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To the future: The evolving role of the chief audit executive

Focusing on what’s new, now, and next

Internal auditors are not widely known for their ability to disrupt and transform business—but they should be. In this episode of Resilient, Brandi Thomas, vice president, corporate audit for Delta Air Lines, sits down with Sandy Pundmann to discuss the evolving role of the chief audit executive.

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Creating a compelling case for change

Most people think internal auditors are hunched over spreadsheets all day, and that’s somewhat true. But Brandi Thomas does more than that. She collects and analyzes information, data, and dialogue in order to facilitate meaningful change. But change is not an easy sell, especially within a large organization. So how can CAEs drive disruption and transform their business?

In this episode of the Resilient podcast, Brandi says that in order to have an impact on the business, the CAE first needs to develop key relationships with business leaders. Only by having a seat at the table can you be heard, and even then, you need to be resilient because advocating for new ideas requires persistence.

Brandi also emphasizes the importance of hiring the right people. She looks for someone who is innately curious, understands the operational and financial implications of their role, and knows what technology can support them. "A jack of all trades," she says. When the right team is formed, innovation can take place.

Innovation is not the tech, it’s not the stuff. It’s a cultural mind shift. I tell my team that they're innovative, I tell them that they're creative, I tell them that where they're working is a place where they can fail fast and make mistakes.

Brandi sees immense value in public accounting training for CAEs, and she thinks it’s equally important for CAEs to bring a variety of other skill sets to the table and to come with a point of view.

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Resilient is an award-winning podcast series that features authentic, engaging, and thought-provoking conversations with leaders. Hear interviews and personal stories about how CEOs, senior executives, government officials, board members, and people outside of the business world embrace complexity to lead, navigate, and disrupt to accelerate performance. And discover what they learned about resilience amid risk, crisis, and disruption.

For more in the series, visit the Resilient podcast library page.

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