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Shelina Esmail
Jennifer Madden

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The University of British Columbia
Director, Internal Assurance

Consistently ranked amongst the top 20 public universities and the best 40 public and private universities in the world, The University of British Columbia (UBC) is a global centre for research and teaching. UBC’s spirit has embraced innovation and challenged the status quo since 1915. With two main campuses (Vancouver and Okanagan) located on the traditional territories of the Musqueam Coast Salish and Okanagan peoples, UBC’s entrepreneurial perspective encourages students, staff and faculty to challenge convention, lead discovery and explore new ways of learning. Bold thinking is given a place to define ideas that change the world at UBC. 

In April 2018, the “Office of Enterprise Risk and Assurance” (ERA) portfolio was created to integrate the Enterprise Risk Management and Internal Audit functions of the University in order to deliver greater value by coordinating these important functional areas. UBC created a new Chief Assurance and Risk Officer position to oversee this new unit and provide the leadership to build a best-in-class integrated enterprise risk and assurance function that would serve as a strategic partner to management and support the Board of Governors in fulfilling their risk oversight responsibilities.

ERA provides forward-looking, impactful insights on the University’s top risks and strategic initiatives through the delivery of independent and objective advisory and assurance services. The mandate of the unit includes evaluating and improving the effectiveness of the University’s risk management, control, and governance processes for its dynamic, complex and wide spectrum of activities. ERA is staffed by a team of highly-skilled and certified risk, assurance and administrative professionals.

As part of the transformational journey to build a best-in-class unit, the scope and nature of the internal audit function has expanded from a traditional department primarily focusing on financial risks, to a risk-based progressive function covering a large spectrum of risks and key strategic initiatives. The internal audit function has been renamed to “Internal Assurance” to reflect its broadened and elevated mandate; however, the discipline of internal audit remains embedded into all of our assurance activities.

Reporting directly to the Chief Assurance and Risk Officer and working closely with the Director, Enterprise Risk Management, and the Associate Director, Fraud Risk Management and Data Analytics, the Director, Internal Assurance will significantly contribute to the delivery of the ERA Strategic Plan, to deliver a best-in-class integrated enterprise risk and internal assurance function. The Director, Internal Assurance will oversee the delivery of internal assurance components of the risk-based annual plan through a team of enterprise risk and assurance professionals. The Director, Internal Assurance will also collaborate with other risk, compliance, and assurance functions across the University to maximize overall value delivered, while reducing potential duplication of effort.

The ideal candidate is an astute internal assurance / audit professional who has experience leading a progressive department and brings a strong risk-based approach and has the ability to provide strategic insight, forward-looking advice and a progressive approach to assurance services, rather than simply a focus on controls. A minimum of 2 years’ experience as a Director, Internal Assurance/Audit in a large, complex organization, combined with an undergraduate degree and an accounting, audit and/or risk management designation is required.

Communicating effectively with a range of people, including senior executives, Board members and Deans is essential to this position. The ability to adapt to a complex, rapidly changing environment while managing a team to deliver high-profile engagements within tight timelines is critical. The successful candidate will bring strong strategic partnership experience as an internal assurance leader and a solid business perspective to the role. Along with broad financial, technological, and operational expertise, the Director will have outstanding interpersonal and communication abilities.

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