R&I What was your first job?
My first paycheck came from bagging groceries at Kroger. I didn’t have a car and had to walk to work. My ultimate goal was to save enough money for my first car. The very car I later drove to my first insurance job in an underwriting department. It was a great feeling.
R&I How did you come to work in risk management?
Growing up in a state-controlled environment of the former Soviet Union, risk management was not on my radar. I have always had a passion for health care as it touches and influences the lives of so many. I was pre-med when a friend told me about her major – risk management and insurance. It seemed fascinating.
R&I What is the risk management community doing right?
One of the things I appreciate the most about our industry is the depth of relationships. Trust and integrity are crucial. Risk managers form long-standing partnerships with insurers and other industry colleagues, enabling us to support each other and excel during challenging times.
At the core of everything risk managers do lays the desire to prevent injuries, enable new opportunities and protect our enterprise against volatility.
R&I What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?
We could do a better job of attracting young talent. There is a stigma associated with the insurance industry — it’s perceived as boring, and that could not be further from the truth. I’ve been stretched and challenged every step of the way and feel that this is one of the more engaging professions.
I serve on the board of trustees for the Georgia State University Risk Management Foundation and one of our strategic initiatives focuses on educating college recruits on the breadth of opportunities afforded by our industry.
R&I What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?
In my 20 years in the industry, risk managers have made a huge move from being “insurance and claim guys” to becoming a trusted business adviser to the C-suite. We’ve embraced that we cannot eliminate or insure all risk. Risk-taking is an essential part of any business opportunity. But what we can do is partner with key stakeholders to better understand the risk and empower innovative solutions.
R&I What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?
It’s the risks associated with new technological breakthroughs and legislative developments. Most recent examples in the health care industry are interconnectivity and value-based reimbursements. In the early stages of any initiative, much is undefined.
R&I Who is your mentor and why?
I have been very lucky to meet many colleagues along the way that have opened doors, given me a chance and shared their expertise. Deanna Allen gave me my first opportunity in health care risk management, welcomed me with open arms, pushed me and really helped me grow in my early career.
Another individual who comes to mind is Allan Bogenschutz. He’s one of the best colleagues you could have, always willing to share his candid feedback. Allan has been a great sounding board and adviser to me over the years.
R&I What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?
Having emigrated here at the age of 17 from Ukraine, successfully establishing a new life is a point of both pride and immense gratitude to everyone who helped me along the way. I am appreciative of the freedom and opportunities this country affords to anyone who’s willing to work hard and apply themselves.
R&I What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?
Riding on an ATV with my husband. It was all fun and games until he flipped us over. So, my zip-lining experience, in comparison, was very safe.
R&I What is your favorite book or movie?
“Kafka on the Shore” by Haruki Murakami.
R&I What is your favorite drink?
R&I What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?
Travel is my escape and it is hard to narrow down the wonders of the world to just one. I would say for architecture it’s the magic of Gaudi’s Barcelona. For nature, it’s the grandeur of the Alps.
R&I What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?
The most fulfilling part is blazing new trails and developing innovative solutions to support my company’s growth. I am very grateful for the opportunity McKesson has afforded me in leading the risk management department in a new direction. I am lucky to have an incredibly talented global team.
We are very focused on quantification of risk in a way that is easy to communicate across the organization. McKesson’s leadership team values the role and contribution of the risk management function.
R&I What do your friends and family think you do?
I talk about it so much, I am pretty sure they know exactly what I do! To my kids, I explained that it’s planning in advance and having a plan B. Last time we were at the beach in the fall, their shoes got soaking wet and we had a spare pair in the car. I think they got it.