Governance Institute brand ambassadors announced

Governance Institute of Australia is pleased to announce that Kirsty Wright AGIA ACG and Michael Adams FGIA(Life) FCG have been appointed as brand ambassadors.

Ms Wright is Risk & Compliance Manager at Suncorp and currently studying a Graduate Diploma with Governance Institute. Professor Adams is the Head of University of New England Law School and a Professor of Corporate Law, and a past president of Governance Institute.

They join current ambassadors Diane Smith-Gander AO FGIA FCG and Simon Pordage FGIA FCG in the program that helps boost awareness of the work of Governance Institute, a national membership organisation advocating for a network of more than 40,000 governance and risk management professionals.

Governance Institute CEO Megan Motto welcomed Kirsty and Michael saying, along with Diane and Simon, they are highly valued members of Governance Institute and champions of its values: Integrity, courage, service excellence and collaboration.

“We invited Kirsty and Michael to join this important program that helps amplify Governance Institute’s values and initiatives on key issues for our community — and are absolutely delighted that they accepted that invitation,” Ms Motto said.

“There is so much underway in the governance and risk management space, with the profession under the spotlight like never before. We look forward to working with all of our brand ambassadors.”

We asked Kirsty and Michael about the key issues currently facing the governance and risk management profession, as well as what they are most looking forward to about their roles as brand ambassadors. Here’s what they had to say:

Kirsty Wright 

Key issues — and challenges facing the governance and risk management profession:

One issue is the increasing need for organisations to invest in people capability, risk management training and development programs to build a culture of risk awareness across all levels (both risk professionals and all staff). The world around us is shifting and we need to make sure our people are equipped to handle it.

The second issue I’d highlight is that the external environment has demonstrated the need for governance and risk professionals to be adaptable and make informed decisions. Over the past two years, it has become more important than ever for organisations to have strong governance practices, risk appetite and supporting tools/ systems in place. While investing time into these enabling activities can often seem cumbersome, there are many benefits including:

  • Readiness to respond to disruption
  • Early identification and escalation of issues
  • Improved brand and reputation
  • Avoidance of regulatory or compliance issues and mitigation of costs associated
  • Using risk appetite as a competitive advantage.

What elements of your role as Governance Institute brand ambassador are you most looking forward to?

I’m most looking forward to attending key events and building relationships with industry professionals. This is a wonderful opportunity to invest in my personal career development and connect with governance and risk management thought leaders.

Advocating awareness and a culture of continuous improvement for the governance and risk community is something I’m really passionate about. By sharing Governance Institute content and resources with my professional network, I hope to start conversations and learn from each other.

Studying my postgraduate diploma with Governance Institute has been such a positive experience. I’m grateful for this opportunity and hope to give back in my new capacity as brand ambassador.

Michael Adams 

Key issues — and challenges facing the governance and risk management profession:

Corporate culture has become a huge area of concern for boards and as such governance and management risk professionals. The old saying “the fish rots from the head” is true, but it is the layers of management below the CEO, senior executives, and board where culture can be misinterpreted. 

Creating a culture where whistleblowers and those communicating bad news are not held responsible (don’t shoot the messenger).

Creating an environment in all organisations where there is sufficient trust that issues can be raised and dealt with appropriately. Avoid falling for external pressures, that this is all “political correctness gone mad” — doing the right thing should be a guiding light. 

Information can be conveyed with respect and courtesy, so as not to make everything black and white — we live in complex worlds and all organisations have to adapt to changing dynamic.

The second key challenge is the growth in technology and the importance of data — both protecting it and using it for evidence-based decision making.

An awareness of unconscious bias with artificial intelligence is necessary. Boards and governance/ risk management professionals must be confident in the quality of data and how to maximise its use for the benefit of the organisation.

The third key issue is to continue to invest in the workforce and maintain quality training on areas of risk from privacy, to data breaches, to cyber security and WHS.

What elements of your role as Governance Institute brand ambassador are you most looking forward to?

I have been involved with Governance Institute since 1989 and had the pleasure of being on the State and National Education Committees (ending up chairing both) and then the NSW State Council and the national board, with the highlight of President in 2001. 

I also had the opportunity to be one of the international representatives for the Australian Division on The CGI (then known as ICSA) and one of its most important committee, the Professional Standards Committee. I have spoken at many of the national conferences and Governance and Risk Management Forums and have always loved bringing the theory to applied practice. 

We can learn so much from each other. Each event the Institute creates provides opportunity for networking, sharing experiences and continuing to learn. I hope to promote these opportunities more into the future to help build the profession.

Find out more about Governance Institute’s brand ambassador program.

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