ISACA’s 50th anniversary year is about simultaneously honoring our past while visualizing how our professional community will innovate the future. Last week’s experience at our North America CACS conference in Anaheim provided tremendous inspiration on both fronts.
I will pay homage to ISACA’s remarkable past later in this post, but I want to start by highlighting a member story that underscores why we have such a bright future. I had the privilege of helping to open the conference by sharing the stage with ISACA board chair Rob Clyde and Kelly Lin, an impressive young professional and board member of ISACA's Los Angeles Chapter. Kelly is a rising leader in the IT audit world and an example of how transformative ISACA can be in our members’ lives.
After our time onstage together, I had a 1-on-1 conversation with Kelly that reinforced how fortunate I am to have become CEO last month of such an outstanding organization. Kelly recalled hearing about ISACA from a professor during her time as a college student in Los Angeles, and attending a career night event with ISACA’s Los Angeles Chapter to find out more. She quickly developed connections with members of the chapter, and even took on leadership roles while still a student.
Watch video of David’s
conversation with Kelly
Those ISACA networking connections paid major dividends once she graduated from college as she learned more about career possibilities in IT audit, transitioning from financial audit. Both of Kelly's first two jobs in the IT field, including her current role as AVP IT Audit Lead with East West Bank, came together through her ISACA network. She also continued to gain valuable early leadership opportunities through the Los Angeles Chapter, adding roles as treasurer, programs chair, conference registrar, volunteer chair and her ongoing service on the chapter board of directors.
“This entire journey, ISACA was there to help me put everything together,” Kelly told me. “It shaped who I am today and also my career because if it wasn’t for ISACA being able to provide that networking platform, I would not have had the opportunity to explore and dive into the world of IT.”
David Samuelson and Kelly Lin
True to ISACA’s mission, Kelly is committed to helping the next wave of rising professionals find their professional footing by working with them to provide leadership opportunities, develop their soft skills and – perhaps most importantly – engage them in dialogue about what they want from ISACA to help them grow their careers. That willingness to “pay forward” the benefits Kelly gained through ISACA is the exact mindset that ISACA will need to be even more impactful in the next 50 years.
How did ISACA and its community arrive at this point, so well positioned to meet the challenges of the present and the future? Another component of my experience at North America CACS offered insight. As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, several past board chairs attended the conference, including one of our founding members, Eugene Frank. It was humbling to spend time with these visionary leaders and listen to how meaningful ISACA has been in their lives, both personally and professionally. Each had such genuine passion in their voices as they recounted highlights from their leadership roles, some of which coming from the era when ISACA was known as the EDPAA. Hearing these reflections, it is easy to understand how ISACA has blossomed from Eugene and a handful of his associates in the Los Angeles area in 1969 to become the thriving global association of more than 140,000 members today.
Certainly the growing importance of leveraging technology for organizations around the world has aided in ISACA’s ascent. However, it is clear our greatest resources are the women and men who supplied their visionary wisdom and boundless passion to the organization – the true catalysts of ISACA’s first 50 years and continuing into the future. From Eugene Frank to Kelly Lin, and all of our purpose-driven professionals in between, ISACA has provided the learning network to further great individual accomplishments, strengthen our professional fields of interest, and set in motion lifelong relationships with treasured colleagues.
As Kelly, Rob and I concluded our time onstage in Anaheim, we led a record-setting North America CACS crowd in wishing ISACA a happy 50th birthday. In that spirit, my birthday wish for our professional community is for all of us to build upon the passion that our past leaders have poured into this organization, and to join in Kelly’s pledge to mentor and support the technology professionals of the future.
There is no better way to honor our past than by committing to work together toward an even more promising future.