Career Center: Help Me Leave a Legacy
Anthony J. Luizzo, Ph.D., CFE, CST, PI
L.C. Security Consulting
Staten Island, NY
Today, the ACFE has more than 140 chapters worldwide. They represent a network of local support for nearly 60,000 members of the organization who seek training, networking and resources on a regular basis. Seventeen years ago, however, the ACFE was still a relatively new organization, with its first generation of chapters gaining a foothold while new ones were emerging.
It was during this time that the founder of the ACFE, Dr. Joseph T. Wells, and his team at the headquarters in Austin recognized a need to ensure that nascent chapters be given the proper guidance and structure to best serve their members.
A leadership model that the ACFE put into place for a period in the mid-1990s involved electing regional governors – one each for the east, west and central regions of the U.S., as well as governors for Canada, New Zealand and Australia (including three of the latter who were appointed). The governors would help guide chapters through their formation period, and also ensure that chapter leaders were working together in a cohesive way to provide a positive member experience across the board.
Anthony Luizzo, Ph.D., CFE, CST, PI, who served as the first governor of the eastern region from 1994-95, recalls the excitement of navigating what was -- at the time -- somewhat uncharted ground.
“This was new, green territory. The ACFE really got kicking,” Luizzo said. “Chapters were just forming then, and the whole idea behind the regional governors was to have representation and to be a liaison to them.
“Our role was quite critical,” Luizzo said. “My main job was to champion the education that the ACFE was putting together. We would set the groundwork for the association going into the various cities.”
There were many details to consider. Luizzo said that some of the questions posed by chapter officials to the regional governors were: How to structure bylaws? Where to hold meetings? What qualifications should speakers have? How to begin to offer CPE? “A lot of members who were interested in establishing a chapter would call to ask, ‘how do we form one? How do we go about this?’”
During the time of the regional governors, the ACFE was also able to facilitate communication between the chapters themselves, and help them work effectively with each other.
The regional governors model is a part of ACFE history – it was designed to help the organization get through a transitional growth period, and was phased out in the late 1990s after the chapter network had become established and a successful framework put into place. Luizzo points out that there was “tremendous growth” during this time, a tribute to the work of the regional governors and the chapters that they assisted.
Luizzo got started in his anti-fraud career as a New York City Police investigator. Following his service to the police department, he went to work in the New York City Mayor’s Office, designing security programs for neighborhoods and businesses, and then served as corporate director of security and loss prevention for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. Luizzo eventually went on to found his own security consulting firm.
Luizzo was deeply involved in the ACFE even before serving as regional governor. He helped form the ACFE - New York Chapter, serving as chapter president, as well as training director and being appointed to various ACFE committees. At the time, he knew he was a part of something big, with fraud grabbing headlines in with cases such as the Crazy Eddie scandal and the savings and loan crisis. The ACFE was fulfilling what had previously been a critical gap in knowledge and training.
“I saw such a need for (the CFE),” Luizzo said. “I always felt that a ‘supersleuth,’ one that combines the skills (needed to fight fraud), would take years to create. A tremendous amount of training would have to be provided to them… and the ACFE filled that role.”
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