Talent Insights Thursday, November 19, 2020

Young Professionals Spotlight: Changing Careers During COVID-19, Sarah Khan

Meet our CLT Alliance Young Professional Board Member, Sarah Khan. Hear how she has adapted her life through COVID-19 and learned to thrive not only in her personal life but also throughout her professional career. 

Changing Careers During COVID-19

Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, I began my southward journey (and move towards warmer weather) when I chose to attend the University of Richmond in Virginia. I graduated with both a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (concentration Management) and a Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies (concentration Organizational Leadership). Despite numerous internships in disciplines such as human resources, sales, and accounting, I began my professional career unsure of what I was ‘passionate’ about.

Following graduation, I moved to Washington D.C. to work as a consultant for Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, one of the 20 largest accounting and advisory firms in the US. It was in this role that I was staffed on my first forensic investigation. I was hooked. Figuring out pieces of a puzzle, performing analytics and reviewing documents to get to the root cause excited me, and I knew this is what I was passionate about. Shortly thereafter I moved to Charlotte to join the Forensic Advisory Services practice at Grant Thornton, another large accounting and advisory firm.

I spent nearly six years at Grant Thornton focused on conducting investigations, building damages models, and assisting financial institution’s with assessing conduct risk and investigating allegations of improper sales practices. During this time, I also earned my MBA at Wake Forest University. One of the most rewarding cases I worked on at Grant Thornton was with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in what they describe as the largest international real estate investment scam investigated by the FTC.

This year, in the middle of this pandemic, I decided to make a career change. I am currently the Director of Fraud at Ally Invest. In this role I am responsible for managing the Ally Invest Fraud Program. This entails managing a team of investigators who are responsible for conducting investigations, reviewing large sets of data to discover patterns of activity, and developing predictive analytics to detect fraudulent behavior. I collaborate across lines of business to build fraud awareness and provide recommendations on how to enhance fraud controls. In today’s COVID environment, coupled with the impending presidential election, fraud and identity theft are on the rise. While a lot of my job responsibility focuses on fraud detection, we also proactively build strategies to prevent fraud. These strategies often benefit consumers as we are able to prevent fraud, and any resulting financial loss. Identifying these attacks before they compromise an account is something I am passionate about.

Joining a new company virtually presented unique challenges with respect to networking and getting to know my team and those I would be collaborating with. While ‘meeting’ individuals virtually can be challenging, I found that this virtual environment, which often forces us to reveal information about our personal lives, allows us to learn so much about one another. This information allows us to understand what is important to our colleagues, and I believe it makes us more empathic and better managers.

Outside of my professional career, I sit on the Johnston YMCA board and on the Charlotte Alliance Young Professionals Board. Serving on the Charlotte Alliance Young Professionals board has allowed me to expand my professional network across industries that differ from mine and work alongside professionals who are equally passionate about the future of Charlotte. At our events I enjoy engaging in dialogue with professionals in the Charlotte region about what is important to them, understanding the lens in which they view our city, and how as a board member, we can present ideas or host events to help move our city forward.

On a personal note, I met my husband in the Wake Forest MBA program. We currently have two dogs and 11-month identical twin girls. Fun fact - I began long distance running in 2014 and currently have a goal to race a marathon in each state by the time I am 50 years old. So far, I have run five marathons in VA, AR, WI, MA, and PA (you can follow my journey on IG @sarahrunsCLT).


Posted by: Sarah Kahn, CLT Alliance Young Professional Board Member @ 12:00:00 am


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