Building a Risk Management Department from the Ground Up: How Jason Piet’s Leadership Upgraded Ent Credit Union’s Resiliency

Patience, persistence and a gift for collaboration make Jason Piet a 2023 Risk All Star.
By: | July 14, 2023

Growth can be good, but in the case of the Colorado-based Ent Credit Union, it meant taking a more advanced view of risk management or running the risk of facing regulatory penalties.

That’s where Jason Piet, Ent’s vice president for risk management, stepped up. Through his collaborative skills and innate leadership abilities, he provided substantial value to the organization.

Because of his efforts, Piet has been named a 2023 Risk All Star by Risk & Insurance®.

The credit union serves more than 500,000 members at 54 locations in the State of Colorado. As the entity grew, key stakeholders realized that risk management at the organization was too decentralized.

“It wasn’t performed in a systematic, unified manner,” Piet said.

Mike James, the credit union’s enterprise security officer, credits Piet with creating the buy-in to build and maintain a governance, risk and compliance program.

“That huge undertaking has absolutely changed the way our institution identifies, manages and mitigates risk,” James said in his nomination of Piet.

As any risk manager worth their salt knows, building a new risk management program isn’t easy, because you’re not taking work off of your colleague’s plates; you’re putting more on.

You are also going to face pushback, which James said Piet overcame in style.

“I’ve got a group of individuals who have basically unified to form a singular risk group.” — Jason Piet, vice president, risk management, Ent Credit Union

Piet thinks of the organization’s new risk management platform in terms of a set of encyclopedias.

“Each volume has a specific set of information,” Piet said. “So, a GRC system serves as a platform that has modules within it that serve a purpose for each function of that module.”

There are linkages in the system that provide the capacity for the risks in each part of the enterprise to be captured and centralized.

In his efforts to modernize Ent Credit Union’s approach to risk management, Piet not only had the drive to build a system, but he also harvested the benefit of creating a cohesive team.

After starting out as the director of vendor management with just one employee, today he oversees a risk management team numbering 18.

Now risk, compliance and other crucial governance mechanisms are centralized and woven into the entity’s operations. That integration includes a dialogue new employees and veteran staff are all a part of.

“I have a much higher comfort level that when auditors come through the door, I know we are doing things right,” James said of the results of his colleague’s work.

For his part, the understated Piet said he takes satisfaction in having built a team, through no small amount of effort, that he can rely on to collaborate and, yes, follow his lead.

“I’ve got a group of individuals who have basically unified to form a singular risk group, and, for some ungodly reason, they’ve decided that I have something to say that works,” said the ever-modest Piet. &

Every year, Risk & Insurance selects deserving candidates to become Risk All Stars. These are risk managers who, through their perseverance, passion and creativity, make a big difference to the stability of their organizations.

See all the 2023 Risk All Star Winners here.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected].

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