On Risky Women “Radio”: Robots, Resilience and Risk Management

“Be bold, be confident and trust your gut. Embrace everything that comes your way with full gusto.”

This is the advice that Lucy Pearman, Managing Director and Global Lead of Protiviti’s TRANSFORM Risk and Compliance practice, says she would give to her younger self if she could. In a conversation with Kimberley Cole, founder of Risky Women, a global network connecting, celebrating and championing women in risk, regulation and compliance, Pearman discussed her career journey, the evolving role of risk managers and how the COVID-19 pandemic has become an accelerator of change for organizations.

Passionate about connecting and inspiring women to be bold, to extend and take risks, Pearman is the new host of the Risky Women Transformation podcast. The podcast is a series of interviews that will highlight innovation in governance, risk and compliance through conversations with female leaders in key transformation and risk roles. She gave the advice to her younger self on the inaugural episode, launched on February 26, during which she was the featured guest. In subsequent episodes — which will be available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and RSS feeds — Pearman will officially assume the role of host of the series.

During the lively and wide-ranging conversation, Cole and Pearman discussed disruptive ideas, changing organizational priorities due to the pandemic and the importance of building resilience. Pearman said one provocative thought that is circulating in the risk management realm is the possibility that risk managers or compliance officers will someday be replaced by robots. It’s a controversial idea, particularly given how risk management and compliance functions have increased significantly over the last 5 to 10 years. Pearman said there’s some truth to this notion.

“There’s absolutely the ability to apply robotics to do some of the more mundane tasks of managing risks, which frees up risk officers to really be trusted advisors,” she said.

Organizations are having conversations about how to automate risk management, and “actually help risk managers get off the spreadsheets and be closer to the deals environment,” Pearman said, adding that the goal is to make the risk managers more productive and equip them to make real-time decisions.

She also said that “embracing a virtual culture is going to [have] the biggest impact on organizations as we move through 2021 and into 2022.”

Pearman stressed the importance of developing and maintaining a resilient operating model, but she also described reducing costs as a necessary accompaniment to that work. “Therein lies the challenge for many organizations, which is where the transformation strategy really, really helps. Because to maintain a resilient operating model whilst reducing your cost base is hard. And it needs good sound advice to help get through that journey,” she explained.

In the rapid-fire round of the conversation, Pearman rattled off these responses: “People are the industry’s biggest risk”; “Tenacity is the best quality of successful leaders”; and “’Our Iceberg is Melting’ by John Kotter is the one book I’d recommend to all transformation leaders.”

The inaugural episode of the Risky Women Transformation Series, sponsored by Protiviti, is less than 29 minutes long, but it touches on many topics that are planned for the series. You can listen to the full audio here. The remainder of the series will draw upon the vibrant global network in the rapidly growing, evolving and influential discipline that is risk management.

You can also learn more about Risky Women by visiting their website here.

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