Chief Risk Officer

Start your journey as a Chief Risk Officer.

Learn the skills you need for an executive role as Chief Risk Officer to identify diverse sources of corporate risk, protect your organization, and seize new business opportunities.

George Mason University Executive Education’s Chief Risk Officer program expands your leadership capability to: 

  • Establish and lead your organization’s risk management function 
  • Ensure your organization’s Enterprise Risk Management strategy aligns with the overall mission 
  • Lead the development of an innovative Enterprise Risk Management strategy 
  • Create a sustainable risk management ecosystem for the organization 
  • Understand and manage emerging threats to the organization 

About the Program

Participants develop the executive-level knowledge needed to effectively execute the responsibilities of a Chief Risk Officer (CRO) and act as a liaison with the other members of a C-Suite and other organizational and business units. The program also provides the opportunity to network with current participants and past CRO alumni, Mason faculty, as well as leading risk experts from the public and private sector.  

Importantly, and unique to Mason’s program, certain sections of the Chief Risk Officer program sessions provide avenues for individuals in both the public (government agencies) as well as private (commercial companies) sectors. Also, participants with be co-mingled with members of the other C—Suite programs, including data, DEI, and learning. This is done intentionally to allow for cross-pollination and synergies to form with other functional areas of the firm or organization.  

This four-month Hy-Flex, hybrid program blends live in-person instruction at Mason Square (formerly the Arlington Campus) with synchronous and online learning modules. It has been carefully designed to deliver the competencies needed for rising and emerging leaders in the risk domain. Faculty members in the program come from Mason’s College of Engineering and Computing, School of Business, College of Science, as well as industry leaders in the public and private sector. 

Who Should Attend?

Emerging leaders in the risk ecosystem who wish to expand their career toward senior and executive level leadership should attend.

The ideal candidate has:

  • Passion and drive toward understanding and solving organizational challenges  
  • Working knowledge of current risk management tools and frameworks 
  • At least 5 years of relevant managerial experience (recommended) 
  • Existing leadership and managerial experience 

Sample Schedule

  • In-Person Opening Oct. 23 - 25, 2024
  • Online Sessions Oct. 30 - Dec. 19, 2024
  • Mid-Program In-Person Session Jan. 14 - 15, 2025
  • Online Sessions Jan. 20 - Feb. 25, 2025
  • In-Person Closing March 4 -5, 2025

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Establish and lead the risk management function as a strategic and aligned partner with all agency units.
  • Think strategically and ensure the ERM strategy fully aligns with and supports the mission and value proposition of the organization.
  • Lead the conversation for determining the organization’s risk appetite and tolerance and the threats and opportunities derived from risk.
  • In concert with senior leadership, lead the development, a comprehensive strategic enterprise risk management plan with a mission, vision, and specific, measurable goals that are fully aligned with the organization.
  • Create and sustain an enabling risk-management ecosystem with conditions to encourage a risk-aware culture and risk management practices.
  • Build capacity for being a leader and effectively exercising leadership as a senior executive.
  • Lead the organization in viewing risk management as an opportunity for innovation and change to drive mission performance.

Badge of Certification

This program is delivered as a non-degree, executive certificate. Attendees have the opportunity to add a badge credential from Credly for successful completion of the program to their resume for organizational recognition (internal and external) and to indicate the accomplishment of obtaining a George Mason University credential.

Program Information

Next Cohort: October 23, 2024 – March 7, 2025
Delivery: Hybrid; online sessions and in-person sessions at Mason Square (formerly the Arlington Campus)
Cost: $8,500

Personal Consultation

Contact us to schedule an advising session:
Email ❭
(703) 993-6725 ❭


The curriculum is composed of the three core competencies areas that were identified by risk leaders and academics as necessary for the Chief Risk Officer of the Future:

Transformational Organization Leadership (Fulfills ECQ 1 & ECQ 2)

Leading Change 

People often dislike uncertainty at work and often fear or avoid change altogether. One of the most important roles of leadership then is to manage change and cope with uncertainty in your teams and organizations. This session explores the challenges and opportunities involved in change management, especially the areas of employee resistance, how to overcome it, and how to champion results. This session is a joint session with other C-Suite participants. 


  • Dr. Tori Grady, Associate Professor of Management, Costello College of Business, George Mason University 

Being a Leader in the C-Suite 

This session builds your capacity to engage in the successful practices of leadership as a member of the C-Suite. The emphasis is on your way of being as a leader (the observer you are) and enhancing your capacity to declare commitments to future possibilities and engage others in sharing and fulfilling those commitments. The Session discusses the importance of context in confronting managerial challenges and creating opportunities. Explores the role of leadership in shaping conversations that create empowering contexts for organizational actions. 


  • Dr. Greg Unruh, Arison Chair in Values Leadership, Associate Professor, College of Humanities and Social Science, George Mason University. 

Relational-Based Leadership 

It is up to leaders to create an environment in which individuals find meaning and motivation, perform, thrive, and are resilient. This comes not just from money or prestige, but because of the positive relationships they hold at work. This session allows individuals to appreciate how leaders can improve by taking a relational view towards others in the organization. To lead is to speak directly to the workforce, to understand their concerns, pinch points, frustrations, and pain. Taking a relational view goes beyond your individual relationship with each employee; it encompasses understanding the network of employee relationships. 


  • Dr. Kevin Rockmann, Professor of Management, Costello College of Business, George Mason University. 

Creating a Positive Corporate Culture 

Introduces the construct of emotional culture and demonstrates the importance of cultivating a positive emotional culture for employees, teams, divisions, and organizations. Distinguishing among the key emotions impacting culture and describing how individuals and organizations can achieve enhanced employee health and wellbeing. Provide evidence-based techniques that managers can integrate into their daily work practices to increase personal and professional success. 


  • Mandy O’Neill, Associate Professor of Management, Costello College of Business, George Mason University. 

Innovative Business and Operational Acumen (Fulfills ECQ 3 & ECQ 4)

Building Business Acumen for the C-Suite 

Provides an overview to the principles and practices of business acumen; what separates C-Suite Executives who excel from those who do not; and how to successfully engage with other members of the C-Suite by applying the principles to everyday conversations and interactions. This session is a joint session with other C-Suite participants. 


  • Dr. Tom Davies, Executive-in-Residence, Costello College of Business, George Mason University 

Value Creation and Customer/Stakeholder Equity 

In this session, participants will learn how executives make decision to create, communicate, capture, and deliver value to their customers or stakeholders. Successfully developing and deploying a critical value-based strategy that focuses on maximizing customer/stakeholder value and need satisfaction is essential for organizational performance and mission successful. 


  • Dr. Brett W. Josephson, Associate Professor of Marketing, Costello College of Business, George Mason University. 

Business & Sustainability 

Historically, social expectations of businesses have been limited to the creation of wealth for shareholders and the simultaneous creation of jobs and economic development in their communities. Now, however, the last two decades has seen societal expectations shift toward creation social and environmental value in addition to economic returns. This course provides participants with frameworks and strategies they can use to align their business value creation with emerging social and environmental expectations.  


  • Dr. Greg Unruh, Arison Chair in Values Leadership, Associate Professor, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. 


This session strengthens the participant’s innovation acumen by acquainting them with the latest thinking on innovation and exposing them to proven strategies and best practices to transforming promising ideas into actionable innovations that move their organizations forward. 


  • Dr. Tom Davies, Executive-in-Residence, Costello College of Business, George Mason University 

Strategic Thinking, Value Proposition Models and Mission Fulfillment 

This session provides analytical tools to focus on value creation in an organization through the concept of business model innovation and its links to strategic management and strategic thinking. This session is a joint session with other C-Suite participants. 


  • Dr. Mahesh Joshi, Associate Professor of Management, Costello College of Business, George Mason University 

Developing and Executing a Strategic Plan 

In this session, participants will gain an understanding of what is strategy. Identify links between organizations and types of strategy as well as how resources and assets link to different business models and mission objectives. 


  • Dr. Mahesh Joshi, Associate Professor of Management, Costello College of Business, George Mason University. 

Mastery of the Risk Management Ecosystem (Fulfills ECQ 5)

The CRO as a Leader in the Organization 

This topic provides an overview of the role of a CRO, potential risk management areas of scope for a CRO, and a view as to what a CRO could be across multiple industries, setting, or government agencies. It concludes by providing the road map for the program.  


  • Marcelo Brutti, Chief Risk Officer, City National Bank – An RBC Company 

Risk Management Strategies, Tactics, and Looking to the Future 

This session enables risk leaders to understand the importance of how and why their risk strategy is critical to the ultimate success of their organization through risk informed decision-making. The session emphasizes the role played by risk management tactics as well as the methods, practices, tools, techniques, and policies that actualize risk management now and into the future.  


  • Chris Mandel, RIMS-CRMP, RF, ARME, President and managing Consultant of Excellence in Risk Management LLC 
  • Dr. Mark A. Livingston, Assistant Director of Personnel Security, Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, & Senior Executive Fellow, Costello College of Business, George Mason University 

Risk Policy, Regulations, and Compliance 

This session focuses on developing an understanding of how an organization’s ERM program and its risk environment is influenced by the nature of the legal, regulatory, and compliance requirements imposed on the organization. Those obligations and constraints form a crucial part of the context in which organizations function and include the interests of governance entities (e.g., Board of Directors, political and congressional oversight, etc.), business executives, organizational risk managers, and external stakeholders. CROs can influence how the organizations address its compliance mandates. 


  • Ken Fletcher, Former Chief Risk Officer, Transportation Security Administration, Founder of Kestrel Hawk Consulting, Inc., a veteran-owned small business. 
  • David S. Halwig, Senior Principal, IntelliVen Inc. 

Data Analysis and Metrics of ERM 

Provides the key frameworks to understand the value of ERM data and how data analytics and metrics can be leveraged for risk assessment, mitigation, and management. CRO’s live in an environment with increasing data availability but need to know how and when to use it. Session also provides an overview of IT Risk Management, information security and data privacy, and different qualitative and quantitative approaches.  


  • Marcelo Brutti, Chief Risk Officer, City National Bank – An RBC Company 

Ensuring Business Continuity 

Introduces participants to the role of the CRO in building a Business Continuity Plan and the best practices for current crisis planning. The Focus of this session is the evolving role of the CRO to assist in business impact analysis, BCP training and exercise development, as well as BCP plan development and strategizing.  


  • Dr. Mark Livingston, Assistant Director of Personnel Security, Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, & Senior Executive Fellow, Costello College of Business, George Mason University 

Linking Organizational Strategy to ERM 

One of the challenges a CRO finds is that at times, their role and function might seem not seem to align with the broader strategy and mission of their organization or firm. This session focuses on the basics of ERM and demonstrates its linkages to overall strategic principles for firms and organizations. 


  • Dr. Mahesh Joshi, Associate Professor of Management, Costello College of Business, George Mason University. 

Scenario Analysis and Stress Testing 

This session provides CROs with the necessary frameworks to understand and appreciate scenario analysis and stress testing of organizational systems and procedures. Participants will see how these tools can be leveraged for risk assessment, mitigation and management as well as how to analyze the output of different stress testing techniques. Participants will also see how to create scenarios themselves, assess controls or mitigants and understand outcomes. 


  • Marcelo Brutti, Chief Risk Officer, City National Bank – An RBC Company 

Linking Human Centered Design Principles to ERM 

This session focus on the design of ERM tools through a human-centered design thinking lens to improve effectiveness. ERM practices are often slowed by cultural barriers that exist within an organization. Business leaders will learn to focus on what barriers are present inside their organizations to determine what needs to be done to remove them so progress can be realized. 


  • Dr. Karen Hardy, RIMS-CRMP-FED, Chief Risk Officer & Principal Consultant, Strategic Leadership Advisors LLC 

ERM and Environmental, Social, and Governance Issues 

The focus of this session will be on enabling risk leaders to understand the role played by ESG at the strategy setting level in organizations and the contribution it makes to ultimate mission delivery. Emphasis will be placed on understanding “what’s” material to business and operating models and how the fundamentals of risk management can be applied within the ESG paradigm. Participants will examine the various international frameworks and standards that comprise the current state of ESG knowledge and how these contribute to the current state of Governance of Organization’s principles. 


  • Peadar Duffy, Global ESG Lead, Archer IRM 

Data Protection and Privacy 

Achieving privacy in a digital world is increasingly becoming a problem. Privacy preserving solutions are harder to construct and, at the same time, are significantly more computationally intensive to perform. This session describes the practical tools and cryptographic protocols that protect data integrity and privacy as well as protocols.  


  • Dr. Foteini Baldimtsi, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, College of Engineering and Computing, George Mason University 

"I lead the Accounting, Finance, Compliance, and Contracting functions at Avascent, a global strategy, and management consulting firm. In my role as director of finance, I oversee financial forecasting and reporting, internal controls, international tax, and regulatory compliance, and contracting. I had the pleasure to attend GMU’s chief risk officer program. Our instructors were excellent, and I found the content very thorough and timely. I would recommend the program to any finance, risk, or internal audit professionals interested in strengthening their leadership and strategic thinking skillset.”

Alice Bernardi, CRO '21 | Director of Finance at Avascent

“The George Mason [University] program for business executives is unparalleled. You will experience fast-paced, relevant education from pre-eminent practitioners alongside peers at the top of their game. I am unsure which was more classmates or my professors! Be prepared to challenge your own thinking and possibly change your convictions with immediate application to your job the next day in many cases. I would certainly recommend this program for any individual serious about their discipline and ready to elevate their innovation."

Twane Duckworth, CRO '21| Managing Director of Risk Management, City of Garland

Meet Your Instructors

  • School of Business Community Partner | Marcelo Brutti

    President and Chief Executive Officer, Hyundai Capital America

    Marcelo Brutti is President & Chief Executive Officer at HCA, a $50 Billion auto finance company supporting the financial services needs of Hyundai Motor America, Genesis Motor America, and Kia America.
  • peadar-duffy

    Global ESG Lead, Archer IRM

    Peadar Duffy is the Global ESG Lead at Archer IRM has been at the leading edge of risk professionalism assisting companies to manage strategic risks for some 30 years.
  • Ken Fletcher

    President, Kestrel Hawk Consulting, Inc.

    Ken Fletcher is the founder and president of Kestrel Hawk Consulting, Inc., a veteran-owned small business (VOSB) risk management consultancy he founded in 2017 following retirement from Federal Government service.
  • David Halwig

    Senior Principal of IntelliVen, Inc.

    David Halwig is a Senior Principal of IntelliVen, Inc., a private consulting firm that provides strategic services to selective senior executives and board members of mid-sized companies at critical inflection points in their growth.
  • Karen Hardy

    Co-Founder, Risk Management Association

    Dr. Karen Hardy has been the architect of a leading and best practice enterprise risk management operation built from the ground up for a $7 billion Cabinet-level government agency with 48,000 employees that support economic growth and opportunity. Prior to her public service, Dr. Hardy managed several branches in consumer banking at Citibank in the private industry.
  • Assistant Deputy, Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, Personnel, Training, and Education

    Dr. Mark Livingston assumed the duties as Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, Personnel, Training, and Education (ADCNO MPT&E) in May 2020. In this role, he serves as the civilian executive advisor to the Chief of Naval Personnel.
  • Founder, President, and Managing Consultant for Excellence in Risk Management, LLC

    Christopher E. Mandel is Founder, President, and Managing Consultant for Excellence in Risk Management, LLC an independent risk consultancy founded in Texas in 2004.

Related Programs

Frequently asked Questions

Are faculty from George Mason University?

A combination of Mason faculty, adjuncts, and subject matter experts teach in the program. 

How was the curriculum created and courses chosen?

Mason Business faculty with the support of an advisory council of c-suite professionals developed the program curricula. Topics and outcomes are reviewed and revised yearly based on feedback and emerging industry best practices.

Is this program eligible under the GI Bill?

Not at this time. 

Are there any discounts to attend the program?

Preferred pricing for government employees is $7,650. A promotional code will be provided to those accepted into the program. Please call (703) 993-8275 if you are a Mason employee or would like to discuss a group rate.   

What does the cost of the program include?

The $8,500 program cost includes all materials, activities, catering, receptions, and a certificate of completion.

How do I register and pay for the program?

Follow this registration link to register for the program. You will receive an emailed response with directions on payment.

How much time will participants need to devote to the program?

Participants should expect to spend seven full days at the George Mason University Mason Square Campus as well as participating in 5-6 online topics delivered in two-week increments. For each two-week topic there will be approximately 8-10 hours of learning including readings, videos, presentations, live session, discuss boards, and deliverables.

How are the courses conducted?

Over the course of five months, there are seven in-person days and five two-week online topics.

In-person days include morning and afternoon learning sessions, catering, and a reception.

Online topics include a combination of asynchronous components such as discussion boards, presentations, videos, and assignments, as well as live synchronous sessions. Expect one to three scheduled live sessions for each online topic. These generally start between 7 and 8 p.m. eastern time. Live sessions are recorded and posted the next day. 

Zoom is used for live online sessions. A tutorial is provided to participants in .pdf format, and an optional live tutorial session is offered as well. All registered participants are given access to Blackboard approximately two weeks prior to the start of the program. 

Do I get university credit for this program? Will I be graded?

This is a non-credit executive education program so you will not earn university credit. However, CEUs (continuing education units) authorized by George Mason University are available upon request. At least two weeks prior to the start of the program, please send your request to You will be asked to provide additional personal information in order to have your CEUs properly recorded.   

Participants will not be graded, but In order to receive a certificate of completion, participants will need to complete a minimum of 80 percent of the work assigned (including assignments, deliverables, discussion boards, and live sessions). At the end of each topic, faculty are asked to provide a summary of participant’s engagement. 

How many participants are enrolled?

The maximum number of participants for a single cohort is 20. 

What are some common student personas/backgrounds/job titles?

Most participants have at least six years of management experience and are at the Director level or above. Approximately half of the participants have been from the public/non-profit sector and half from the private sector. The average age of participants is 45. 

Is there an application deadline?

No. Participants are admitted on a rolling basis up to the start of the program or until the cohort is full. 

Is the program eligible for 1098-T reporting?

No. This program is a non-credit course, therefore not eligible for 1098-T reporting.