the iceberg—it is where you say you’re going to do something, but really it’s the doing that creates a change. Culture is critical when implementing policy and bringing it to life, and that happens by training your workforce and making sure they understand what inclusivity is about. It’s about calling out when people are not being included, but it’s also about taking responsibility no matter where you are within that organisation—if you’re at the top it’s about making sure that people are included, and if you’re not at the top, equally it’s about saying I have the skillset and I should be included in this conversation because I can offer X, Y and Z. That can only happen if there is an open culture where you’re able to speak up.” 

5. How to drive inclusion in the workplace 

“Diversity is important, but diversity alone doesn’t mean you are included. You have to embody inclusivity in everything that you do—celebrate individual ideas, celebrate that diversity—but bring that individuality and that diversity to the table and really communicate and engage with your workforce. It’s really important that from the top all the way down to the bottom of the organisation there is a two-way communication flow. Talking about a strategy and talking about what’s going right and what’s going wrong in order to create an inclusive workforce. To do that you need to have the right values and those values can only come if everyone really embodies a culture that respects each other.” 

Want to discover more about the WiRC community or keep up to date with all the latest WiRC news and events? Join the Women in Risk and Control LinkedIn group here.  

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