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Irish Chamber

2017 Finalist - Stephanie Lyons


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Irish Australian Business Awards Peoples Choice 2017
Young Professional
Irish Australian Business Awards Peoples Choice 2017

I became the Chief Risk Officer at EISS over three years ago, a role that has been one of my greatest challenges but also one of my greatest achievements during my time in Australia. I moved here in May 2009 to further develop my career by taking on the role as a Manager at KPMG Sydney before being head hunted by EISS.

EISS is an award winning not-for profit industry superannuation fund which manages over $5 billion in funds under management for over 22,000 members.  I have been instrumental in the development of the organisation, executing the growth strategy and leading by example, mentoring all new staff to invest in the vision. Since I joined in May 2014, I have led the significant growth of EISS from $4.3 billion funds under management to currently $5.4 billion. When I joined, there were 9 people in the EISS Trustee office. Today there are 54, with the objective to have 70 staff within the next 12 months.

“It is a testament to her dedication and passion for the organization, which would not be in its current form without her”. Alex Hutchison, CEO at EISS

The core objective of EISS is to put members at the centre of everything it does. That ethos is fundamental to why I enjoy working in this industry. I strive to continually maintain a strong risk culture and robust risk management governance controls to ensure that everything EISS strives to achieve is in the best interests of members. I have built the risk management function from the start and it is evident that a strong risk culture exists and permeates. I recently executed a survey on positive independent risk culture and employee satisfaction that rated at 93%.

One of my key achievements at EISS was leading the Project to review our largest outsourced provider; our Administrator. To complete this task I took a strong entrepreneurial vision for the future growth of EISS. As a result, I recommended that the Board change our Administrator to a competitor to ensure that our members would receive the most digitally focused experience going forward. I recognized the importance of technology to grow our younger membership and promote a digitally enhanced member - centric experience. My vision for our members (and to safeguard the growth of the company) is to implement technologies such as “click to chat”, removing paper from all processes, ethically investing in technology companies and promoting social responsible investing options for our members. I have recently established a Project Management Office and Project Steering Committee to oversee the consistent implementation of all projects and initiatives under one risk banner.

Expanding my network and learning from other peoples’ working experience is integral to my personal development. I was chosen as a member of the Irish Australian Chamber of Commerce Emerald Influence Peer to Peer mentoring Program, where I have met so many like-minded women. Also, I am intrinsically involved in the Risk Management Association, where I was the first non-bank, superannuation member. Also, broadening my horizon and interest in the investment management industry; I have developed and implemented an investment operational and risk management due diligence review program of all our investment managers in-house instead of relying on the assessment of an outsourced provider.

I also taken great joy in applying my risk management skills to other areas in life. This includes part taking in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in December 2016 where risk management is such a key focus in the preparation of an offshore yacht race. Also, embracing my working knowledge of investment risk management, I have undertaken further education in the past 18 months having passed Level I and Level II of the CFA Candidate Program, where I am scheduled to sit Level III in June 2018.