Devon E. Brooks (Chicago) – “Leadership Principles”

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Devon BrooksDevon E. Brooks

Head of Risk Practices and Strategy, New York Life

Devon was an Associate Director in Protiviti’s Chicago office for over 5 years and helped build the financial risk strategy and management practice. His areas of expertise include Enterprise Risk Management, Operational Risk Management, Program/Project Management, Market & Liquidity Risk, Credit Risk, and Compliance.

Devon joined New York Life in 2018 and is currently their Head of Risk Practices and Strategy.  He manages about 40 people in the risk management group. His responsibilities include leading risk strategy and operations, guiding the measurement of risk management effectiveness, and overseeing the third party and model risk management practices.  He facilitates company-wide execution of an integrated risk management approach to enhance risk-informed decision making.  He primarily supports internal business partners but at times is involved in strategic initiatives, including the integration of acquisitions into New York Life.

What is a professional skill you’re currently working on? I’m exploring different ways to illustrate risk management value.  Striking the right balance between data and anecdotes can be powerful, so I’m working through how to calibrate that balance for different executive audiences utilizing data and analytics.

What did you learn at Protiviti that that has contributed to your success today? I learned quite a bit from the great leaders at Protiviti, but what sticks with me the most is that every company has a different amount and pace of change it can absorb. I learned to always be mindful of how my approach might need to be adjusted in alignment with a company’s culture. Change might happen faster or slower, but it is most important to help a company continue moving in the right direction.  

You have been in a leadership role for many years.  In your opinion, what are the most important attributes to have to be an effective leader in an organization? 

The following leadership principles have worked well for me:

  1. Have a development mindset. I am continually developing myself and enabling the development of others.  I want to empower people to do their best work.  Ultimately, it’s about helping my team succeed and being better today than yesterday.
  2. Listen to everyone and learn. Seek to understand from others before seeking to be understood; open your mind to other possibilities.
  3. Have professional curiosity. Question until you get to the root cause, which creates a solid foundation for preventing problems by building holistic and lasting solutions.
  4. Think strategically. The best decisions are those that align the interests of the company with the interests of teams and individuals so that everyone can see benefits from their perspective. When trade-offs are necessary, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Devon is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Bachelor of Arts, Economics) and DePaul University (Master of Science, Finance) and is also a Project Management Professional. During his accomplished career, he has also worked for Northern Trust Corporation, JP Morgan Chase, ABN AMRO Bank N.V., and the Chicago Board of Trade.

Devon believes every child deserves a quality education; he supports organizations that provide children better educational opportunities. He lives with his wife in the New York City area and has three grown children.  He enjoys traveling, which gives him an opportunity to learn from other cultures and expand his vision of what is possible.  He also enjoys reading, computers and spending time with close friends and family.

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