If Protiviti managing director Cory Gunderson had selected a career in professional sports, one suspects he might have been a two-sport athlete or perhaps a player/coach—and highly successful.
In the consulting arena, Gunderson’s approach is defined by balance: he balances bottom-line success with client satisfaction; technical knowledge with relationship management; and business development with mentorship.
“I think consulting is really about knowledge and relationships,” says Gunderson, the global leader of Protiviti’s financial risk and strategy management (FRSM) practice. “To be successful, you have to have superior knowledge of the technical issues that your clients are facing, and you have to have strong relationships.”
One can’t argue with Gunderson’s success. His practice, which focuses on the financial services industry, has grown from six professionals in 2002 to 70 professionals last year, a period during which revenue grew thirty-fold. Every client Gunderson has served at Protiviti has served as a reference. He also led the launch of a risk measurement/model risk service, which has doubled in business each of the past two years and is on pace to double again this year.
In the complex, quickly transforming and extremely bruised financial services industry, Gunderson displays a knack for keeping clients focused on the road ahead. When discussing risk management with clients, he often favors a car analogy.
“The inside of the car has all sorts of instruments and tools for risk management: gauges, steering wheel etc.,” he explains. “But your biggest risk management tool in the car is your windshield. That lets you see where you’re going. Yes, you need to look in the rear-view mirrors to see where you’ve been and have to look in the side-view mirrors to see what’s around you right now. But if you’re not looking forward and seeing what’s ahead of you,
you’re in big trouble.”