My five-year-old recently told me that he wants to be an "internic auditor" when he grows up. It was such a proud day for me (although we need to work on the spelling and pronunciation). I realize that he likely will change his mind at least 10 times over the next week about what he wants to do when he grows up, and there is a good chance that his ultimate career choice will not be internal audit. Whatever he chooses to do, I'm glad that he can see how fulfilling it is to me to be an internal auditor. I can't think of a better way to celebrate that fulfillment than to give back to a profession that has given so much to me.
What better time to consider volunteering with International Internal Audit Awareness Month set to begin on May 1? Each May, IIA members, chapters, and institutes worldwide advocate for and promote the profession.
I recently was thinking back about why I originally began volunteering with The IIA. I can't recall an "aha moment," other than I just felt it was important to be involved in the organization that supports my chosen profession.
I initially began volunteering at the local level, first as a website administrator for my local chapter. I also served as chapter president as well as a member of the board of governors at the local level. After being involved at the chapter level, I was interested in getting involved at the North American level, which led me to join the Publications Advisory Committee, which advises Internal Auditor magazine and other IIA publications. Currently, I serve on the North American Board and Global Board. As is apparent from my various volunteer roles, once I got involved, I found it was important to stay involved and find new and different ways to contribute and ultimately serve IIA members across the organization.
Thinking about what I personally gain from volunteering with The IIA, I find the list to be extensive. In reality, as I get more involved with The IIA, I'm actually getting as much, if not more, in return than what I actually put into it. A few key highlights include opportunities to network, grow my leadership skills, and advocate for and influence the internal audit profession.
In terms of networking, there are so many ways that I have expanded my network through involvement with The IIA. Now I have a global network of colleagues and friends. One of the unique things about internal auditors is that through the International Professional Practices Framework, we have a common framework and authoritative guidance that apply to internal auditors around the globe. As I run into issues and challenges on a daily basis, I can connect with other IIA members who have similar issues and challenges, regardless of where they are located. Because of prior relationships with these people through volunteer roles, it is easy to reach out and ask for a different perspective.
I've also noticed that as I have become more involved with The IIA, I've had additional opportunities to take on increased job responsibilities at my work. I believe my company finds that my involvement in The IIA not only helps to fulfill me on a personal level, but it also helps me to perform my job better. Being tuned into the issues and challenges facing internal auditors — as well as having knowledge of the tools that are available through The IIA to address them — has been of great benefit to me.
Also, by embracing opportunities for increased leadership through The IIA, along with being named an Emerging Leader by Internal Auditor magazine in 2014, I have been positioned for greater leadership roles within my company. I encourage readers to nominate a talented internal auditor on the rise as a 2018 Emerging Leader. Internal Auditor is accepting nominations through May 11.
I've also found that through volunteering with The IIA, I have been able to influence and advocate for the profession and our members and have my voice heard. I believe this ultimately will help shape the future of the profession and position us for even greater success. Even better, this advocacy role has been something that I have been able to embrace at all levels of involvement with The IIA, from the chapter level up to the board level. Moreover, through these activities, I have met some wonderful people, spanning lots of backgrounds and perspectives.
I was recently at The IIA Leadership Academy, where IIA chapter leaders from the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Guyana gathered to learn about the latest and greatest tools and techniques to enhance their skills as chapter leaders. I was energized after taking part in this event. To see so many chapter leaders passionate about internal audit giving back really motivated me. I found myself feeding off of the passion of these amazing volunteers, who are also so committed to the members they serve.