After being a CFO for a global health care leader in the Middle East, Rémi Gayraud, CFE, dedicated more than 10 years in investigations and project management to forensic firms as a partner with Grant Thornton. Rémi now works on the corporate investigations team for a science-led health care company overseeing Europe and Africa. He’s also a co-author of two French books, and has collaborated with ACFE’s President and CEO Bruce Dorris, on the first CFE Exam Review Course in France. Rémi is part of the ACFE Mentoring Program. He serves as a mentor, and one of his former mentees was Thomas Bouloutsos.
Thomas is an Assistant to Internal Audit for a European Union Agency. Thomas joined the ACFE Mentoring Program because he hoped to meet and connect with others in his field. He also wanted to create a solid career path for himself with the guidance of a seasoned professional. These two created a lasting friendship and have a few tips to share with those who are considering joining the ACFE Mentoring Program.
Why was it important for both of you to join the Mentoring Program?
Rémi: Empowering others is a way also to empower yourself and giving to others is also a way to receive. It was a good experience for me in order to redefine my own thinking and approaches.
Thomas: I saw the Mentoring Program as a great opportunity to contact professionals with common professional interests and greater experience than mine in the fraud-fighting profession. Since I believe that more experienced people have a lot to share and teach to younger professionals, the major goal I was hoping to accomplish was to have a mentor who would offer guidance to take the right steps in my career as well as share knowledge. I can definitely say that Rémi not only met but also exceeded my expectations.
Rémi, how did you know Thomas would be the right mentee for you?
It was difficult to anticipate that Thomas would be the right mentee. However, we have a financial background in common and also are foreigners living abroad. Thomas is Greek, living in Hungary, and now in Tallin, Estonia. I am French, living in the Czech Republic. With Thomas, it was particularly challenging because he had to make a critical professional decision: new job in a new country impacting his personal life. It was a good opportunity to have qualitative and intense exchanges, and Thomas made a challenging choice and for sure a successful one!
Thomas, what were you looking for in a mentor? What inspired you to request Rémi?
I was looking for an experienced mentor who would not be reluctant to share his knowledge and who would be able to transfer this knowledge in a clear and concise way. As mentioned by Rémi, the similar professional and personal background was a crucial factor in requesting Rémi to be my mentor. Now after reaching the end of the program, I am 100% sure that I made the right choice.
What advice do you both have for anyone who wants to join the ACFE Mentoring Program?
Rémi: Being a mentor is an exciting opportunity to discover new personalities, new cultures and new ways of thinking. It can redefine your own approaches.
As a mentor, it’s not only about giving, but also receiving from your mentee in terms of trends and technology that may escape you.
Thomas: My advice is to go for it and not be afraid to take the initiative to start discussions with potential mentors! Given the example of Rémi, the ACFE Mentoring Program gives the opportunity to less experienced CFEs to interact with more experienced ones and gives professional advice and valuable professional lessons.
What has been the most rewarding part of your journey together?
Rémi: On my side, it was rewarding to assist Thomas in making a critical decision, and I was impressed when Thomas took the final step. It was very brave! It is also a lesson for me — always be positive, take some risks and life will be amazing!
Thomas: The most rewarding part, as it was already mentioned by Rémi, was the fact that I could raise my concerns and fears in a critical decision that I had to take. Rémi acted as an independent evaluator of the situation and gave valuable advice and guidance. I would like to add that our journey doesn’t stop with the end of the Mentoring Program. Not only do I believe that I had a good mentor but also a good friend that I hope to meet in person soon!
Enrollment for the upcoming session of the ACFE Mentoring Program is now open. Visit the Mentoring Program homepage for more information on how you can enroll.