In my presentations on leadership, I always cite one example of an incredible leader who has touched my life and hundreds—probably thousands—of others: John Lainhart. John, an ISACA volunteer for nearly 40 years, introduced me to ISACA and the value of professional associations. He was my champion and my friend.
Today, I am heartbroken to share that the ISACA family has lost a great leader and a truly great person. John passed away early this morning.
Over his four decades with ISACA, John was involved in so many aspects of the association. He served as board chair from 1984-1985 and expanded ISACA’s geographic reach. He was known as the “father of CISA” and was instrumental in the development of COBIT. In fact, he was the lead developer of COBIT 2019, which will be released later this year. John held ISACA’s CISA, CISM, CGEIT and CRISC certifications, and was a member of numerous ISACA committees and working groups—most recently, the COBIT Working Group and the Future of IT Governance Steering Committee.
ISACA will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019, and John is a part of so many of those five decades of memories, milestones and successes.
He is also a part of so many of my memories. I succeeded John in his role as inspector general of the US House of Representatives, where he implemented COBIT among many other accomplishments. During his time as IG, he mentored me and helped me become the professional I am today. Though I only worked with him for one year, he supported me on my career path for more than two decades.
In addition to working for the US House of Representatives, John held positions at US Department of Transportation (DOT), the US General Accounting Office (GAO) and IBM Global Business Services’ (GBS) Public Sector, as well as his current role as a director in Grant Thornton Public Sector's Cyber Risk Advisory practice.
Throughout his career he received countless awards recognizing his outstanding work. While with GAO, he received several awards for innovative computer auditing techniques. While with DOT, he was the 1988 Paul R. Boucher Presidential Award winner—the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency's highest award; in 1991, he received the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive; and in 1993, he was awarded DOT's Exceptional Service Award. In 1988, he was awarded ISACA's highest award, the Eugene M. Frank Award for Meritorious Service, and in 1991 he became the 14th recipient of the ISACA New York Metropolitan Chapter's Joseph J. Wasserman Award. He also received ISACA’s 1995 and 1996 President’s Awards and, in November 1996, became the first recipient of ISACA’s John Lainhart Common Body of Knowledge Award.
John co-authored two books on information systems auditing—System Development Auditor and Computerized Information Systems (CIS) Audit Manual and a National Institute of Standards and Technology special publication on systems development life cycle auditing.
But as dedicated as he was to his work, John’s first priority was his incredible family—his wife Alice, his son and two daughters, and his grandchildren. The entire ISACA family wishes the Lainhart family peace and comfort as they grieve the passing of their devoted husband, caring father, and loving grandfather.
John leaves behind a remarkable personal and professional legacy—and I am grateful to have been so profoundly impacted by his knowledge, generosity and kind spirit.
It is important to me that I carry on his legacy of leadership and mentorship—that I reach back and help others who were once where I was, when John reached back and helped me.
John recognized that one of the best parts of being a leader is the ability to help others follow in your footsteps. Today, I encourage you to follow in his. Be a John Lainhart, and find people to champion. You won’t believe what a difference you’ll make in their lives.