What Does Success Mean to You? Female fraud fighters weigh in


Mandy Moody, CFE
ACFE Media Manager

This past Tuesday, March 8, the ACFE recognized our more than 28,000 female anti-fraud professionals in honor of International Women's Day. We created a page on our website to share articles, resources and profiles of the women dedicating their time to fighting fraud. This page will stay up year-round, and we look forward to adding more resources throughout the year. 

While preparing these materials, I thought it might be a good idea to ask some of the female leaders I have met over the years what their idea of success is and what it means to them to be truly successful. Here is what they told me:

"In my career as an investigative reporter, success was always a heady mixture of puzzle-solving satisfaction, truth-telling intensity and that incredible feeling of being stretched and enlarged by new knowledge and new skills. Success means living into the very best version of my professional self I can muster, using my resources to the max." - Diana B. Henriques, Author and Financial Writer
"For me, professional success is the convergence of four key factors: 1) using my strengths to add value to the organization; 2) continuing to learn, grow, and be challenged; 3) being part of a team that communicates and collaborates effectively; and 4) remaining true to myself and my ideals." - Andi McNeal, CFE, CPA, ACFE Director of Research
"For me, professional success is achieving your goals with excellence without compromising personal and professional values and ethics, while preserving relationships and the wellbeing of those around you. If you must rise to the top, it is through hard work, enriched knowledge and personal sacrifice; never by devaluing the work of your peers. Today is International Women’s Day; it makes me think back to when I first entered the world of anti-fraud; it was clearly male dominated. Fast forward 20 years and today this industry is more likely to hire based on skill and ability rather than gender, making it more balanced! This is progress we can celebrate, however we still have a lot of work ahead of us as there is still a marked inequality in pay; on a more global view, women represent 40 percent of the world’s labor force but hold just 1 percent of the world’s wealth (according to the World Bank).” - Carmen Wiechers, CFE, Regional Loss Prevention Manager-Western Canada, ValueVillage
"In my 25 years in the workplace, I have found that women tend to be risk averse.  Success has given me the freedom and confidence to pick my assignments as a journalist and, in 2011, decide to write a book, The Billionaire's Apprentice: The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund. A decade earlier, I had been approached by a publisher to write a book while I was working at The Wall Street Journal. Then, in 2008, before I joined Forbes, I was given another opportunity to write a book. I turned that one down too. A junior colleague -- a man -- ended up writing the book which became a New York Times best-seller. For me, success was the key to giving me the courage to walk away from a 9 to 5 job and take up the challenge of writing a book on my own. It's been incredibly rewarding and it has opened up new horizons for me. Besides writing, I now give speeches. That's an opportunity I would have never had if I hadn't written the book.  - Anita Raghavan, investigative reporter and author
“Success for me is about having a real passion for my work because I am doing the things that I love and loving the things that I do. When I am continually learning, challenging people to think differently, inspiring others and driving impact through my work there is nothing more professionally satisfying.” - Bethmara Kessler, CFE, Chief Audit Executive, Campbell Soup
"Success is a balance of these factors: Happy and loving marriage + happy children + rewarding job that allows me to be creative + being active in society to make the world a better place. Success is giving 100 percent of yourself in all aspects of life (work, marriage, children), doing the right thing versus the easy thing, and enjoying and appreciating every step of the way." - Liseli Pennings, CFE, ACFE Deputy Training Director
“Understand that your definition of success does not have to match society’s. Success does not have to be about revenue growth, more money in the bank, etc. Success could be a new idea. Having lunch with your kid at school on a random Tuesday. Making new professional connections. Hiring your first employee. For me, I can certainly see the outward signs of success of my business – from starting a company in my home office to now having a nationally recognized firm to being on the ACFE Board of Regents. But, that’s not my focus. Just yesterday, I helped a board of directors for a small organization understand what happened, from the amount of loss, to the sequence of events that led to the loss. As difficult as it was to digest the information, you could see that the clarity we provided led to their ability to make informed decisions. That’s what I focus on. The success of each engagement, one at a time.” - Tiffany Couch, CFE, CPA, CFF, ACFE Regent, Principal of Acuity Forensics