CRO Wisdom Episode 21: Vincent J. Scales, Director – TPRM, Verizon – Part 1

Atul Vashistha:

Hi everyone. Welcome to another episode of CRO Wisdom. I’m really delighted to have an innovator in our midst today. This is Vincent Scales. He is the director of third-party risk management at Verizon, and he is also the chairman of the third-party Risk Association. Vince, welcome.

Vincent J. Scales:

Atul, thank you so much for having me. I’m really looking forward to having a chat today and talking about some of the things that are going on in third-party risk management.

Atul Vashistha:

Absolutely, same here. And you’re absolutely in the midst of it, both from TPRA and of course your corporate experience. So Vince, let’s start by telling the audience a little bit about yourself, and the journey that brought you to where you are today.

Vincent J. Scales:

How I got to where I am now is really an indirect and circuitous way. I originally actually started out working as a service provider right out of high school, and I was working in consulting and service delivery for a managed services provider. After several years of consulting as a services provider, I actually accepted a job at my current firm, Verizon, procuring managed services. So I basically went to the other side of the table, and that’s really where my risk management journey began, because when I was working in procurement at the time, our firm did not have a third-party risk management program, but a number of events happened both in the industry and within our firm that caused our board of directors to direct management to establish a third-party risk management program.

And because of my experience on both sides of the table, I got tapped on the shoulder and asked to join that program. And there I was, working in risk management. So I mean, what I would say is I really didn’t actually start out to seek a career in risk management; it found me.

Atul Vashistha:


Vincent J. Scales:

But I’ve really found a passion for it that I didn’t know I had, and I’m glad it did.

Atul Vashistha:

Vincent, it’s not unusual when I talk to risk leaders, I don’t think there’s anybody that has said to me that when they’ve left school or when they’ve started their first job, they thought about risk manager as a career. But the experiences that they built in your case being on the supplier side, then being on the buy side, and when you’re thinking about buying services, often when you buy services, you do reflect on risk management. So I can see those as stepping stones to where you are today.

And especially now as procurement functions become more and more specialized, you actually see less of a focus on risk management, and more of a focus on the delivery of business objectives, and timely execution of contracts and negotiations.

Vincent J. Scales:

It seemed like a natural fit. And especially now as procurement functions become more and more specialized, you actually see less of a focus on risk management, and more of a focus on the delivery of business objectives, and timely execution of contracts and negotiations. And so really having that base has helped me be a more effective partner to not only my business stakeholders, but to my partners in procurement because I’ve been in that chair, I understand what they’re doing, and I understand how the work of the program that I lead really connects directly to the work that they’re executing on behalf of our firm.

Atul Vashistha:

So, Vince, for many, when I’m interviewing, we limit this to them talking about their role, where they are, and how it brought them there. But for you, I would love for you to talk a little bit about what was that journey that led you to TPRA and being the chairman of the third-party risk association. Talk to us about that.

Gartner in their recent audit poll of 100 top audit executives, they stated that third party risk management was in the top three, for I think over 90% of those audit executives.

Vincent J. Scales:

Yeah, absolutely. As I’m sure we will get into some more detail later, I really feel as though third-party risk management is not a discipline that you can learn in school. And so it’s no surprise that this is not even something that was on my radar when I was in school. It’s such a newer discipline. I know that many firms have been practicing third-party risk management for decades now, primarily banks. But now as we see third-party risk management begin to come to the forefront of pretty much every industry’s radar, like for instance, Gartner in their recent audit poll of 100 top audit executives, they stated that third party risk management was in the top three, for I think over 90% of those audit executives. So we’re really starting to see a much wider focus. And as a result, to be an effective third-party risk manager and risk management leader, you have to learn from people who know how to do this.

You can’t just go crack a book open and study how to do this. The third-party risk association really jumped out at me when I was really starting to look for resources that could help make me better. And I was really attracted to the fact that TPRA is very, very, very focused on practitioners. There are some other industry groups out there for third-party risk management, but I feel that they are not as practitioner-focused as TPRA is. And being able to really get in there, join meetings, participate, and learn by doing, really jump-started my ability to be an effective third-party risk manager. I believe that I joined the organization, we’ve only been established for, I believe, four years, and I’ve been a member for about three and a half. So I joined pretty quickly after the organization was started by Julie Kowski and Jonathan Eric, who are both really, I would say, very accomplished TPRA practitioners.

And I really was very attracted to wanting to grow the organization’s ability to execute on that mission of really making practitioners all better. And that’s really what led me to my current position as the chairman of the board. I served a two-year term as a board member from 2021 to now 2023, and I was reelected last month. And so now being elected to a second term, I am now serving also the chairman of the board, which is exciting because I really want to help grow our ability to reach more practitioners and to develop a common body of knowledge that all practitioners can use as a bedrock foundation for their programs.

Atul Vashistha:

Great timing for that organization. Great cause, and I think executives like you, not just learning from it, but also giving it time and being part of that learning for others is a definite payoff. And I’m a big believer, that industries become more solid, they actually attract better people, and better talent when they have organizations like TPRA, helping them progress along their growth journey. So, thank you for doing what you do for TPRA.

Vincent J. Scales:

And I thank you as well, Atul. I mean, support from folks like yourself in the industry is invaluable in helping us further our mission. So your dedication to third-party risk management in general, risk management is a super big help for us. So, thank you as well.

Atul Vashistha:

I appreciate it. So, Vince, let’s pivot to leveraging your knowledge.


Vincent J. Scales

Director of Third-Party Risk Management


Vincent Scales is an enterprise program manager with 15 years of experience building, delivering and operating IT and shared services programs in F500 environments, both from the perspective of the outsourcer as well as the service provider. Currently, Vincent is a leader in Verizon’s TPRM organization, leading a portfolio of third party risk management activities and serving as product owner and development leader for Verizon’s TPRM platform. He holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Northern Arizona University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Arizona State University. Vincent resides in Phoenix, AZ along with his girlfriend and their two labradoodles.

Atul Vashistha

Chairman & CEO

Supply Wisdom

Atul is the Founder of Supply Wisdom & Neo Group, and is also the visionary behind the GBSBoard and RiskBoard. For more than 21 years, Atul and his teams have worked with nations and corporations to leverage global talent, big data, automation and other technology mega-trends to accelerate new capabilities, increase resiliency, mitigate risks and enable better corporate and societal outcomes. Atul Vashistha currently serves on the boards of Shared Assessments and IAOP. Atul had the distinguished honor of serving on the US DoD Business Board for over 12 years, including as former Vice Chairman from 2018-20.

Recent Conversations

Stay Updated

We will notify you when a new conversation is posted

Recommend a Speaker

SVB Collapse - Comprehensive TPRM Analysis

The Collapse of SVB: Analysis of Risk Indicators and Next Steps for TPRM

Get Supply Wisdom’s comprehensive analysis on SVB, including indicators across a full spectrum of risks, the causes of the collapse, and precautionary steps you can take in response to the SVB collapse.