This month’s Featured CLIMBER Blaise Wabo talks about his path from Douala, Cameroon, Africa, to his continued journey at A-LIGN as an Associate Director and Chair of the firm’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Network.
Blaise focuses on HITRUST certifications, SOC 1 and SOC 2 examinations and HIPAA audits. Blaise is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), Certified Information Technology Practitioner (CITP), HITRUST Certified CSF Practitioner (CCSFP) and holds a Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK).
Where are you from? How did you start your journey at A-LIGN?
I was born in Douala, Cameroon, and came to the U.S. at the age of 18 for college. Upon graduation, I worked for KPMG and in 2013 accepted a job with A-LIGN as a Senior Information Security Consultant. Today, I am an Associate Director at A-LIGN and reside in Denver, Colorado.
Tell me about your role at A-LIGN.
As an Associate Director, I manage a team of Managers, Seniors and Staff Consultants and ensure the success of our clients. I am responsible for planning the engagements, developing the test plan, managing the team, and delivering quality results to clients.
How do you think COVID has affected the way organizations think about compliance, specifically in the healthcare industry?
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that Security and Privacy Compliance is more than just a check-the-box activity. With a surge in telemedicine also came a surge in data breaches. Hospital CEOs, Presidents and Medical Directors are calculating the risk of an attack and seriously implementing a top-down governance approach to mitigate threats to their operations. Payers and Investors are also mandating their third-party supply chain to demonstrate compliance by adopting a reliable security and privacy framework. The healthcare industry has finally caught up with other industries, such as the financial sector, when it comes to taking security and privacy seriously. Security and Privacy will be paramount to any healthcare player to survive in the industry over the next decade.
What school did you attend? What did you major in?
I attended both Grambling and Louisiana Tech. I majored in Accounting and Computer Information Systems.
My dad was a CPA with his own tax practice, so majoring in Accounting was my dad’s condition to send us to the United States to study and pay for our education. I ventured on adding Computer Information Systems to my majors and today it pays off big time.
What motivates you to wake up and go to work each day?
I work with a great team, and being able to mentor my teammates and watch them grow in their careers brings me a huge amount of satisfaction.
Additionally, I am motivated by helping my clients achieve success by meeting their security and privacy compliance objectives.
What is the most valuable lesson that you have learned at A-LIGN?
Integrity. I have been at A-LIGN for almost 8 years now and integrity is probably the most valuable lesson I have learned. Our clients hire us to be a valuable compliance resource, so maintaining integrity in communications and delivering quality results timely and in a consistent manner is very essential.
What has changed during your tenure?
I started at A-LIGN as a Senior Consultant when we were only 12 employees, and now with over 300 employees almost eight years later, I have seen a lot of change. The Leadership team has become more emotionally intelligent and strives to put its employees first. Also, the firm has developed a lot more organizational structure to ensure that we maintain our culture despite the incredible growth.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
Most people know me as a health and fitness junky, but I am also an avid reader, I play percussion, and I am an excellent cook. Also, I share the exact same birthday with my first son which is a great and bad thing at the same time.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Being a part of the professional growth of my teammates.
What is your motto/personal mantra?
Enjoy the moment!
How has A-LIGN helped you in your career development?
A-LIGN has challenged me to become a better leader and communicator both in the healthcare industry and in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives.
Additionally, prior to joining A-LIGN, I had no professional certifications and today I have 5 certifications.
Have questions about Blaise Wabo or joining the A-LIGN team? Contact us at [email protected] for more information!