Michele Wucker coined the term “gray rhino” as a call to improve people’s responses to obvious, probable, impactful –yet all-too-often neglected– risks. She sheds light on why some people step up to head off the dangers right in front of them, yet others let themselves and everyone around them get trampled.
In today’s volatile, uncertain world, Michele is a sought-after risk expert specialized in the global economy, public policy, decision-making, and governance. Formerly a think tank and media CEO, she founded the strategic advisory firm Gray Rhino & Company.
C-Suite executives, boards of directors, and business continuity teams apply her gray rhino theory across diverse industries: technology and AI, finance, human capital, education, logistics, mining, manufacturing, and cyber-security. So do central banks, securities regulators, and policymakers working on national security, technology, demographic change, and emergency response all around the world.
Michele is the author of four books including the influential global best-seller, The Gray Rhino, and the sequel, You Are What You Risk. The gray rhino has made headlines in more than 75 countries and 35 languages in articles about the COVID-19 pandemic; climate change; and post-pandemic financial fragilities. It inspired a lyric in the hit single, “Blue & Grey,” by the global K-Pop mega-phenomenon BTS.
Top Global Economy Gray Rhinos combines Michele’s deep experience and personal network in global policy, finance, and economics with the powerful framework Michele developed for helping decision-makers improve their responses to clear and present dangers. Join the CEOs, risk professionals, boards, thought leaders, and senior financial and national policy officials worldwide who apply the gray rhino theory to their strategic decision-making.
The wildfires and multiple new record high temperatures set in 2023 are a clear reminder that climate change is a global, obvious, impactful “gray rhino” risk for board directors. Climate risk and the net-zero transition affect strategy and operations involving issues that range from supply chains to agriculture, property values, energy, finance, insurance, regulatory changes, reputational risk, and even recruiting and retaining employees. Companies now face not just the challenge of tracking, reporting, and reducing their climate impact and risk exposure –but also hyper-politicized calls from groups that want them to ignore environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations. How should boards and management teams approach and respond to the climate risk imperative?
Companies are wise to recognize the attractions of the fast-growing “free from” consumer market segment. People with food allergies and sensitivities are loyal, resulting in high-customer lifetime value and willingness to accept higher prices for foods that they know are safe. Moreover, many alternative, gluten-free grains come from hardy, drought-resistant crops. Baking ingredients like millet, teff, quinoa, and amaranth also can help diversify supply chains alongside more traditional crops whose supplies are vulnerable to geopolitical risk. Yet too many companies make grave mistakes that could be avoided but permanently cost companies, prospective consumers, for life. Systemic barriers in the food value chain make it harder than it should be to provide allergy-safe foods and hospitality experiences. These obstacles are begging for solutions: in other words, business opportunities.
Hear first-hand from someone who lives with celiac disease how to avoid sometimes comically bad unforced errors and remove barriers to the lucrative “free-from” market while diversifying your ingredient sources.
How many times have you heard that women are “risk averse”? It’s not meant as a compliment. Worse: It simply is not true. Recent research challenges older studies that made that claim despite findings with low to no statistical significance; based their conclusions on averages versus ranges; or failed to include context. Misconceptions about the relationship between gender and risk.
● Discourage investors from funding women-led startups which are likely to outperform
● Prevent managers from promoting women
● Lead financial advisers to offer women “less risky” investment options
● Misalign true risk preferences and expected behaviors
Businesses that hold onto gender risk stereotypes overlook human capital, lose the decision-making advantages of gender-balanced groups, and fail to connect effectively with female clients. It’s past time to change the conversation about gender and risk and replace the tired old “risk averse” label with “risk astute,” “risk-aware,” and “risk savvy.
Michele Wucker is on a mission to change how people think and talk about gender and risk. She draws on scholarly research and real-life stories to present a new, nuanced understanding of what businesses need to know about how and why each of us takes the risks we do (or don’t).
Using the concept of a “risk fingerprint” ––the personality traits, experiences, group dynamics, physical environment, and habits and processes that determine our risk preferences and behaviors— Michele will change how your team understands risk. Her book YOU ARE WHAT YOU RISK addresses gender and the dangers of risk stereotyping; organizational risk culture; and the power of risk empathy among teams, clients, and key stakeholders. Her original and powerful insights are a powerful tool to catalyze a new conversation about risk-taking that supports
Michele can help your organization change the conversation about gender and risk so you can reap the benefits for your employees and clients.
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