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2015 Women to Watch: Soraya Wright

2015 Women to Watch: Soraya Wright

Soraya Wright

Vice president of global risk management and crisis management

The Clorox Co.

Oakland, California

Age: 54

Soraya Wright's first experience in risk management was 32 years ago, working in customer service for The Clorox Co.

Customers called the toll-free number on a bottle of bleach or other product, and Ms. Wright was among those who handled their issues.

“I responded to calls, and as a result I handled a lot of claims and worked closely with the risk management department,” she said.

She left Clorox to expand her experience in risk management, taking on claims and risk roles at several firms, and was recruited back to Clorox in 1991 as a claims manager. Since then, she's held numerous leadership roles.

At Clorox, Ms. Wright, now based in Oakland, California, is responsible for leading the company's enterprise risk management program, its global insurance strategy, and crisis management and business continuity for worldwide operations, identifying and evaluating business and emerging risks.

“Risk management has evolved from being routine processing and insurance procurement to us being a business partner, advising business leaders on management issues,” she said.

Ms. Wright also aims to keep tabs on the industry as a whole. “I research, I read about risk trends, and stay up to date on news in the industry,” she said. “You have to be a specialist in a broad range of areas, you have to find solutions to meet the needs of the business while managing the constant change.”

One industry issue she is passionate about is helping to recruit and retain talent. “Companies are starting to invest more in training programs,” she said. “That helps all of us.”

In addition to serving as the co-chair of the company's African-American Employee Resource Group, she is a frequent speaker at industry events and mentors women in the field. She tells less-experienced professionals to set goals, “challenge the status quo,” and “invest in yourself,” she said.

“Several women work for me who have either been elevated or promoted here at Clorox, or they have been able to earn the No. 1 spot in risk management outside of Clorox,” she said. “I have a commitment to help develop others, the future pipeline of leaders.”

Marc Kunney, San Francisco-based president of the U.S. insurance operations for Integro Ltd., has known Ms. Wright for 25 years and said she is an asset to the industry.

“She pushes herself and her team to learn more, do more and aim higher,” he said. “She has been a gift to the insurance industry and The Clorox Co.”

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