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The best of both worlds

We spoke with Daniela Crisafi FGIA FCG, Head of Regulatory Reporting at Bank First to learn about how postgraduate study with Governance Institute provided her career with the best of both worlds.

Why did you decide to study with Governance Institute?

As an analyst, I’ve always worked in the risk field, from credit risk in the lending area at Westpac to where I am now. But I never had the full qualification for what is now known as risk management.

When risk management became formalised, I started looking for that formal qualification. It took a few years for me to come across a friend who had started the course, which is how I learned about the Risk Management modules that could be combined alongside the Corporate Governance modules. Finally, I took a closer look and thought, ‘Yep, that’s for me!’

The modules are current and relevant, and the course has been accredited by TEQSA, the national higher education regulator. The study was delivered by field experts who shared their experiences, hints, and tips, truly putting theory into practice. That was a big tick for me because I’ve always been the type of person who can grasp a concept when envisioning the example or scenario in which it occurs. As a result, I was drawn to Governance Institute.

The course offers the Chartered Governance Professional designation, and I wanted to tap into global materials to find out who and what was out there to maintain that awareness globally. So that was a big bonus for me.

I was considering serving on a non-profit board; therefore, I wanted to grasp corporate governance and risk management, my skill, passion and interest. Governance Institute had been offering this postgraduate study combination for years, and that’s how I ended up enrolling.

You commented that the course gave you a good grounding in risk management within the context of the framework of governance.

Yes, that’s true. I tell everyone because I’d like more people to know about it. I often say to colleagues in the risk management field that its valuable to understand both governance and risk management aspects. One of my team members has enrolled in the Governance Institute’s Certificate programme as a steppingstone. Both subjects are essential, and the ability to bring the two together was fantastic!

What was it like studying online?

With the COVID-19 restrictions, I have to say that I was impressed with how you could continue your studies, complete the exams online, and everything was seamlessly presented. So that was an incredible accomplishment.

What were the key content takeaways?

I became a better professional by putting myself in the directors’ shoes and asking, what kind of information should I be looking for? How concisely can I write the report? What level of quality is required on that subject? That type of questioning and ability to communicate effectively upwards was evident throughout the course. It’s not just about understanding the relationship and putting myself in their shoes; the course materials helped me realise the level of responsibility and accountability that board directors have; how important it is to be transparent to provide all the information.

I liked the idea of, ‘This is the theory, this is how it is supposed to be, we define it this way, and this is what it looks like. This is how you get a sense of it.

You’d get the theory, the practice would be worked out, and examples would be provided. Individuals from the workplace would come in, solidifying the meaning and thinking — and it would all sink in. Then you’d question yourself to put yourself to the test. It was all done in a psychologically safe environment — no matter what you said or raised your hand for.

What advice would you give someone who is just starting out in risk management?

This is something I’ve done with one of my team members. I suggested he start with a couple of subjects at Governance Institute focusing on risk management and governance. By doing so, he can raise his profile and gain access to materials and people worldwide. That is something I would recommend to anyone involved in risk management.


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