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In celebration of International Women’s Day 2024, Origami Risk hosted a thought-provoking webinar on March 7 titled “Women of Risk & Compliance: Leading and Learning One Step at a Time.” The webinar was produced in partnership with the Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS).   

  • Knowing it’s okay to make mistakes
  • Prioritizing workloads
  • Embracing self care
  • Learning how to say “no”
  • Blocking out time for specific tasks
  • Putting yourself first so you can help and serve others
  • Being kind
  • Understanding your boundaries
  • Being present and mindful

The event brought together a panel of three distinguished risk and compliance leaders to share their experiences, challenges, and strategies for success: Mary Shirley, Head of Compliance at Masimo; Samantha Siddiqui, Global Director of Claims at CBRE Group; and Trisha Sqrow, Vice President at Marsh Risk Advisory. Roma Rishi, Senior RMIS Sales Executive at Origami Risk, moderated the event, which delved into leading and learning through the theme of inspiring inclusion, beginning with each panelist’s unique career path.   

Mary Shirley’s journey in compliance has taken her across four regions of the world, with experiences in government investigations in New Zealand to antitrust, FCPA program development, and compliance for multinational corporations. She has also authored two books on the topic: Sending the Elevator Back Down: What We’ve Learned From Great Women in Compliance, which was co-written with Lisa Fine, and Living Your Best Compliance Life: 65 Hacks and Cheat Codes to Level Up Your Compliance Program. In her current role as the Head of Compliance at Masimo, she combines her passion for compliance with medical technology and high-end audio.   

Trisha Sqrow’s career began with aspirations to become an airline pilot, but she pivoted towards aviation management after 9/11. Her journey took her from working in safety and risk management to enterprise risk management (ERM) at a major international airport. Her adaptability and love of continuous learning have led her to her current position as Vice President of Consulting Solutions in the Strategic Risk Consulting Group at Marsh Risk Advisory. In this role, she helps clients develop and implement ERM programs.  

Samantha Siddiqui’s career began during the 2008 global financial crisis. She first worked at a law firm that served as TPA for domestic and international insurers before moving to the carrier side, where she held various roles. She then moved into risk management and found her place at CBRE Group Inc. as the Global Director of Claims. She currently manages the entire claims function and the organization’s insurance claims and programs, globally. Her journey highlights her adaptability and willingness to lean into change, leading to a rewarding career in risk management.  

The career paths of these notable women were all shaped by external events and unexpected opportunities; being open to change was an important factor. Leaning into a love of learning, keeping one’s horizons open and harnessing that change when opportunities arise helped them find a career of fulfillment.   

“I’ve found that putting too much upon yourself in terms of deciding that your career must be this, this, and this is limiting,” said Shirley. “Keep an open mind. … It’s okay to evolve and to change course because your circumstances have changed, and you’re no longer the same person you were when you set those objectives.”  

Reflecting on their careers, the panelists all agreed on the importance of realizing one’s career path does not have to be plotted out by Day 1. “Keeping perspective is really important as you’re growing in your career,” said Sqrow. “I’m proud of how I’ve adapted and completely changed paths from a career standpoint.”  

They all have achieved success in both their professional and personal lives — from authoring books (Shirley), to developing award winning ERM programs (Sqrow), to adopting children and helping form the New York Adoption Coalition (Siddiqui).  

The takeaway: “You really can have it all,” said Siddiqui. “It just may look different than you originally thought and it may not come on the timeline that you hoped for or expected.”   

Balancing professional responsibilities with personal life was a common theme, with panelists advocating for setting boundaries and prioritizing self-care. Their recipe for success includes: 

Inspiring Inclusion  

The panelists also discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and shared how they advocate for others and challenge biases.  

For Sqrow that means helping others pinpoint a source of frustration or unhappiness in the job, and giving them guidance on how to work through that.   

For Shirley, that’s advocating for professionals who may not have a designated legal license, historically required to practice in certain areas of risk and compliance.   

As for Siddiqui, that’s acknowledging the characteristics that make each unique, accounting for factors such as family, personal beliefs, religion, and the like, and making a seat at the table for them. “Inclusion is a choice, so you do have to be deliberate about it,” said Siddiqui. “I want the people that work with me to know that I don't only accept them as they are, but I embrace them for all that makes them who they are.”  

Looking Ahead

As they look to the future, the panelists expressed a desire to continue learning, growing, and contributing to their fields — and to embrace change and opportunities as they arise —emphasizing that the time is now for women to make a splash in the professional world.

The panelists’ stories underscore the importance of embracing change, advocating for inclusion, and finding balance in both professional and personal life. As we look to the future, their experiences serve as a beacon for the next generation of women leaders in the industry. To watch the webinar in full, click here.

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