Guest Blog - Women in Risk & Compliance: Louise Capps, SocietyOne

At Morgan McKinley, we are passionate about supporting women across the disciplines that we operate within. As part of our latest series of guest blogs from leading senior females across Risk Mangement & Compliance, I sat down with Louise Capps as she shared her success stories, career-defining moments and what advice she would give to another female looking to pursue a similar career.

louise_capps_photo.jpgProfile: Louise has worked as a risk and compliance professional in the financial services sector for nearly 15 years. Starting her career in risk consulting, she has managed teams in wholesale banking, global transnational banking, credit cards, insurance and strategic institutional projects. 

Louise is the Head of Risk and Compliance at SocietyOne and is responsible for driving all activities under the risk and compliance frameworks and providing independent advice to all business areas. Prior to this Louise held senior risk roles at a number of significant financial service organisations, including  Westpac/BT, QBE and Cuscal.

Across her roles, Louise has been a passionate advocate for stronger risk and compliance culture within organisations. She has focused on making risk and compliance understandable and approachable to everyone and driving cross-business collaboration. This has been a key driver to her success at mature capability and the value that risk and compliance can add to a business. 

What are the key habits that you feel make you successful?

  • Build strong relationships - learn about your stakeholders and put effort into building strong relationships, whether they be colleagues, superiors, directly related to your business or outside of that business. Be willing to adapt your communication style to build a relationship.
  • Always listen first - the best decisions and engagements are made once you understand the viewpoint and information known by others. You can be surprised by how open people will be and what they will share if they feel you are always listening.  
  • Be consistent and structured in your approach - stakeholders can feel more confident when they understand that you have a consistent and transparent approach. You are also less likely to have things fall through the cracks when you have lots of projects and activities going on. 
  • Look at the bigger picture - look a year ahead, many years ahead, look for the unexpected, understand your data, industry and business trends. 

What's the most valuable piece of advice you have received in your career and how did it help you?
When I took on my first role managing a team I had an exception manager who passed on lots of great advice. One of the best pieces of advice he shared was to always present yourself as the professional you want to be and the role you want to hold in the future. Be conscious and deliberate in how you present yourself and your work, regardless as to whether it is to senior stakeholders, external stakeholders, other people in the organisation, or at the Christmas party. How you present yourself will influence how others see you and can influence the opportunities available to you in the future.  

He was also an exceptional mentor and coach. He demonstrated the value that comes when you empower your team and lead people to be the best version of themselves.  Individuals became more motivated and successful and the team worked cohesively, achieving outstanding results. 

What's the most challenging situation you have faced in your career and how did you overcome it?
I was dropped into a role where there was an existing conflict between the objectives of the risk team and the Executive business head and sponsor. The first few engagements I attended were terse and an invitation to participate was severed shortly after. 

My response was to investigate what had led these stakeholders to be so frustrated and why they thought they were not getting value. What I learnt was that they were right to feel that approach the risk team had been taking was not suitable for their business. I put a proposal to senior risk leaders articulating the inadequacy and worked with the senior business leads to build a more appropriate approach. 

How do you approach making a difficult decision? 
I take a structured approach to all analysis and decision making. This assists me not only to make an informed decision but to provide evidence that allowed stakeholders now and in the future to understand the decision. In saying this you also need to be aware of any bias that might exist in the knowledge that you hold and the decisions you want to make, but you don't want to ignore any gut instincts you have. 

What do you believe will be the most in-demand skills over the next 10 years within risk and compliance and why?
Skills supporting data management, data protection and technology will be key as we move further into the digital world. Risk and Compliance will need to be self-sufficient in the interpretation and understanding of data management and data analytics. Controls protecting personal data and privacy will need to be well tested and actively reviewed to remain compliant with future security and privacy requirements and protect organisations from the reputation risk consequences if they fail. I also suspect there will be further integration of risk frameworks and technology risk frameworks to deliver a single view of the risk and control framework in the future.

To hear from other inspiring women in the Risk and Compliance space, please click here.

Maria Konstantinou's picture
Business Manager | Risk Management & Compliance
mkonstantinou@morganmckinley.com.au