Career Center: Making a Career Change
Rose Karam, CFE, CIA
Senior Internal Auditor
City of Cleveland
Rose Karam, CFE, CIA, is Senior Internal Auditor for the City of Cleveland. While her life’s journey has seen her crisscrossing the country, and following her passions for skydiving, sailing and other experiences, it is her knowledge in accounting to which she returned to build a career. Today, Karam has an intense sense of focus and dedication to preventing and detecting fraud.
Tell us a little about your non-traditional career path.
I was a skydiver for 15 years, and my husband and I ran a skydiving jumpsuit business for seven years. I made over 1,000 jumps before trying my hand at sailing. We bought, gutted and converted a 40-ft. bus into our home, doing all the work ourselves. We learned welding, plumbing, electrical work and bodywork. Then we began crisscrossing the county driving semi-trucks and delivering freight. Back in Cleveland, I worked at a storage facility renting spaces and moving trucks, setting up the books on the computer and doing taxes. Later I found myself at another non-profit agency as an accountant.
How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?
While in college, I worked at the main post office and considered becoming a Postal Inspector. This is when my curiosity for investigative work first arose. Later on, I worked for a non-profit agency and heard stories of the woman who had gotten away with a sizeable embezzlement. Reputation was at stake. Despite all the red flags, there was no tightening of controls. I learned that trust is not a control, it’s wishful thinking… I set a goal to gain more knowledge on fraud investigating, which led to my Certified Fraud Examiner (credential).
What are some of your duties as Senior Internal Auditor for the City of Cleveland?
As a Senior Internal Auditor, I often lead audits and provide recommendations based on my experience or expertise in the field, and provide guidance to newer members.
What are some of the best lessons you have learned through your work experience?
Positions of trust are powerful fraud weapons. High level positions, little or no segregation of duties, a lack of controls, and absent delegation-of-duties all work to the fraudster’s benefit. Everyone should have to answer to someone because without that control in place the temptation for fraud rises. You need to have a passion for discovery, education and growth – and I consider myself a sponge for knowledge.
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