Today I am joined by Perry Orestes, the Senior Vice President for Global Risk Management and Support Functions in Audit. Originally from Winnipeg, Perry’s academic journey started in Urban Planning, going to Business School, and specializing in Hospitality and Real Estate, followed up by a Certified Accountant, MBA and CFA.

From the moment we start talking, Perry’s passion for learning comes across loud and clear.

Perry: “I like to learn, and that’s one of the key things that attracted me to Audit. It is that ability to learn from others. My time at Scotiabank started within Global Risk Management in the Real Estate Credit Group looking after Commercial Banking accounts, I wanted to learn more about credit so moved to Corporate Credit and then continued learning within Credit Risk in Audit.”

Adriana: Overseeing over 170 people in your team, what do you think makes someone great in Audit?

Perry: “You must learn things quickly; you get to meet the person that does that specific job day in and day out, and in a little bit of time, you need to understand that team’s challenges. It could be IT, Credit, Commercial or Retail Banking… you need to listen, learn, be a critical thinker and give perspective to their work by respectfully challenging someone who might be more senior than you. Audit people are very resilient and empathetic at the same time. We are used to people pushing back and we need to be smart about how we present the recommendations to achieve improvements.”

Adriana: You impact so many areas of the Bank across its Global footprint, can you please describe the working dynamic within Audit?

Perry: “We have to walk a fine line between Management, the Board and Regulators. Our words matter, and we need to be very thoughtful about what we say. In order to ensure we bring a holistic perspective, we establish integrated audit teams for each project, staffed with people from a variety of backgrounds (e.g. credit, business and technology). There is an incorrect perception that you need to be an accountant to be successful in the Audit Department, however only a small percentage of our team are accountants. That is the great thing about Audit, we have people with different experiences and perspectives which helps us challenge our thinking and makes us better equipped to understand the risks faced by the Bank.”

As we continue our conversation, Perry shares the key Audit mandates that help guide talent development.

Perry: “Our primary mandate is to provide independent assurance to the Bank. Our secondary mandate is to develop and export talent from the Audit Department to the Bank, and I think we’ve done an outstanding job on that. We have hired knowledgeable people (both internally and externally), given them exposure to different areas, and helped them grow within the Bank. It’s a win-win situation, and many of our alumni are leaders in different areas of the Bank.”

Adriana: What advice would you give to employees starting their journey at Scotiabank?

Perry: “First, make sure you take pride in what you do, be enthusiastic, energetic, and positive, as this will help build that first impression with the team you are supporting. Second, you have to work hard at making and nurturing connections, even in this hybrid working dynamic. Third, you need to have a path, identify what you’re good at… you are not going to be good at everything. Know what you are good at and don’t dismiss it, own your strengths, focus on what you do well and know that management will recognize that. Fourth and finally ask for feedback, ask in a clear manner at the end of a meeting “tell me one thing I could have done better” and this will result in very tangible and actionable feedback that will help you grow.”

We thank Perry for sharing his wisdom about growing within Scotiabank and his valuable advice for employees and future talent. Our Audit team at Scotiabank plays a key role in the internal control system of the Bank while driving a customer-focused culture. They are a global community of trusted advisors and partners for Management, Executives and the Board. The Audit Department provides independent assurance and value-added insights to mitigate risk and challenges the business to achieve winning outcomes.

If you are interested in working with leaders like Perry and growing your career within Scotiabank, visit our current job opportunities.