CRO Wisdom Episode 18: James Gellert, CEO, Rapid Ratings – Part 3

Atul Vashistha:

James, obviously you’ve been very successful, and as I look to the future, a tremendous amount of success away to in the future, talk to us about what resources do you rely on to make yourself a better leader?

James Gellert:

Wow. I try to rely on those around me. I ask for input. I try to assimilate as much input as I can get. I try to spend time talking to people I respect like you who are facing similar kinds of challenges every day. I think I’ve been very fortunate to have a really wonderful friend group, mentors. I’ve got folks who have been investors in us over the years that I think have really great insights as professional investors or operators themselves.

James Gellert:

I think the biggest problem a leader can face is when they stop listening, and they just assume that the only voice that’s necessary is their own. We all do it from time to time, and then we need to check ourselves and kind of take a step back and go, oh right. Yes. I have to, I benefit from, I can ask for input and be able to use that input. Use it with good judgment, but try to get as much input as possible.

James Gellert:

And then something I’ve really learned from my team over the years is that you can’t re-articulate the goals enough. You can’t point to the north star enough and tell people that that’s where we’re going, and we’re either heading there quickly in the right direction, or we’re taking a more circuitous route. So, try to be humble about making sure that I’m communicating as often as I can with my team is something that I am trying to do, and I’ll always try to do better. But taking input from others has got to be one of the best.

It’s not like risk just came around or risk management just appeared. I mean, there’s been risk all over the place for a very long time, and a lot of people have made wonderful careers, decades in risk management. But risk as a part of supply chain and third party risk, that’s become more prevalent over the last few years. I think a lot of advancement has come and it’s been great. A lot of people, very smart people have dedicated themselves to careers in this area and it will continue to evolve and continue to be better and better.

Atul Vashistha:

Really good advice. I think I’ve been told many times, over-communicate. You can’t communicate enough.

James Gellert:

And it’s funny the times when people tell us to over-communicate, clearly we haven’t been communicating enough. So just the fact that they’ve mentioned it is probably a pretty good sign.

Atul Vashistha:

So James, for our final question. Bloomberg recently called risk manager a hot job, and so I’d like you to comment on that. But while you’re commenting on it, would you please also talk about, what’s your advice to future leaders, leaders that want to create a career in risk? So I’d love for your comment on those two items as our final question.

James Gellert:

Risk being a hot job. It’s funny because it’s not like risk just came around or risk management just appeared. I mean, there’s been risk all over the place for a very long time, and a lot of people have made wonderful careers, decades in risk management.

James Gellert:

Where risk as a part of supply chain and third party risk, where that’s become more prevalent over the last few years. I think a lot of advancement has come and it’s been great. A lot of people, very smart people have dedicated themselves to careers in this area and it will continue to evolve and continue to be better and better.

James Gellert:

For new people coming in, it’s always difficult for someone coming out of school, for instance, saying, I want to be in X. And the people who get to that perfect job that they want, and then that leads to the perfect career in that perfect market. There just aren’t that many people where that actually happens.

James Gellert:

So I think it’s always good to think in terms of lily pads and stepping stones, being able to advance your career, even if it means it’s a little bit to the left or a little bit to the right. If you know that directionally you’re going in a direction you want, that’s great. If you don’t know the direction that you want to go, it’s about doing things that round your skills out, test you, give you a plethora of skills to be able to talk to because every new set of skills you accumulate, the broader the next opportunity for the next stepping stone may be.

James Gellert:

And those who come in and feel like, wow, I really have to know exactly what I want. Don’t be fooled by the few who actually do that and do it successfully. I would make sure that you have a roadmap and where you kind of want to try to go, but be flexible about how you get there.

Atul Vashistha:

James, I like this whole, this thinking of stepping stones, because you’re not talking about a singular direction, but sometimes these stepping stones to the sides actually create tremendous opportunity.

James Gellert:

Yeah. I think it’s a good, it’s a nice visual, and if anyone ends up needing to jump to a different job unexpectedly, they can just fall back on. Well, it’s just another stepping stone, so it’s good. It’s good self-preservations.

Atul Vashistha:

James, thank you so much for making time for us today. I know our team loves collaborating with you and your team and we wish you great success. Thanks again.

James Gellert:

Thank you. I wish you all the same. Many thanks.

Speakers

James Gellert


Chairman & CEO

Rapid Ratings

James H. Gellert is the Chairman and CEO of RapidRatings International. Previously, he was the Managing Partner of Howland Partners, LLC and Howland Securities LLC—firms that provided consulting, business development, capital raising, and M&A advisory to companies in the financial information and technology markets. Prior to those positions, he served as CEO of a number of technology companies including wireless software and research companies SkyScout and Unstrung.

Atul Vashistha


Chairman & CEO

Supply Wisdom

Atul Vashistha is recognized globally as a leading expert on globalization, governance, and risk. He has authored three best-selling books: The Offshore Nation, Globalization Wisdom and Outsourcing Wisdom. Atul pioneered the global sourcing advisory space in 1999 when he founded Neo Group and is also the founder and Chairman of Supply Wisdom. Founded in 2012 as an early warning service for business disruption risk, today, Supply Wisdom® is the market leading patented real-time and continuous risk intelligence and monitoring solution. Atul serves on the boards of the US Department of Defense Business Board (Vice Chair), IAOP, Shared Assessments, and Zemoga.

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