Risk in focus: Lisa Ramsden

The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) talks to Lisa Ramsden, IRM Cert, Risk Manager, International Nuclear Service on pursuing a career in risk and what advice they would share with people looking for a position in risk management.

How did you get your job?

I was asked if I wanted to lead on risk within INS and I jumped at the chance. I was keen to be able to make risk useful for the company, i.e to focus on risk driving decisions as opposed to just focusing on the risk register.

What’s a typical day like as a Risk Manager?

I’m not sure if there is a typical day. It depends on what the business needs. It varies from risk workshops with project managers or functional leads, reviewing business proposal to ensure that the options are adequately assessed to work on updating the risk framework to ensure it is fit for purpose.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The variety and the fact that risk touches everything within the organisation. I like to think that I have an inquiring mind and I do like to understand what is going on, so it’s the perfect job for me.

What are the challenges?

Two things spring to mind, deciding what is a risk and what is business as usual. The focus on protecting our strategic objectives and values certainly helps give some focus on that. The other would be trying not to over complicate things. Businesses need to take the right risks to survive and thrive; I want to be able to help inform decisions as opposed to focus on just want may go wrong. I think we are getting there.

What would you say to others thinking about taking the International Certificate?

I would say, go for it. The Certificate is a good grounding for anyone in Risk Management. I have to say that I preferred the practical part to the principles paper, because for me it is all about using the tools to make a difference in either better decision making or managing enduring risks. The Hopkin book is a great guide but don’t be afraid to do extra reading by those who have different views on risk management, for me it’s important to have your own views rather than just learning the text.

What have you been able to put into practice in your job as a result of what you have learnt?

Doing the International Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management has given me more confidence in my role as I have a grounding in the topic. I’ve also learnt that there isn’t a stock answer, it depends on what is right for your business.

Top tips:

My advice would be that risk management is a role for you if you like to know what is going on and you want to have access to areas across the company. I had done other roles within the company, so I could take the knowledge I had of the business to help me with the risk role, I think that was a benefit to me.

Also don’t think that you have to have all the answers at your fingertips and don’t overcomplicate things.