Welcome to our Risky Women Transformation series where Lucy Pearman talks change, innovation, and what’s next in the world of governance, risk, and compliance. Lucy Pearman is the global leader for Protiviti’s TRANSFORM Risk and Compliance practice and focuses on innovating the field of risk management. She has more than 20 years of experience leading complex change initiatives across a variety of organisations to optimise their business performance through operational effectiveness, enhanced governance, process automation and emerging technologies. Click below to listen to episode one.
Episode 1 – The Transformation Journey
Welcome to Risky Women Radio. Today’s risky woman is Lucy Pearman. And this is the start of our Transformation series. We will be talking about change innovation and take a look ahead at the views from some amazing risky women on what’s next in the world of governance risk and compliance. And who better to kick off the transformation series? Let me briefly introduce Lucy Pearman. Lucy is the global leader for Protiviti’s Transform risk and compliance practice and focuses on innovating in the field of risk management. She has more than 20 years of experience leading complex change initiatives across a variety of organisations to optimise their business performance through operational effectiveness, enhanced governance, process automation and emerging technologies. Prior to joining Protiviti Lucy was the managing director at Deutsche Bank, where she held several leadership positions including the head of regulatory transformation for the Americas and the controls office for the commercial and investment bank. Before that, Lucy held change leadership roles at HSBC, Barclays and RBS (Coutts Wealth Management). So let’s start our transformation journey. Welcome, Lucy.
Thank you, Kimberley, thank you for having me.
So I gave a brief bio, but I’d love to hear in your words more about your sort of career journey and your story to date.
So I started my change journey over 20 years ago, I started out as an IT programmer. So building developing b2b and b2c solutions. So I was the proud programmer on the first ever Eurotunnel ticketing website. So that really probably shows my age, I very quickly progressed from being a programmer to wanting to be the project manager. So started to manage IT projects and then had a very traditional kind of trajectory up through the program management route to leading portfolios, and then transitioning over to the business side of transformation. And that’s where I spent the last 10 years of my career, really on the business side of change, and helping organisations change their people, their processes, and implement new technology.
Fantastic. We’ll dig into more of that a little later on. But I’m not sure how many of our listeners will know Protiviti. So can you give us an overview of the firm and specifically around your practice?
Yeah, sure. Protiviti is a global consulting firm. And we deliver deep expertise objective in science and a tailored approach, and collaboration to help organisations confidently face the future. So really, Protiviti is a very progressive working organisation to help with the future. We help our clients address challenges and opportunities in technology, in finance, in transformation, business process, risk compliance transactions and internal audit. So real breadth of experience across the Protiviti organisation. My solution fits into the transformation space, and risk and compliance so really covers both of those angles, helping organisations change their risk management processes. Protiviti is an organisation that believes really in teaming together with each other and with our clients, we adopt a really agile mindset, so that we can collaborate with our clients and with each other to really find the right solutions to solve problems, particularly in the fast changing world that we’re all starting to live in as a result of COVID. So we’ve got more than four and a half thousand people and more than 85 offices in 20 countries. We’ve served over 60% of Fortune 1000 companies and 35% of Fortune Global 500 companies. And our values are important to us. And this really is resonant for me and the segment in the work that we’re doing. Integrity, so we’re really committed to doing the right thing in all situations. We’re a very inclusive organisation. So we succeed through teamwork through global collaboration, through diversity and just respect for each other. And we’re innovative. We expect value and deliver new ideas and approaches for our staff, and really embrace an innovative mindset as we’re solving our client’s problems.
Brilliant, I think we’re going to have a lot of opportunity to explore several of those ideas and with your customers as well, which will be fantastic. So what really excites you most about the industry at the moment?
I think, the constant evolution the industry is going through so much change and COVID really been an accelerator for that. And it’s looking to constantly reinvent itself. So it gives people like me who are in transformation careers a real opportunity to help an organisation think through their problems and find the right solution for them, that works for them and gives them the benefits that they’re looking for very specific to their organisation.
Great. Yeah. So back to you. What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in your career?
Two risks I can think of Kimberley, the first one was when I was at university or college, as it’s known in the US, I was studying for international business studies with modern languages, and then I was going to be a translator for the UN. It was either that or a concert pianist. And I decided,
I love it, what a choice!
And I decided I was gonna do none of the above. And I was going to go and get myself a job before I graduated, and really had a strong desire to get into the workforce, and just learn business. And that’s exactly what I did. So that was a huge risk. That was a huge frustration for my parents. But it was one that really paid off because I took to the commercial world much better, despite expectations, than I’d enjoyed being in the academic environment. So that was when I was probably young, and probably more giddy headed than I am today. Then the second risk I took was moving to the US. I took a role to transition with a banking organisation from EMEA into the US, it was a much smaller role. But it really gave me a trigger point to inject some real disruptive change into my own life. And it paid off me and my family. And now living in the US. We’ve been here for five years. And it’s proven an incredibly valuable risk that we all took as a family.
I think it’s always interesting, that sort of risk versus opportunity, you know, two sides of the same coin. So yeah, really interesting on especially international moves, I would agree. And then what advice would you give to your younger self, when you know starting out your career journey?
Be open minded and go with the flow. Don’t put yourself inside a box. So you grow up with you mum and dad telling you you must be a lawyer, you must be a doctor at least that’s that’s for my generation. And none of the above is true. So I think I would tell my younger self, be bold, be confident, and trust your gut. Because you know yourself better than anybody and what you’re really good at. So be open minded. Embrace everything that comes your way, with full gusto.
Love it. So just to end this section, then who inspires you? And are there any risky women or just women in general, that inspire you?
I’m inspired by all women, I think women, particularly those in senior leadership roles, you know, faced day by day challenges, and we still live in a world where it can be quite undiverse. So I really, really admire every woman that’s really trying to forge a really strong career, in risk, in transformation, in anything. And kind of fighting those day by day challenges that unfortunately, we still do experience. So kudos to all women that are really, you know, trying to make a difference.
Lovely. So thanks so much for sharing about your career journey so far, and some really interesting areas. And there’s going to be a lot more time for our risky women to get to know you, as we are super excited to have you take the reins and move to my side of the microphone for the rest of our transformation journey. I think it’s a really fascinating area, and there’s so much that we can discuss so it’s going to be fantastic to dig into a few more areas around transformation.
This episode is brought to you by Protiviti. Protiviti is a global consulting firm with deep expertise in transformation, risk management and compliance. Partner with productivity and face the future with confidence.
So let’s sort of set the scene now. Can you outline the landscape as you see it and you know, what are the biggest challenges and opportunities that you’re sort of talking to your customers about.
Yeah, sure. I mean, I think we’re living in an incredibly dynamic and ever changing landscape. I think everything that we knew before, and all the rules that we knew before no longer apply. And that’s the same for risk management, we are really facing a future of high uncertainty and high risk. We tend as humans, and as organisations to react to those changes very quickly. They cost a lot of money, they’re not sustainable, we put quick fix solutions in, which actually puts even more pressure on the resilience of an organisation. And I think what we’re gonna look, you know, to it in the future. And what I’m certainly experiencing with clients, is a real appetite for turning back to basics. And taking a step back and looking at the basic risk management framework. If we put that into the context of what we’re trying to do. Then question where the true synergies are. I think risk management has mushroomed over the last 10 or 15 years from the pressures that have been applied by the regulators, and particularly in the US market where the scrutiny is so high by the regulators, they operate, you know, so differently to to the rest of the globe, which are fairly strategic. And people are really questioning why the mushroom? Why the need for the increasing costs, why can’t we simplify the way that we manage risk across our organisation, and then apply the right technology to solve that problem. So I think we’re really starting to see that swing back to having an effective risk management operation that’s enabled by technology, rather than what we’ve seen the last five years with, with digital being used as a buzzword, and the the heavy investment made in digital to improve the customer experience, and nothing done to help the downstream impact for our managers.
Yes, it’s certainly an interesting time in which we live. So what are the some of the most disruptive or thought provoking ideas that you’re hearing at the moment?
The most provocative thought that I’m hearing is there’s no longer a need for risk managers, or compliance officers, and actually, they can be replaced by robots. And that’s controversial, you know, given the risk management and compliance functions have grown so significantly over the last 5 to 10 years. That’s a very provocative thought. And there’s some truth to it. 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 sitting with the traders and giving them real time advice. So that’s the most provocative thought. And I think, in general, Kimberley, there’s lots of conversations around how to really, truly automate risk management, and actually help risk managers get off the spreadsheets, and be closer to the deals environment and help make a more productive, real time credit decision for traders as they’re doing their business.
Yeah, very interesting. I think it’s interesting as well, because there’s been a lot of fears around the sort of black box technology and what’s actually going on. So yeah, that’s quite quite a disruptive thought to think taking people out of the equation. So when you think about transformation, and the changes that we really need to see, what is your vision? And how are you sort of doing this with Protiviti in your practice?
I think our focus is to solve real problems. So I think from a consultancy perspective, you tend to see a focus on providing a solution, rather than solving the problem that you’ve specifically going in hand. And I think that’s something that we really want to drive through for the Transform risk and compliance segment of creativity is solving real industry life problems. And using technology innovation and data to help innovate and transform the risk management processes rather than to replace them and not add the value and drive the benefits that an organisation needs. I think the solutions that we want to put in place, and that we’re working through with clients is really taking risk management from the beginning and aligning it to a business strategy. So you’ve got a very, very focused risk aligned business strategy that flows through the organisation and helps risk management have effective controls in place and proactively manage risk. So you end up with a very optimal risk management framework that’s able to support the business and be reactive to it in a way more dynamic way, I think you see lots of investment in the digital customer experience, you don’t see so much investment in risk management. So I think what we want to try and achieve as a set of solutions for our clients is wrapping risk management and compliance around the digital customer experience, and avoiding the additional costs and lack of value that’s driven by bolting on solutions to those more digital technologies that are being implemented in the front office. So forging and merging the two concepts together, rather than as two separate entities.
Yeah, I think that’s a really interesting approach. What do you see that transformation means for the industry in a broader sense? And what are the top priorities?
I think transformation means lots of different things to the industry. And I think it depends where clients are on their maturity scale. So at the bottom end of the maturity scale, you’ve got organisations that are just trying to stabilise their processes. So you’ve got organisations that are in a very heavy state of remediation. And transformation for them means just getting a stable set of processes that enables them to operate within their risk appetite. And then you’ve got at the extreme end of that maturity scale organisations that are really embracing digital technologies, and using robots and using machine learning using artificial intelligence, using predictive analytics to really drive the customer experience. So I think transformation can mean so many different things to industry today, depending upon where they are in their own levels of maturity. I think the top priorities for the financial services today are twofold. It’s having an incredibly resilient operating model, at the same time, as driving down their cost base. And I think therein lies the challenge for many organisations, 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.
And what does it mean kind of for individuals as well?
I think it means for individuals, we have to embrace a different mindset, I think there’s a completely different approach to managing your own career. I think there’s a culture of continuous learning that everybody needs to adopt, and be agile, I think, you know, being able to react to your environment is more important than it ever was today, and making sure that you’ve got those skills that the workforce, the organisation around you needs. So being very in tune with the trends of your organisation, and where you’re going, so that you can really maintain your relevance and really prove yourself a strong leader in these fairly adverse times that we’re operating in.
Yeah, very, very good points. So when you think about leading companies, what are you seeing that they are doing in order to successfully transform?
I’m seeing organisations be really successful when they’re embracing the concept of a virtual culture, and creating a future ready workforce. So to have a future ready workforce doesn’t mean rolling out new training. It means really thinking outside the box, it means co-creating with vendors, whether that’s a technology vendor, whether that’s a marketing vendor, but ultimately getting into a co-creation state of mind. So you’re not trying to solve the problem on your own, you’re trying to solve it with other people. Another really progressive idea is to create capacity and capability outside of your own organisation. So I’m starting to see organisations think about teaming up and creating a bench so that they can effectively manage their resources and make sure that they’re all fully occupied. I mean, if you think about JP Morgan and Bank of America sharing resources, those organisations that are starting to embrace those kind of revolutionary ideas are really starting to forge a way forward. Particularly in the 21-22 timescale, where the workplace that we knew yesterday isn’t the workplace we’re going to know tomorrow.
Really interesting. And look you’ve been involved in change and transformation projects for a very long time. When we’re transforming by its very nature means change. So how is change best handled?
With extreme care and empathy. I think the people aspect of change is always forgotten and underestimated. So most organisations tend to focus on the process and technology elements of change, because it’s easy to rewrite a process. Using Visio, or some other workflow tool like Promap, it’s easy to implement a new system, even though it feels hard at the time. But the people side of change is really, really hard. And taking people on that journey with you. And sustaining that change by making sure those people who have got the skills to be able to manage their jobs in that future environment you’re creating for them, is the bit that most forgotten, the most valuable part of any change journey.
And why do you think transformation is so important? And and I guess, on the other side of it, you know, what, what’s the consequences of not transforming?
I think the consequences of not transforming is you lose your relevancy. You know, we’re living in an environment where there is a lot of competition, particularly in the banking environment, there’s more and more challenger banks coming to the fray, there’s fintechs, that are starting to operate as banking organisations. So if an organisation isn’t agile, and isn’t open to change, and innovative, it will just lose its relevancy. And it really needs that constant transformation, I think transformation itself is changing, you know, from the more traditional three to five year programmes that we’re used to seeing, to a culture of continuous innovation and change, so that organisations can remain competitive. But also, the investment in change becomes much, much smaller, and much more manageable when it’s continuous, instead of these multimillion dollar programmes that get abandoned halfway through because the organisation’s can no longer afford them. So it’s relevancy.
Yeah, that’s really interesting. And in thinking about the future, you know, what do you think is going to make the biggest impact?
I think, adopting a virtual culture. So coming back to our people aspects of change, our reality is that COVID has changed the way we live. If we have gone back to work, after three, four or five months of COVID happening, we would have gone back to the way we were. But our reality is that we’re looking at virtual cultures being here to stay. And it’s going to be really impactful for organisations that embrace that cultural change, and can get it right, because how do you integrate people from other organisations into your organisation’s virtually, and help them really adopt the culture that you want the values that you have in a virtual environment? So I think embracing all of that is going to be the biggest impact on organisations as we move through 2021 and into 2022.
I’m so glad that we’ve got a whole series on transformation, because I feel like we’ve only really just sort of touched on, you know, the very top level of what we could get into here. So for this session, though, what are those first steps that an organisation needs to take to begin their transformation journey, and then we will move on to some fun things.
It’s a really simple set of steps. And I think it’s not over engineering the simplicity of those first baby steps. It’s working out how do you operate today? How do you want to operate? And what’s the steps that you need to take to get there? And keeping it that simple. And not letting technology or any other thing complicate the very simple statement of how do I get from A to B? And what do I want B to be? And how is it beneficial to me to get to that space? So I think just those those very three simple steps are absolutely critical for really successful transformation.
Brilliant. Well, I’m looking forward to hearing more from you, Lucy, of course, but also from our guests on our transformation journey, so it’s gonna be a fantastic series.
Connecting, celebrating and championing women in risk regulation and compliance, Risky Women Radio takes an intimate look at the rants and revelations of the top women shaping the debate and the industry.
So on to one of my favorite sections of Risky Women Radio is our rants and revelations. We would love to hear what is your revelation? So that light bulb moment something that shaped the choices that you made in your career?
Really basic trust of my own instincts. I was sat in a room in a banking organisation being told about how everything was not being done well. And I had a revelation whilst I was sat there being reprimanded thinking, no, what we’re doing IS really good. You just can’t see it. And I need to help us See it. And that was really pivotal for me for moving into the more business transformation, the cultural behavioral change, that I’ve really kind of warmed to in my career, instead of reacting and defending myself, putting myself in the other person’s shoes and helping them understand what they needed to be able to see.
Great. And then on the other side, what’s your rant? What is that one thing that, you know, if you’re a ruler of the world for the day that you would change?
This is going to sound incredibly cheesy, but freedom, real freedom, everybody to have the right to be who they want to be in whichever form they want to be without any prejudice. I think if I could make that happen, we would be a lot happier human race.
Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so now on to our rapid fire around!
Risky Women is a vibrant network at the center of a global community in a rapidly growing, evolving and influential industry. Given the continued pace of change, our rapid fire round revisits the most pressing topics to share ideas and offer listeners new perspectives.
In one word, what do you see is the top priority for the year ahead?
And what is the biggest risk for our industry?
Ooooh. Best quality for successful leaders in risk or transformation roles?
And if you could teach one subject in school, what would it be?
Oh, okay. And who do you most admire?
Ahhh, I love it. And one book that you would recommend to all with transformation leaders in mind.
That sounds interesting. I’ll definitely have to look at that one. Okay, well, that brings this episode of Risky Women Radio to an end, but I’m super excited to hand over the reins to you Lucy and continue on our transformation series journey. I think it’s gonna be a fantastic one as you have outlined and set the scene for there is so much change going on. There is so much transformation and agility needed. I love the how do we stay relevant. So I think there’s going to be really amazing sets of interviews coming up. So thank you for joining us today and we look forward to having you hosting us on the next series of interviews.
Thank you very much, Kimberley, and I’m really excited to interview some of these really great women we’ve got coming up on the podcasts.
Thank you for listening to this exciting episode of Risky Women Radio to connect, champion and celebrate women in risk, regulation, and compliance. I’m Kimberley Cole, based in Hong Kong. For more information on the Risky Women global network, head to our website, in the Episode Notes and please be part of the ongoing conversation by subscribing to this podcast, connecting with us @RiskyWomen on Twitter or even reaching out to me directly by email.
Episodes 2-6 Coming Soon – Stay Tuned!
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