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Internal Auditor Magazine Recognizes 15 Emerging Leaders

New generation reflects agility, flexibility to meet profession’s changing needs

LAKE MARY, Fla. (Dec. 5, 2016) — The 2016 Emerging Leaders, as named by Internal Auditor magazine, share a passion for adapting to the rapidly evolving challenges faced by internal audit. They understand that remaining agile and flexible enough to respond to change is what will add value to internal auditing in the future.

The magazine’s December issue features 15 rising stars in its cover story, “On the Rise,” which profiles each emerging leader’s rise within the profession.

“The 2016 Emerging Leaders class is as impressive a group as we have ever had,” says Anne Millage, editor-in-chief of Internal Auditor. “The caliber of their work, their passion for internal auditing, and their keen understanding that the profession must adapt gives me great comfort about the future.”

This year’s emerging leaders list includes auditors from the U.S., Canada, and Uganda. Nine of the 15 are women, and the average age is 28.

Chris Eidd, CIA, CPA, 29, Senior Internal Auditor, Builders FirstSource, Dallas

Eidd is an eager and committed advocate for the profession, especially through his involvement with students at The University of North Texas. He is excited about the profession’s move beyond Sarbanes-Oxley testing to embrace a wider scope of assurance and advisory responsibilities.

Grace Sharpley, CPA, 27, Internal Audit Manager, AutoZone, Memphis, Tenn.

The opportunity to be a change agent for her organization is what drives Sharpley. She is committed to demonstrating internal audit’s value by driving her team to explain the importance of each audit finding to clients and the reasons for implementing recommendations.

Jenny Wei, CIA, CPA, CA, 29, Manager, Risk Advisory, Deloitte, Edmonton, Alberta

Wei is successfully crafting her rising star status through her knowledge of data analytics, and wants to speed innovation in the profession. Internal auditors must become innovative thinkers, propose creative solutions, and innovate in ways to improve internal audit functions, Wei says.

Jaimie Yang, CIA, CPA, CISA, 25, Senior Auditor, CEC Entertainment, Irving, Texas

Yang excels at streamlining processes, including cutting one training program from 470 hours to 250 hours. Internal audit should improve its client relationships to improve understanding of what internal audit does and why, says Yang. “With better client input, we can be more effective at helping the company progress,” she says.

Roland Stautzenberger, CIA, CRMA, CCSA, 27, Auditor, Farmers Insurance, Austin, Texas

Stautzenberger’s wish is for internal audit to be viewed as a business partner throughout the enterprise. Indeed, he wants all job descriptions to require collaborating with internal audit to achieve organizational objectives.

Kristine Tkachenko, CIA, CISA, 29, Senior Auditor, Research Compliance, University of Toronto

Tkachenko’s tech and social media savvy have made her especially valuable to her organization. She advises young internal audit practitioners to be open to the fun opportunities the profession offers and seek out a wide variety of mentors.

Ambrose Opolot, CIA, ACCA, 29, Risk and Audit Coordinator, Toyota Uganda Ltd., Kampala

Opolot knows the challenges of meeting stakeholder expectations, especially having already created an internal audit function from scratch. Opolot convinced his company’s leaders to bring the function in house, and now he must not only prove internal audit’s value to stakeholders but also mentor a young staff. That suits him just fine.

Matt Kozlowski, CIA, CRMA, 29, Senior Manager, Protiviti, Houston

Internal audit must keep its interactions with clients positive, says Kozlowski, who has gained a reputation as a strong promoter of the profession. He wants to see internal audit functions expand their comfort zones beyond finance and accounting to include all parts of the organization.

Ann Gripentog, CIA, CPA, 28, Internal Audit Manager, Station Casinos LLC, Las Vegas

Gripentog is a dedicated internal auditing ambassador telling those throughout her organization about the benefits of internal audit and educating students at University of Nevada Las Vegas accounting department about the profession.

Erica Burnham, CIA, 28, Internal Audit Supervisor, Raytheon Co., Waltham, Mass.

Completing her MBA helped Burnham think more strategically and understand the interconnectedness of business operations, she says. This big-picture view of the organization also helped her see how internal audit can benefit an organization beyond compliance and control issues.

Ryan Singer, CIA, 27, Business Risk Manager, Crowe Horwath LLP, Columbus, Ohio

Singer has quickly gained a reputation as an innovative thinker particularly in determining how he can apply his particular skills to a process. Those process changes can be simple or complex, but all are aimed at improving client service.

Dariel Dato-on, CIA, CISA, 26, Senior, Risk, EY, Dallas

Problem scenarios offered in the classroom are a far cry from the real-world where there often are no clear-cut answers, says Dato-on. This surprised him when he began his career in internal auditing, but finding solutions to those thorny issues today is what he enjoys doing most.

Robin Brown, 30, Lead Consultant, Risk Advisory Services, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, Atlanta

Internal auditors must become proficient at evaluating and testing IT systems and expanding their knowledge of anything that occupies the cybersecurity space, Brown says. This is a must for helping their organizations identify, contain, and respond to a data breach. She also advocates the use of data analytics to identify key trends, leading indicators, and areas of risk.

Jamie White, CPEA, CESCO, 30, Managing Consultant, EHS Performance and Risk Management, Trinity Consultants Inc., Raleigh, N.C.

White has become a high flyer in a specialized area that promises to grow – environmental, health and safety (EHS) auditing. In her current role, she is an on-call resource for EHS issues at 50 company offices around the globe. She is also heavily involved in The IIA’s Environmental, Health & Safety Audit Center, currently serving as vice chair of the EHS Center Advisory Board.

Kayla Brown, CPA, 26, Senior Internal Auditor, Carter’s Inc., Atlanta

Embracing technology is key to internal auditing’s future, Brown says, but good communications and building relationships will always be central to great client service. Leveraging those relationships will help stakeholders recognize internal audit as a business partner.

About Internal Auditor Magazine

Internal Auditor magazine is the world’s leading publication covering the internal audit profession. The award-winning, bimonthly magazine shares timely, helpful, and indispensable information for professionals who want to keep pace with the diverse, dynamic field of internal auditing. For more information, visit