Alberto Mattia: Chief Executive, PANTA RAY
How did you get your job?
I graduated in Economics and Finance in 2010 while I was working as a project manager within the organizational development department of Centrobanca, which used to be the corporate and investment bank of UBI Banca (one of the leading Italian banks). I was looking for new opportunities and I applied for a risk management job at UniCredit Group. The job interview was successful and I was hired in the CRO function as a risk reporting officer, where I spent three very intense years dealing with credit, market, liquidity and operational risks. I was specifically in charge of the monthly reporting activities to the board of directors. Within the quarterly enterprise risk management reporting process to the executive committee, I was looking after the Austria and Central-Eastern Europe regions as well. It was quite a challenging time for banks in Europe, but it was a great opportunity for me to learn how risk is a crucial and strategic matter in an organization. In the meantime, my mother founded a consulting company named PANTA RAY (www.pantaray.eu). She had a long career in JP Morgan Chase Bank, where she managed the EMEA risk resilience function. The business was growing well, so she asked me to join her and shape up a team of enthusiastic people. We are now six and our mission is to build a more resilient world. We provide consulting and training in the areas of business continuity, crisis management, enterprise risk management and organizational resilience. I am the Chief Executive Officer.
What’s a typical day like as the Chief Executive Officer of PANTA RAY?
It is really hard to say, because each day can be quite different from the other, especially because I am travelling so frequently. However, when I am in the office, we usually like to start with a team meeting to set the targets of the day. I then spend most of the time advising clients and/or dealing with partners. E-mails, phone calls, live meetings, etc. The key is to make the complicated simple. It is never easy, but we do our best as this is what clients pay for. Lunch and coffee-breaks are also rather important matters. We are Italian after all! And we tend to become quite animated when discussing about our passions, like football and TV shows. At the end of the day, I always take at least 1 hour for people management, office administration and business planning/monitoring. Risks are always on my radar, by the way. When I am back home, the feeling is always the same: 24 hours in a day are not enough.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love spending time with my colleagues. I really do. PANTA RAY is a family business and I could not be more proud of the team we were able to build. A good working environment is the key to success and it truly helps in managing risks. We believe in what we do and we apply to ourselves all the principles we recommend to our clients. ‘Risk is the effect of uncertainty on objectives’, and my colleagues are my certainty.
What are the challenges?
The greatest challenge we face is the lack of a risk culture. Analyses, processes and procedures are important, but risk is all about the people. And if we do not embed risk into our culture, it is very hard to reach our objectives. That is why we invest a lot of resources in promoting risk and resilience across our country (Italy). We are also trying to engage with schools and universities to make sure the new generations of professionals are well aware of the strategic importance of risk management and risk-based thinking. Another great challenge is the ever changing context. New risks are emerging, technology changes fast and the social environment is very fragile everywhere. Risk preparedness and resilience are competitive advantages, it is a fact.
In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?
In many ways. First of all, I strongly believe in these kinds of professional certifications. They help in building trust with clients and partners, because it means your skills get recognized by a group of experts. Then I think practice is a value when it is combined with training and a solid methodological approach. Otherwise it is all about repeating the same mistakes over and over. I just gained the IRM International Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management, which is a first important step, but I will definitely start the Diploma soon. I hope my clients perceive the efforts I am putting into this path. It is not easy, I can tell, but it is definitely worthwhile.
What would you say to others thinking about joining IRM as a member?
I am new to the Institute of Risk Management, but I am familiar with similar organizations as I am very much involved with the Business Continuity Institute (www.thebci.org). My plan is to commit to the IRM over time with the same level of dedication. We need to join forces, because the world is challenging and risks need to be taken into consideration with professionalism and accuracy. I believe that an important part of our duties is to contribute to the subject and add value to the public debate. The Institute of Risk Management is a leading professional body with a global reach and is what every risk professional should look at to make an impact.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions? Has being linked to the IRM helped?
Well, as I said I am new to the IRM, but I am confident that this link will help me in my professional growth. The resources you get when you join such a network are amazing. PANTA RAY is expanding and our clients are among the largest and most important international firms, so my aim is to increase the extent to which I can support them with my skills. My ambition is clear: I want my company to be recognized as the best possible partner to build resilience in an organization and risk management is a key element of this framework.
Whether you are a risk professional or not, my advice is to keep in mind that common sense is not so common, we are not perfect and all of us can and will fail sometimes. No-one can avoid or eliminate risk, so we’d better deal with it and we’d better do it right. For those who want to become risk professionals or wish to progress in their risk career, here are my tips:
- Believe in what you do, or you’d better quit
- Be always eager to learn, because when you stop you are out of this business
- Do not rely just on your practical experience, challenge yourself and get qualified with the IRM