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Meet Taz Kalolwala, CFE

Senior manager, internal audit at Bridgestone Americas Inc.



Kids are often categorized in one of two ways — rule-followers or disobedient rebels. Taz Kalolwala, CFE, definitely identifies as the former. “I was always a rule follower as a kid,” she says. “Growing up in a big city like Mumbai, India, I found people were always trying to take advantage of other people. This frustrated me, so I’d always argue, stand up against wrongdoing and verify everything.”

This attitude instilled in Kalolwala a discipline and affinity for guidelines. It transcended from her personal life — where she watched out for her two younger brothers and her cousins — to her work as an auditor. “I find immense satisfaction in uncovering fraud schemes and employee wrongdoing, and in substantiating inappropriate behavior. I believe this is my way of helping people and reducing suffering.”

The road to Bridgestone

In 2002, Kalolwala started her career as a business analyst at a shipping company where she helped implement controls to manage business risks. In 2003, she married and moved to Houston, Texas, where she worked as an internal audit manager at a private telecommunications company. “I was tasked to put together an internal audit team for this retail company,” she says. “This retailer, with more than 300 locations across the U.S., had their own share of losses due to employee and customer wrongdoing and fraud. As an extension of my role, I started assisting with investigations and working with the legal team.”

After five years with the telecommunications company, Kalolwala wanted to work for a public limited company, so she joined Reliant Energy (later acquired by NRG Energy Inc.) as an internal auditor. In her 11 years at NRG Energy Inc., Kalolwala was promoted four times and eventually became a director over the financial and operations audit group.

“I managed a team of up to eight auditors and participated on investigations led by the compliance team,” she says. “I performed fraud risk assessments on behalf of management, and I reviewed fraud risks in process audits.”

In August 2019, Kalolwala joined Bridgestone Americas Inc. as a senior manager, internal audit, where she still works.

Becoming a well-rounded auditor and fraud examiner

“As a senior manager at Bridgestone I’m responsible for leading a diverse, multi-cultural, geographically dispersed and talented team across the Americas to successfully complete the assigned audit plan,” says Kalolwala. Her team provides assurance to the audit committee and senior management on the adequacy of the control environment on various financial and operational processes across the organization. “My role focuses on driving quality improvements within the audit department and across the organization plus promoting effective collaboration across multiple risk assurance functions and leadership.”

Kalolwala also says she leads, assists and completes investigations assigned by the compliance department.

During the course of her career, and what has led her to her success at Bridgestone, are the investigative skills she’s picked up along the way. These include:

  • Active listening. “It’s important to listen for spoken and unspoken clues,” she says. “Sometimes, the white space or silence can be very powerful during interviews.”
  • Good interpersonal skills. Kalolwala encourages creating a good rapport with people to help make them feel at ease.
  • Persistence. “Sometimes the most well-researched and thought-out plans won’t work,” she says. “You need to be able to adapt, regroup and go back to the drawing board.”
  • Technical skills. Kalolwala says that practice makes perfect when trying to enhance your technical abilities. “The CFE credential is a great asset to assist with this,” she says.
  • Passion. “It’s important to be passionate about what you do and to always keep sight of the big picture — helping people and organizations,” she says.

Why we’re celebrating Kalolwala on International Women’s Day

“Mentoring diverse team members — those with more than 25 years of experience, millennials, college graduates, peers — through changes and acquisitions has been one of my biggest achievements,” says Kalolwala. “I enjoy celebrating my teammates and peers’ successes and achievements as much as my own.”

Kalolwala has worked her way up the corporate ladder during the course of her career, but it’s her people skills and team-nurturing abilities that sets her apart. She advises fellow CFEs to remain humble and continuously seek help from other anti-fraud professionals.

“Being a CFE has allowed me to expand my network, mentor and be mentored through a diverse group of individuals with a common purpose, and connect with law enforcement officers, lawyers, investigators, auditors and entrepreneurs all with the common purpose of fighting fraud,” she says.

“I’ve learned that you can learn something from everyone you meet — even the individuals who commit fraud. Opportunities and clues can be found in the most unexpected of places and people. And you should always be kind and respectful to everyone — you never know another person’s story, and one humane act can go a long way.”

Thank you to all of the women fraud fighters out there for your work and invaluable contributions to the global fight against fraud. Read more about women in the anti-fraud profession on International Women's Day and throughout the week at the ACFE Insights blog.

Emily Primeaux, CFE, is associate editor of Fraud Magazine. Contact her at eprimeaux@ACFE.com.







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