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  • Julien Haye

Kathy Griffin's Path to Empowering Risk and Compliance Leadership

Kathy Griffin on RiskMasters

Discover Kathy Griffin

“Established boards understand risk governance but want simpler updates, while start-ups need education on the value of risk management” – Kathy Griffin 

In this episode of RiskMasters, join host Julien Haye as he converses with Kathy Griffin, an experienced Chief Risk Officer and compliance leader with a diverse background that spans traditional financial institutions and innovative start-ups. Kathy shares her unique journey into the world of risk, the lessons learned from navigating both start-ups and established companies, and her approach to leading with empathy and innovation in risk management.


In this episode of RiskMasters, you will discover:


  • Leadership Challenges and Overcoming Imposter Syndrome - She candidly reflects on her early management failures due to imposter syndrome and immaturity, and how stepping back into team roles was pivotal for rebuilding her confidence and eventually taking on leadership roles again.

  • Communication with Boards: Established Companies vs. Start-ups - She contrasts her experiences with boards in established companies, which understand risk governance but prefer simplified updates, against start-ups that often require education on the value of risk management.

  • The Risk Function as an Innovation Enabler - Kathy advocates for risk teams to collaborate closely with business units from the initial idea stages, emphasising the shift towards outcomes-based regulation and the importance of building customer-focused cultures.


More about Kathy Griffin:

Kathy has worked in financial services for nearly 30 years, the last 18 of which have been in risk and compliance. She’s currently the Chief Risk and Compliance Officer at Uber (Payments UK) and was previously the Director of Compliance at Monzo.


Kathy is passionate about risk and compliance being an enabler for innovation and growth and believes that embracing diversity and inclusion is key to the success of any business.


Listen to the full episode on your player of choice:



Find out more about Kathy Griffin

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Summary of the interview with Kathy Griffin on RiskMasters


“I’ve worked with some incredible people and some absolute shockers, but the first person who gave me my role in compliance and risk has been quietly inspirational.” – Kathy Griffin


Welcome to this podcast interview with Kathy Griffin, an experienced risk and compliance leader, reflecting on key career experiences and insights into succeeding as a Chief Risk Officer. Topics span early management failures, imposter syndrome struggles, start-up transitions, board communications, risk governance, diversity impacts, and importance of risk functions enabling business innovation. Action items identify analysing other CRO approaches, examining risk culture connections to outcomes, and researching academic community values.

Origin Story: Falling into Risk and Compliance


Kathy explains entering risk and compliance by accident via operational roles at Citibank. A mentor gave her a first auditor job sparking a passion for understanding organisations and driving improvements.

Leadership Failures from Imposter Syndrome


Early management promotions led to breakdowns from immaturity and imposter pressures. Stepping back to team roles helped rebuild confidence to try leadership again later.

Start-up Transitions and Organised Time Management


Moving to innovative start-ups required quickly pivoting her risk and compliance approach. Kathy juggles multiple roles via compartmentalised scheduling.

Inspiring Leaders and Gender Impacts


Kathy had poor treatment as an early female banking manager but found inspiration from authentic female executives. She now focuses on diverse, non-hierarchical cultures.

Communication Differences with Start-up Boards


Established boards understand risk governance but want simpler updates, while start-ups need education on risk management value.

Risk Function as Innovation Enabler


Risk teams should collaborate from idea stages to build customer-focused cultures, not just enforce rules. Outcomes-based regulation assists this transition.

Action Items and Takeaways


  • Analysing CRO Approaches - Kathy's story encourages emerging risk leaders to balance strategic vision with tangible contributions to risk management, analysing diverse approaches to find what works best in different organisational contexts.

  • Diversity of Thought and Risk Outcomes - The episode underlines the potential connections between diversity of thought in risk management teams and improved risk outcomes, urging listeners to explore how varied perspectives can enhance decision-making.

  • Engaging with the Academic and Professional Community - Kathy's insights prompt listeners to research and engage with target journal and conference communities, deepening their understanding of the values, assumptions, and critical discussions shaping the field of risk management.


Kathy Griffin's reflections offer valuable lessons on leadership, the evolving role of risk management in fostering innovation, and the significance of diversity and inclusion in creating strong, resilient organisations. This episode of RiskMasters is a must-listen for anyone looking to navigate the complexities of risk and leadership with confidence and creativity.

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