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Women in Risk Advisory: Five things to know about Yvonne Wu

Yvonne Wu

As national managing partner of Risk Advisory for Deloitte China, Yvonne Wu is an expert at identifying, managing, mitigating and preventing all types of business risks. She’s been in the field of risk and compliance advisory services at Deloitte for more than 25 years — witnessing a marked evolution in emerging risks, their impact within businesses (and beyond) and risk management strategies. Yvonne currently leads a team of more than 2,400 professionals who develop innovative and integrated risk services that help companies respond to market transformation with agility.

As Deloitte honours and celebrates Women in Risk Advisory, Yvonne is a salient example of a leader who is making an impact in the field and with clients across industries. She is also committed to helping other female professionals enter and succeed in the industry.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Yvonne about her job, the importance of support systems and female representation in risk careers. Based on the conversation, here are five things to note about this accomplished business leader:

#1 – Yvonne is a “Renaissance Woman” when it comes to areas of risk.

She brings deep, cross-dimensional expertise to her role, helping tackle challenges and develop solutions from a well-informed and holistic perspective.

According to Yvonne: “I’ve worked across industries and in almost all the service lines in the Risk Advisory function, including control assurance, risk management, compliance, internal controls and fraud management. And I previously led the Cyber and Strategic Risk portfolio group of Risk Advisory for Deloitte China. In addition, I’m a lead client service partner for many Chinese and multinational companies, particularly in life sciences and healthcare, and I was previously the life sciences and healthcare industry leader for our China operations. These experiences have helped me better understand and anticipate a wide range of client pain points and develop integrated solutions that address them.”

#2 – Her favourite part of the job is positively impacting clients’ businesses.

“What’s inspired me to stay in this business for 25 years,” Yvonne says, “is that Risk Advisory really brings value to our clients. We’re in a highly dynamic business environment. It’s important to quickly see market trends, be flexible and apply innovation to adapt to this fast-changing environment and help our clients mitigate risks.”

“Each generation has certain tasks given to them by history,” she continues. “For our generation, the most critical task is digitalisation. So, I think our task is to innovate and move digitalisation forward across business practices and people’s lives. It’s both a challenge and opportunity and collaboration is very important.”

#3 – Yvonne prioritises family life, too — and the support structures at work that enable balance.

“A big challenge for women can be balancing work life and home life,” Yvonne says. “I have an 11-year-old boy and my role as a mother is extremely important. So, I need to spend a lot of time with my son and my family. I balance all that with my work commitments. I have to be really dedicated at work to achieve aggressive targets.”

“That’s why it’s so important to me,” she continues, “that Deloitte has provided a very equal and flexible environment. This has been the most vital thing in supporting me and enabling me to go a long way in my career.”

Yvonne cites flexible working hours, programmes/accommodations for new and expecting mothers, and leadership development programmes as key supports for her at Deloitte. She also appreciates the individualised approach to goal-setting at the firm. “I can set short-term and long-term goals according to my specific situation,” Yvonne says. “Sometimes, at certain stages of my life, goals have been more fast-paced and aggressive. Sometimes they slow down a bit because of my commitments to family. So, it’s very flexible and individualised.”

“All these areas helped me develop in my career here for over 25 years,” she continues. “The firm has provided a lot of encouragement, support and programmes to enable female professionals and leaders to grow in this business. I think this support and especially the culture are very important for female development. They make you feel equal, respected and recognised. You see that opportunities for advancement and promotion are open to you.”

#4 – She values and promotes inclusion and gender diversity.

“At the beginning of my career, I observed in many boardroom meetings that I was the only woman in the room,” Yvonne says. “That kind of environment brings psychological pressure. But nowadays, in these types of meetings, it’s much more balanced than before. And not just at Deloitte — in many other organisations, as well.”

“We are quite gender-balanced in Risk Advisory in China,” Yvonne notes. “We focus on equality and open-mindedness, from recruitment to promotion to long-term career development. As a result, we have a lot of females working in this function. In fact, nearly two-thirds of Risk Advisory professionals in China are female!”

“The respectful and equal culture helps a lot,” she says. “And as I mentioned, the firm facilitates female career development by providing a lot of support. I encourage people to take advantage of the flexible hours and working arrangements we offer. I also encourage our people to participate in Deloitte’s global programmes and initiatives, such as those for new mothers, for fostering women in cyber and for advancing into leadership roles. I’ve participated in many leadership development programmes myself and I also actively promote and push such programmes to help develop female leaders in my function.”

“We also provide role models of female leadership to encourage women to continue advancing in their careers,” Yvonne continues. “I try to be a role model myself and engage in many one-on-one talks to help people pursue their long-term career targets. So, all these elements — providing trust and respect, role models, flexibility and accommodations — these are all very important, in my view.”

#5 – She encourages women and men to pursue careers in risk.

“There are a number of characteristics we’re looking for,” Yvonne shares. “First is self-confidence. That’s important because risk is a highly dynamic profession, so we must be confident, innovative, flexible and bold to help clients navigate the fast-changing business environment.”

“Second, responsibility and accountability are crucial,” she says. “And, last but not least, I think it’s very important to look toward and envision the future, even amidst uncertainty. Those are key characteristics we’re looking for.”

Yvonne provides advice for today’s job-seekers and working professionals too:

“Persistence is very important. Nowadays, many young people make their career choices very fast. They jump among companies, or even change the whole direction of their career every two-to-three years. I recommend, once you set career targets, be persistent. That’s not to say you can’t change your mind… but give yourself time to dedicate yourself to your choice, grow in your role and pursue your long-term goals. Don’t give up easily!”

“And for women,” Yvonne continues, “know that you’re valued, talented and not alone. There are female professional communities that you can actively participate in — not only to help you develop, yourself, but also as a way to support others.”

View Deloitte’s Women in Risk series.

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