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Risk in Focus: Sarah Kioi, IRMCert, Senior Risk and Audit Officer, Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi Kenya

The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) asks its members what working in risk is really like and what hints and tips they'd share with people looking to move into the industry.

Sarah Kioi, IRMCert

Senior Risk and Audit Officer, Kenyatta National Hospital

Nairobi Kenya.


How did you get your job?  

I work as a Senior Risk and Audit Officer in Kenyatta National Hospital based in Nairobi Kenya.

I started my career in the hospital as an accountant professional in the finance department. After 8 years the hospital advertised for an internal audit officer position which got my interest and as part of my career progression, I was successfully re-designated to internal audit department in the same organisation.

While in internal audit we were required to prepare yearly risk based audit plans and that’s where I first heard about risk management. I started developing interest in risk management and also got enroll for conferences and workshops in enterprise risk management as part of continuous professional development. I got to interact with other risk professionals especially in the insurance industries and other parastatals.

In order to conform to ISO 9001-2015 requirements, there was need to sensitise staff on risk management and also conduct risk assessment in the organization. I took the opportunity to be part of the team coordinating risk management activities and setting implementation strategies.

It is during this exercise that my interest in risk management broadened and the desire to seek more knowledge and skills through a professional course emanated. It is while searching for risk management course provider that I landed in IRM.

What’s a typical day like as a Senior Risk Officer?

As a senior risk and audit officer my main activities are monitoring the implementation of risk mitigation strategies in the hospital and compiling risk assurance reports for the Risk and Audit Board Committee. I also participate in consulting and advisory services in the hospital which involves sensitization of staff and management on risk management and governance through workshops and currently through webinars.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy when my input as a risk management expert is considered in decision making in the organization. This has been demonstrated in the current Covid-19  pandemic where Incident reporting and analysis is being done on an ongoing basis and consequently developing contingency and recovery plans in the hospital.

What are the challenges?

My biggest challenge is the organizational culture where most people take risk management as an additional responsibility that does not add value to their core duties and this consequently hinders effective implementation of risk management strategies.

What would you say to others thinking about taking the International Certificate in ERM?

This is a course that anyone who intends to advance in any career should consider as it gives credible tools on risk management practices.

What have you been able to put into practice in your job as a result of what you have learnt?

In the course of my study, I was able to access valuable skills which enabled me to confidently and insightfully serve in a special appointment as part of the risk management project implementation team whose terms involved the development of a risk management framework, development of risk management policies, and review of governance and business continuity plans and training of staff and management on risk management.

Top tips:

Risk management being a new concept in most organisations it is easy to get discouraged especially if there is no support from the executive but if you have interest keep pushing and stay focused and it will eventually work.

Risk management is applicable in all  organisations and no matter how big or small the organization you are in is, whenever an opportunity arise grab it as a risk expert and practise the skills learnt with enthusiasm.

Risk management is very dynamic and therefore it is important as a professional to keep updating yourself through career professional development activities that would sharpen your skills.

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