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Stand out and succeed: Leadership tips for Risk Management - Valerie Loi

Stand out and succeed: Leadership tips for Risk Management - Valerie Loi
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.

valerie Loi

Valerie Loi is currently the General Manager Risk Management at Allianz Australia. Valerie started her career in professional services and moved to the banking sector where she found her passion for risk management, she then moved to the public infrastructure sector and enjoyed applying her risk management expertise in another context. Valerie is passionate about changing negative perceptions of risk management and loves the dynamic nature of her role.

1. What factors do you think have been critical to the success you have achieved in your career?

From the outset of my career, my attitude was always to take full ownership and be positive about every piece of work I was given, even if the work was tedious or I knew the work would be subject to layers of managerial review – I always imagined that my work would be the ‘final product’ and asked myself if I would be proud to present the work to the end customer, be that an external client, investors or to senior management. Owning the work doesn’t only mean you need to deliver to a high quality, but it also means you need to deliver on time and look for ways to continuously improve. As a result, my ability to deliver has allowed me to develop a strong personal brand in the companies I’ve worked in and over time I was given more and more opportunities.

However, as a contrast to the above, I’ve also learned from an early stage of my career that the success of your career is not just about how hard you work as unfortunately, your work doesn’t always speak for itself so you really need to surround yourself with people who will advocate for you and value your contribution.

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

This piece of advice I received from a board director. He reminded me to keep in perspective how long a typical corporate career goes for and it’s OK to take some ‘time out’ – this advice was particularly relevant when I was deciding how long to take for maternity leave. Each time faced with the decision to take maternity leave, I was never really sure if taking 12 months was somehow too long to be out of the corporate world, but now looking back years later, taking the maximum amount of time on maternity leave for each of my kids was one of the best decisions I’ve made and it helped me with some of the guilt new mums put on themselves when they try to balance their careers with their home life. From there, this advice for me has morphed into a ‘family first’ motto, which helps me with my career as I can only be the best version of me at work when I have balance in my life (whatever ‘balance’ looks like with three kids!)

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

Starting in a brand new industry at quite a senior level was quite daunting for me. When I was appointed the CFO/CRO of Sydney Metro, it really was a test for me to see if I could transfer my skills from private sector financial services to public sector infrastructure. I was leading a large team at Sydney Metro and some team members had SME knowledge on certain topics than I could never dream of having, but when you’re leading a function, you don’t always need to be able to do all the work each team member does, it’s much broader than that – you need to be comfortable with making decisions, connecting information and be able to clear roadblocks for your team. To make good decisions, you need reliable data sources (be that the SMEs in your team you can rely on or empirical data). To connect information, you need to step out of the details and share information transparently. To clear roadblocks for the team, you need to know how to influence others.

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

I would skill up on data analytics. Excel was the tool of choice for my generation, but I feel like that’s quickly becoming redundant with the way AI is developing.