Hooked on Auditing

By Credit Union Magazine Staff11.07.2018

Fresh out of college, Mishel Kaufman took an internal audit position where she examined and learned about multiple areas of the business. “Once I started auditing, I was hooked,” she says.

Kaufman has parlayed that experience into a fulfilling, 25-year risk management career, including the past 10 years with $4.4 billion asset Redwood Credit Union in Santa Rosa, Calif., where she’s senior vice president of risk management.

What’s your biggest security related concern?

One of my biggest concerns is cybersecurity. It’s not just an “IT thing.” Everyone’s jobs and personal lives rely on technology.

I’m focused on partnering with our IT [information technology] department to ensure we maintain a strong security posture. I’m also focused on developing ongoing training and awareness about security protocols and risks for our employees and members. To quote G.I. Joe: “Knowing is half
the battle!”

How do you deal with regulatory burden?

We do our best to stay abreast of potential changes and understand the impact to our credit union and members. We make required changes by creating project teams that look for the best way to address regulatory requirements while minimizing member impact. It can be frustrating and costly to address one-size-fits-all regulatory requirements.

We also stay active, and have strong relationships with the California and Nevada Credit Union League, CUNA, and our legislators to address regulatory burden.

What did you learn about business continuity from last year’s wildfires?

I learned that all our years of investment, commitment, and training were invaluable. When disaster struck, we maintained uninterrupted service to our members even though our headquarters was directly in a freimpacted area, only a block away from several buildings that burned down.

What’s your leadership philosophy?

I believe we cultivate engagement, loyalty, and trust when we create an environment defined by honesty, courage, compassion, and connection.

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