Empower Audit Training and Consulting was founded on the belief that a small boutique service provider for audit training and consulting is better able to stay ahead of the continually changing demands in today’s audit industry affording us the ability to provide pertinent and practical skill development. The past decade has seen extensive and far reaching changes in audit and many training and consulting firms are in a constant struggle to keep up. Staying informed while trying to become more effective and efficient and simultaneously becoming more valuable to an organization can be a daunting task for any audit group. We provide insight into today’s cutting-edge methodologies and strategies to help you develop the skills and programs you need to succeed in today’s complex audit environment.
Empower Audit Training and Consulting is on a mission to empower professionals through relevant, dynamic services unique to each of our clients. Empower Audit is working to set a new standard for continuing education in risk and controls management.
Mary Breslin, CIA. CFE FOUNDER & MANAGING PARTNER
Mary Breslin is the founder of Empower Audit Training and Consulting and specializes in Internal Audit transformations, Operational and Financial Auditing, Fraud Auditing & Investigations, and Corporate Accounting.
Her career spans over 20 years in Internal Auditing, Management and Accounting for companies such as ConocoPhillips, Barclays Capital, Costco Wholesale, Jefferson Wells and Boart Longyear. With significant International experience, she has managed audit programs in more than 50 countries. Most recently, Ms. Breslin held the titles of Vice President and Chief Audit Executive where she transformed a checklist audit functions into a value add audit departments which regularly delivered measurable business results through the use of risk based auditing, data analytics, continuous education and skill development for her leadership team and staff.
Additionally Ms. Breslin has extensive Fraud Audit and Investigation experience and has conducted major fraud investigations on multiple continents including large scale federal cases domestically. She has developed and implemented fraud auditing programs in various industries focused on both accounting and operations.
Ms. Breslin attended Rutgers University and received her BS in accounting, and an MBA from the University of Phoenix while living and working overseas. She is a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She maintains memberships in the IIA, and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and has been a conference speaker for the IIA.
Keith Barber, CISA, ACDA, ACT PARTNER, BUSINESS ANALYTICS INSIGHT
Keith Barber is Director, Data Analytics Insight, where he specializes in data analytics training, data analytics program implementations, and advancing data analytics programs.
Keith has extensive experience helping clients solve complex data issues using various software tools. His professional expertise includes data analytics, IT audit, fraud detection, automated control monitoring, the use of Business Intelligence to support strategic decision making, and personnel/project management. During his tenure with the Big 4, Keith delivered a number of audit data analytics projects in support of financial audit, tax engagements, business risk and IT engagements.
As a Corporate Audit Manager of Data Analytics of a financial services company, Keith built a world class data analytics program encompassing real-time risk analysis scorecards, sophisticated continuous auditing and monitoring, automated action item tracking and automated large swaths of SOX testing. Additionally Keith has trained and developed hundreds of data analysts through training courses he teaches and within the organizations he has led data teams. Over the course of his career, Keith’s technical expertise and seasoned judgment were key to satisfying client needs, delivering the right level of customization to ensure that clients received the highest value for their investment.
Mr. Barber received his BS in Computer Science from Madonna University. He is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), ACL Certified Data Analyst (ACDA) and an ACL Certified Trainer. He maintains memberships in the IIA, ISACA and Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
Anthony Joy, CFE, CPA SENIOR DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL AUDIT TRANSFORMATIONS
Tony is the Director of Compliance / Internal Audit (which includes Investigations) for Ausenco Group, an Australian Engineering and Construction Management company that specialize in Mining / Minerals, Energy and Infrastructure, with offices and projects across the globe.
Tony has more than 20 years of professional accounting, audit, risk, compliance and investigative experience – all in numerous roles with multi-national companies. He has specialized in Designing, Developing / Transforming and Overseeing the execution of the Governance, Risk Management, Compliance, Internal Audit, and Investigation functions at numerous diversified multi-national companies. In addition, he has also worked in Mergers & Acquisitions, Crisis & Security Management, and SOX implementation.
His experience includes numerous projects in Emerging Markets, particularly China, India, Eastern Europe / Russia, Brazil and the Middle-East.
He is also a Guest Instructor, with the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), and has presented on numerous occasions for the MIS Training Institute on a variety of topics related to internal audit, internal controls, compliance and investigations.
He received his Bachelor degree from Baldwin-Wallace College and is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He is a member of the Dayton, Ohio, chapter of The Institute of Internal Auditors, is a CPA and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Ohio Society of CPAs, and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
Gwen McDade, CPA, CIG, CPIP DIRECTOR, GOVERNMENT AND NONPROFIT AUDITING
Gwendolyn D. McDade is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Inspector General, and a Certified Program Integrity Professional in Medicaid.
Gwen has extensive audit and financial management responsibilities in the private sector, non-profit, and government performing internal and external audits, in audit preparation and readiness, launching and sustaining internal controls, establishing finance and internal audit departments, implementing accounting and audit systems, developing and documenting policies and procedures, and delivering operational results and training classes.
As America’s region Internal Audit Manager at Motorola, she worked to implement global controls over $1 billion of inventory. In her four years as a Deputy Inspector General of Compliance at the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, she oversaw a budget of $10 million and led 200 auditors and nurses in ensuring that state and federal funds were used in accordance with applicable law.
A financial leader in industry and government, Gwen partnered with a $200 million Global Drivers business at Motorola. She oversaw $100 million in revenue and $300 million in assets for a governmental risk pool, earning unqualified opinions of the annual financial statements for eight years while ensuring the existence of effective internal controls and implementing an accounting system.
Gwen is able to convey her knowledge to individuals and national audiences. She trained agency auditors to audit the multi-fund college and university financial statements, delivered training to the IIA and governmental risk pools on internal controls and compliance, and served as a mentor to aspiring leaders.
Lynn Fountain, CPA DIRECTOR AUDIT EFFICIENCY, ETHICS AND LEADERSHIP
Ms. Fountain has over 30 years of experience in the business profession, which includes public and industry accounting and over 20 years within internal and external auditing combined. She has held CAE roles in two international companies where she has developed strategic risk based audit processes facilitated strong relationships with management and the Audit Committee, and served as a member of the strategic leadership team in the sale of her utility employer.
Ms. Fountain is a subject matter expert and specializes in Internal Audit, Sarbanes-Oxley, Enterprise Risk Management, Fraud, Governance, compliance and COSO. She has successfully developed leading edge training around the implementation and operationalization of the framework. Ms. Fountain has been instrumental in the establishment of ERM, Sarbanes-Oxley and governance frameworks. Along with the development and delivery of leading edge training and consulting both nationally and internationally, she has executed two high successfully e-workshops for the Institute of Internal Auditors, on Fraud and on Ethics. Both workshops have incorporate aspects of COSO 2013.
Ms. Fountain obtained her BSBA from Pittsburg State University and her MBA from Washburn University in Kansas. She currently holds her Chartered Global Management Accountant and Certified Risk Management Assurance Certificates. In addition she holds her certificate in Certified Public Accountancy (non active).
Bret Kobel MANAGING PARTNER
Bret Kobel is the Director of Finance and Accounting for Empower Audit. Mr. Kobel has more than 20 years of professional finance, accounting, audit, risk and compliance experience. Mr. Kobel specializes in internal controls, process improvement, process transformation & implementation with organizations operating under IFRS and/or GAAP Standards.
Mr. Kobel brings a diverse background to the organization. He spent two years on assignment in Singapore as the Regional CFO and Controller for an international logistics company responsible for seven countries in the Asia Pacific region. Bret implemented a baseline internal controls framework for a large international drilling services company operating in over 40 countries. At the same organization he was also responsible for developing the initial policies & procedures for the organization and implementing them on six continents.
Bret has significant experience as a CFO and Controller including multiple venture-backed startups where he had direct responsibility for arranging financing, developing budgets and forecasts, building accounting and finance functions, and executed multiple restructuring initiatives.
Mr. Kobel received his BS degree from Indiana University and his MBA from The University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).
Stephen Nash, J.D. DIRECTOR, TAX OPERATIONS
Mr. Nash has over 20 years experience working in corporate tax, accounting and legal functions. He has held both the position of Vice President of Tax and General Counsel for several companies and most recently held the title of Vice President of Tax for a global financial services organization. He has established in-house corporate tax departments, developed and implemented organizational restructuring saving millions of dollars a year in tax liability for his organizations. He understands the needs of global organizations and has worked successfully with several to identify and implement organizational structures that lessen tax burdens.
Mr. Nash holds an accounting degree from Texas A&M and a Juris Doctorate from South Texas College of Law and is a member in good standing with the State Bar of Texas. The combination of his accounting and legal education provides his clients with a wealth of knowledge to support both legal, accounting and tax functions in both private and publicly traded organizations. He has overseen the successful due diligence and integration of multiple mergers and acquisitions both domestically and internationally, as well as business divestments and sales of major assets.
In addition, Mr. Nash has worked in public accounting for Deloitte & Touche in their tax group advising clients on international tax planning, cross border mergers and acquisitions, and corporate restructurings.
Mr. Nash has had the privilege of successfully representing organizations in a legal and accounting perspective in front of the NASDAQ Listings Qualifications Panel. And Mr. Nash has had the responsibility for overseeing income tax returns in more than a dozen countries for international businesses.
And earlier in his career, Mr. Nash was Partner for Soren McAdams Christensen where he oversaw the tax department, working with companies to implement tax saving strategies.