Participant Story

Sarah Vidic

Marketing and Sales topic image; HBS campus early Spring

Navigating the New Risk Landscape

  • Role

    Executive Director, Enterprise Risk, Ontario Pension Board
  • Industry

    • Government

HBS faculty taught us how to think differently—to apply a more critical and methodical approach to solving problems.

Sarah Vidic is the Executive Director of the Ontario Pension Board's Enterprise Risk Management and Corporate Compliance programs. She is also responsible for Business Continuity, Crisis Management and Corporate Insurance. Vidic has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services and regulatory sector, but was looking to elevate her understanding of the ever-changing risk landscape and expand her global network across industries and countries. She accomplished all this and more at the Risk Management for Corporate Leaders—Virtual program.

What were your objectives in attending the Risk Management for Corporate Leaders—Virtual program? Were they met?

I have decades of experience under my belt, but I still wanted to look at Harvard Business School. While the foundations of risk management remain constant, complex mandates and diverse ecosystems across industry sectors call for unique solutions. The program provided the opportunity for me to learn a new approach, connect with global industry professionals, share innovative ideas, and identify the pitfalls to avoid.

Risk Management for Corporate Leaders—Virtual definitely exceeded my expectations. When I wanted to reach out beyond my industry, I could get input from a cross section of risk management experts from different industries within my cohort. In a nutshell, it was very important for me to have access to a global peer group, build beyond that network, and expand my perspective beyond Canada.

Can you share your thoughts about the virtual experience?

I found the virtual experience to be seamless and engaging. We are a small organization that is very mindful of cost and budget. The flexibility and efficiency of the virtual format brought the program in reach for me. I didn't have to worry about commuting—immediately after the class ended, I was able to switch gears and go right back to work.

Throughout the program, other classmates were reaching out to me on LinkedIn. One of them contacted me a few days ago about how to build out the risk framework within their organization. So we had a very fruitful conversation around what to do and what not to do, and they also shared some new insights that were very beneficial for me.

How would you describe the value of the program to someone considering it?

There are a lot of risk management programs that go over risk identification, risk assessment, risk monitoring, reporting, and risk appetite. But the HBS faculty taught us how to think differently—to apply a more critical and more methodical approach to solving problems.

What I found unique about the program was the quality and complexity of the case studies. We learned firsthand from the person in the actual scenario. So we had the opportunity to ask questions: How did you face that hurdle? How did you take it to the board? We got to learn what happened next and test our assumptions, which was thrilling and produced a high level of engagement and dialogue.

How can someone in your industry role benefit from attending Risk Management for Corporate Leaders—Virtual?

Because the risk landscape changes so rapidly, there's always something new that we're looking for— how can we integrate it? What impact will it have? What is our exposure? Where are we vulnerable? All of a sudden, there's an "Aha!" moment when the light bulb turns on.

So if you're looking for that Holy Grail, this program may be it.

Featured Program

Risk Management for Corporate Leaders—Virtual