When Joudy Al-Sayeh was younger, she envisioned herself as a lawyer. But ever since entering the field of Risk Advisory, she considers the case closed: There’s no place she’d rather be!
“I’m constantly learning and exploring new areas,” says Joudy, a Senior Consultant at Deloitte Jordan. “I enjoy the outcomes of being exposed to areas out of my comfort zone; it’s exciting and helps me grow.”
Joudy has been at Deloitte since receiving her Bachelor’s Degree from Princess Sumaya University for Technology in Jordan in 2018. She’s been working in Risk Advisory ever since — rapidly advancing and making an impact, having been recognized both for her work internally at Deloitte, as well as among her clients.
As Deloitte honors its Women in Risk Advisory, Joudy stands out as talented, passionate, and successful. As companies including Deloitte seek to bring more women and young professionals into the field of risk, Joudy shows how it can be a fulfilling career from the get-go, with opportunities for advancement.
The Global Risk Advisory Responsible Business Blog recently sat down with Joudy to discuss what interested her in Deloitte and in risk, achievements she’s proud of, and more. Below are highlights of the conversation.
What led you to choose Deloitte?
Joudy Al-Sayeh: I didn’t always know that Deloitte was where I wanted to end up! But when we had a career fair at my university, I spent a lot of time at the Big Four booths — testing the waters by asking detailed questions about their service offerings, activities, types of clients, and so on.
The answers from Deloitte really intrigued me. And when I discussed Risk Advisory with Deloitte’s representative at the career fair, it was incredibly interesting to me. I found myself saying, “This is something I could see myself doing. It’s something I think I could pursue for a long time.”
Plus, some of my peers who had already graduated from our university had also gone on to Deloitte. They had great feedback about their experiences.
So, I applied for a position at Deloitte, and the rest is history. And every now and then, I still see the Deloitte representative who came to our career fair and it’s always great to reconnect.
What drew you to the field of Risk Advisory?
Joudy Al-Sayeh: I knew the environment at Risk Advisory would be fast-paced, and I love that! You work with different types of clients across various industries, you get to tackle emerging risks, and you’re constantly learning.
For me, having a challenge in my professional life was particularly important as I like to step outside of my comfort zone. At Risk Advisory, I’m constantly seeing and learning new things and stretching myself. I love when clients approach us with new risks and challenges they are facing, and we work together to deliver the best solutions, as driving improvements for our clients is very rewarding.
What types of classes did you take at university? Did your coursework translate well to the field of risk?
Joudy Al-Sayeh: Keep in mind that risk management isn’t exactly something you can just study in school. There’s lots of on-the-job learning, as risks are constantly evolving. You have to engage with your clients and be challenged in order to learn certain things. It’s very dynamic.
That being said, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. It served me well. We covered financial, operational, and management topics, which have helped me extensively in my work — in particular, understanding my clients’ businesses, governance processes, and operations.
Tell us about your day-to-day role.
Joudy Al-Sayeh: There’s no such thing as a typical day for me. Within Risk Advisory, I started out doing internal audits and then transitioned into more compliance work and governance-related projects for our clients.
I’m currently engaged in an interesting governance project for a key client in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). That’s where I’m currently based, as I work on the initiative. I’m one of the leaders on this project, overseeing the execution components, a daily exercise to align with key stakeholders. I check in with the team and make sure our deliverables are in line with clients expectations.
In addition to client-related engagements, I assist with planning for the team’s resource allocation, to ensure that our projects are staffed optimally, as the Jordan team is constantly growing. As well as being a coach to several entry-level colleagues to assist in career path planning and making sure they are on the right track.
What are some work achievements you’re proud of?
Joudy Al-Sayeh: I’m particularly proud of my work and leadership on the current project I mentioned in KSA. It’s a big build-operate-transfer project, that required us to immerse ourselves in the client’s operation, as there’s no benchmark to compare their work, processes, or regulations against. We’re on the right track as the client is very satisfied, and I feel like we’re doing great things.
Can you tell us about some of the awards you’ve earned at work?
Joudy Al-Sayeh: When I started at Deloitte, I was excited and eager to prove myself. I wanted (and still want) to give it my all, work extremely hard, and show that I can do what’s needed. I’ve been proud to earn two of what we call “Elevate” Awards; that is, they elevate you and recognize your efforts.
Shortly after joining Risk Advisory as a Business Analyst, I received the client-related “Everyday Excellence” award, as the client shared feedback over my performance and requested my involvement in future projects. A year later, I received the Quality Risk Management (QRM) award, as I took the initiative to voluntarily organize a QRM session for my colleagues, in which the protocols we follow prior to engaging with clients were explained.
Why is it important to give feedback — particularly positive feedback — to people just starting out in their careers?
Joudy Al-Sayeh: Affirmation is very motivating. It also helps people learn and grow and makes them more open to constructive feedback too.
I learned techniques to deliver feedback from my own manager, and now I use them as well — wrapping the “meat” of my feedback (suggestions for improvement) in a tasty/positive “bun.” By opening and closing with positive feedback, I try to show people I value their work and recognize what they’re doing well, which often is motivating too.
Why should other young people consider a career in risk?
Joudy Al-Sayeh: You learn a lot and benefit significantly from working in risk. When you interact with different clients, speak their “business language,” and experience new situations, that truly increases your knowledge and boosts your confidence. It’s exciting and dynamic as you need to manage meetings, clients, and build great connections with people.
What advice would you give someone starting out in their career, who’s looking to enter the field of risk?
Joudy Al-Sayeh: I’d tell them, “You’ve made a great career choice! And there are a few things you can do to position yourself well.”
If they’re studying at university and can take risk management classes, as well as financial management classes that tie into risk, that’s beneficial. It’s important to read a lot too. I’d advise them to read about different topics in risk: specifically, governance, risk management, and internal audits. That really helps in learning the basics of what they’re going to do and offer, so they’re more ready to make an impact.
What challenges do women face growing their careers in the risk business? Have you faced any of these challenges yourself?
Joudy Al-Sayeh: I’ve faced some challenges working in a male-dominant work environment for some clients in KSA. However, I’m happy to see the evolvement of more women in leadership as Deloitte continuously provides that opportunity. This may not be the case for other women outside of our company as many face industry-specific biases, a gender pay gap, and a lack of leadership opportunities that Deloitte have eliminated over the years.
How can the risk industry better promote inclusivity and diversity, and attract more women to the field?
Joudy Al-Sayeh: When asked about my role, especially from other women, I try to highlight the importance of women in our industry and how it has evolved over the years. Having multiple women in leadership roles paves the way for attracting more women into the industry, as it makes them feel comfortable and gives them the opportunity to advance.
Do you have any interests or hobbies outside of work?
Joudy Al-Sayeh: I’ve always loved to play basketball. When I was young, I lived in Canada, and I played in elementary school there. Then I came to Jordan and played in high school and throughout my years at university.
After graduating, I haven’t gotten the chance to play as much as I’d like. But I recently started to fit it in my schedule as I think it’s important to balance work with other activities you’re passionate about.
View Deloitte’s Women in Risk Advisory series