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Stand out and succeed: Leadership tips for Risk & Compliance - Natasha Foster

Stand out and succeed: Leadership tips for Risk & Compliance - Natasha Foster
Submitted by Sayoojya on

As part of our ongoing commitment to our specialist communities, we interview accomplished leaders on a monthly basis to bring you insights on their career progression and advice that will help you progress your career further.

Natasha Foster

Natasha Foster is CEO at Swift Risk Solutions. Natasha’s claim to fame is creating dynamic and transformational risk management capabilities in organisations to enable the delivery of business objectives and strategy through the balancing of risk and opportunity. I work closely with the businesses to balance risk and reward, always seeking to put the customer first.


1. What factors have been critical to your success in your career?

Incredible support from different sponsors. Sponsors are people who are there to cheer you on, on an everyday basis. They are your advocates when you aren’t in the room and provide support.

I am also a big volunteer, I was keen to learn credit in the banking industry and I proactively sought extra projects from the Head of Retail Credit who I ended up working for. I recommend being bold and brave and going outside of your domain of expertise to learn, and not being afraid of breaking boundaries.

At this stage in my career, I want to give back and therefore I sponsor women in risk, championing them to dare to be different and bring a different lens to the world of risk.

2. What's the most valuable piece of advice you have received in your career and how did it help you?

A quote that has resonated for me over the years is from Benjamin Disraeli who said “Success is the consistency of purpose”.

I really kept focused on what I want to deliver as a human being, both personally and professionally. I try not to ruminate over the small setbacks and focus on the bigger picture. This is not always easy, but when you keep your eye on the prize, everything else will follow.

The best piece of advice I have received in my career has been that your team is your greatest asset. For me, it completely changed my leadership style. I used to believe that leading from the front was what people needed, however, I now understand that I work with the team, the team doesn’t work for me. My role is to clear obstacles and enable them to deliver.

3. What's the most challenging situation you have faced in your career and how did you overcome it?

The most challenging situation I have faced in my career was moving companies and countries in the midst of a global pandemic. After ten years offshore, returning to Australia was both exhilarating and frightening. To add more, I was moving industries from corporate to not for profit.

There was so much change happening that I had to compartmentalise each aspect of my life and ask for help! I have an amazing network that jumped in to help me re-establish myself in Australia, reacquainting me with Australian company culture and the way we do things here. I’ve been back for over two years and am loving every aspect of life!

4. If you were starting your career now, what would you do differently?

I do wish I would have taken the time to sit in my breadth of roles and enjoy them. These were the most influential roles of my career and they have shaped me into the person I am professionally, and personally. When I reflect, I do think I could have been kinder to myself and taken the time to understand the value I brought to the business early on in my career. My favorite interview question is what are the three things you will give to the role and what are the three things the role will give to you.

Enjoy the role you are doing at the time – this is advice I give to my mentees. You will feel connected with the role.

For me, it’s about understanding your value – and being able to say this in a 20/30 second elevator pitch.

5. Key advice to young professionals

Don’t put your career in someone else’s hands – you need to love it and live it. We spend so much of our time at work that if you don’t love your career you aren’t going to feel satisfaction in a big piece of your life. I have never trusted my career with anyone else but myself, I have made each move carefully, understanding the risks (no pun intended) and the opportunities that each move presented to me. I am very clear on my expectations of both myself and the company I work for.

I would never compromise my personal values for a professional outcome. They need to be in sync.