Pauline Davoust, Winner Rising Star of the Year, FERMA Awards for Risk Excellence 2016, tells why risk management is such an appealing career.

Pauline Davoust is the Risk Manager, gategroup, Switzerland and SIRM board member. 

FERMA: How did you get into risk management?

I started my career in underwriting and client management in reinsurance and then insurance for various lines of business and discovered the role of risk manager during the risk surveys of my clients.

What drew you to risk management as a career?

I wanted to be closer to all the types of risks that a company is facing, to be able to change their nature and to find the best ways to mitigate them. The interesting part of risk management is dealing with the continuous changes of the environment which affect a company and find solutions. Receiving the first “Risk Manager Rising Star of the Year” award from FERMA confirmed for me that it was the right career choice, and it means a lot to me.

What is your education background?

I studied business administration in France, Sweden and Germany and specialised in insurance during my last year of study.

What do you think can make risk management an attractive choice of career for someone leaving university?

I believe that risk management is equally important to all the other key managerial roles in a company. In addition, it offers very good insight of the “health” of a company and provides interaction with all levels and departments. For these reasons, it makes it a very good career choice.

What do you think are the most useful skills for someone starting in the profession?

In my opinion, someone has good analytical skills, a fast understanding of risks and the ability to think outside the box, and who is solution-oriented can step into a risk management role and learn on the job. In addition you need to be able to communicate at all levels of a company, in various languages sometimes, and also to external stakeholders.

What are your career goals over the next five years?

In my vision, the role of a risk manager will be as fully integrated a process in the company’s strategy as the other key functions, and I will be dealing primarily with emerging risks. An obvious example is cyber risk which has become part of our daily risk landscape; however, the industry still has a long way to go towards full understanding.