Nikolay Kostadinov, Risk All-Stars
Risk Management Officer
What is your educational background?
I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Did you know you wanted to go into the risk profession? If not, what was your journey to get here?
My journey was quite long, I started off as a junior accountant in a company called Mapei, then I moved on as a financial analyst in IBM, senior financial controller in Unify, senior continuous improvement specialist in Ingram Micro, and then I started in my current company, TMF as quality enablement analyst, where I expanded my role to quality and business continuity management analyst, and finally decided to take the opportunity to become a risk management officer.
How long have you been working in the risk profession?
A year and a half.
What do you love most about what you do?
Seeing the benefit and the added value that we provide to the business. Risk management is an essential and even critical part of the management in every mature company. It shows weak spots, drives changes, strengthens the company, and enables management to make the right decisions. Seeing how our work and analysis leads to decisions which help us, especially in times of crisis, is the thing that I love most about my job.
Has managing risk changed over the course of your career? If so, how?
I don’t have enough years behind my back in risk management to give a valid comment on this question, but in recent months I have seen examples everywhere of how everybody is starting to look more and more to risk management, realizing how important it is to have a well-managed risk assessment process because companies that do that well are in a way better position compared to the ones who don’t. I think in the coming years, the world of risk management will take on a bigger role in company management.
What advice would you give to someone who is about to start their career in the risk profession?
Risk management along with other company developmental initiatives are considered ad-hoc activities, so expect some push-back from the business in terms of putting in more effort, especially in updating the risk database. My advice is to always explain the benefits and remind them that you are both on the same side, and that you are there to help and support the company’s goals.
Do you have a personal motto? If so, what is it?
I can’t say that I have one, but now that I’m thinking on it, I might say “there is always a way.” Throughout my career I heard a million times “we can’t do it, there’s no way.” Most of the time we tend to want to stick to the old, known, well-tested ways, and we don’t open our eyes and minds to new opportunities and ways to make our job faster, better, smarter. Change is good, and there is always a way.
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