Kirby Kleeberg, Risk All-Star

Kirby Kleeberg

Kirby Kleeberg
Assistant Vice President – Enterprise Risk and Operations Risk
Security Service Federal Credit Union

What is your educational background?

Bachelor’s degree – marketing from University of New Mexico, master’s degree – risk management from Florida State

Did you know you wanted to go into the risk profession? If not, what was your journey to get here?

Surprisingly no, I wanted to get into wealth management and had recently passed the Series 7 and 6 when I started pursuing my master’s degree. I met a COO of a medium-sized bank at a New Year’s party around 2010, and he advised that pursuing a master’s in risk would pay dividends in my career. I followed through with his advice and haven’t looked back.

How long have you been working in the risk profession?

9 years

What do you love most about what you do?

The enterprise view of the company and seeing how problems are solved across all areas of the organization. Very few careers provide that ability to get the enterprise lens and to assist and monitor how problems are solved both tactically and strategically.

Has managing risk changed over the course of your career? If so, how?

It’s been fairly consistent. I think there is a lot of maturity in the financial-services space with smaller and moderately sized banks and credit unions investing more in risk management. Other industries all have different maturity levels, and I was very lucky to have been able to implement multiple risk management or vendor management programs in federal agencies or within Amazon Web Services.

What advice would you give to someone who is about to start their career in the risk profession?

Do it and don’t look back! If you like to embrace issues and are a problem solver, this career will never get tiring for you. If you have C-suite aspirations, very few roles can provide you the insights into all aspects of the organizations and assist in building relationships with those stakeholders. It’s a fantastic career choice!

Do you have a personal motto? If so, what is it?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Gandhi, is a quote I live by. A motto I live by is; “Don’t be afraid of failure. Learn from the failures, and they aren’t failures at all; they are just interesting experiences.”

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