Planning to listen and learn
With thirty years of experience behind her, Sandy Holt knows a thing or two about auditing. But how did it feel to move away from her native Tennessee, toward a country where she had never before set foot, to accept the position as Internal Auditor at ITER?
As Internal Auditor, Sandy's role will be to provide the ITER Director-General with independent and objective analysis pertaining to the ''larger picture'' at the ITER Organization.
"I hardly hesitated," says Sandy. "People kept saying 'But you've never been to France before!' That didn't bother me. It's a little daunting, but exciting also. ITER is out at the cutting-edge, and working here is a great opportunity for me."
As Internal Auditor, Sandy's role will be to provide the ITER Director-General with independent and objective analysis pertaining to the "larger picture" at the ITER Organization. "We're the ones who ask questions like: What will keep the ITER Organization from attaining its stated mission? What are the risks? How can we improve the processes?" explains Sandy. "That's especially challenging in a young organization." Sandy will assist the Director-General by furnishing analyses, appraisals, recommendations and counsel concerning the activities reviewed.
For now, she's working side-by-side with Joachim Kuhn, who has been the acting interim Internal Auditor since the month of August, "effectively and efficiently" performing the auditor functions. Joachim will be leaving ITER at the end of April.
Sandy graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Accounting, and worked as an auditor for the State of Tennessee for many years. Widowed, and with a young daughter, she returned to her home town of Knoxville to work as a consultant, and to complete programs to become a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Internal Auditor. In 1995, she joined the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) as Senior Internal Auditor reporting to the US Department of Energy. She became Business Expense Assurance Analyst under the Chief Financial Officer at ORNL last year.
Recently, she was introduced to the ITER opportunity by the US Project Office for ITER at Oak Ridge. "The job description fit my experience and I applied straight away. And here I am. In the two weeks since I've arrived, everyone has gone out of their way to help me acclimate," says Sandy. She looks forward in her spare time to getting to know the area, attending performances, and visiting "the places where things get made" like wineries, artisan workshops, and factories.
For now, Sandy is working side-by-side with Joachim Kuhn, who has been the acting interim Internal Auditor since the month of August.
As to learning French from scratch, Sandy proclaims "I'm ready for lessons, but I also think it takes getting out there and allowing myself to be embarrassed if that's what it comes to. I'm planning to learn, listen, and not make the same mistake twice!"
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