Editor’s note: The ISACA Now series titled “Faces of ISACA” highlights the contributions of ISACA members to our global professional community, as well as providing a sense of their lives outside of work. Today, we spotlight Australia-based consultant Gerard A. Joseph.
Australia resident and ISACA member Gerard Joseph has traveled extensively throughout the United States, as his visits to all 50 US states would attest.
One of Joseph’s can’t-miss US destinations is wherever ISACA’s North America CACS conference is taking place.
Joseph has amassed some serious frequent flyer miles – and drawn his share of quizzical banter from fellow conference attendees – for what has become an annual tradition of trekking to North America CACS all the way from his home just outside Canberra, Australia.
“It does kick off the conversation quite nicely, and you can go from there,” Joseph said. “At the conferences, you’re not just talking commercially, but you can mix it with the personal side of things. I guess coming from Australia, it does attract attention to some extent because of the distance. It just helps to cement a nice, easygoing relationship, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes, to talk about where you’ve been and how much of the country you’ve seen.”
Joseph became an ISACA member in 2006 when he pursued the CISA certification, and, as he learned more about the depth of offerings at North America CACS, he decided it was well worth the time and financial investment to attend. Joseph has attended North America CACS each of the past four years, including the most recent gathering last month in Las Vegas.
Joseph has many friends, business associates and even a daughter in the United States, so he tends to combine his CACS trips with other visits and sightseeing. Besides, journeying thousands of miles is a fact of life for Australians with a taste for travel.
“For Australians and for New Zealanders, really to travel anywhere you’ve got to travel a long way,” said Joseph, who has visited around 35 countries in total. “If we travel, we’re used to traveling a long distance.”
Joseph, a consultant, is a registered security assessor under a program managed by an agency of the Australian Department of Defence. As his career unfolds, he has become intrigued to learn more about trends and best practices in audit and security. That, along with what he called “absolutely enthralling” speakers, quality networking opportunities and an array of exhibitors that “just help you to keep tabs on where the industry is going” has made him a North America CACS loyalist.
Despite Joseph residing in Australia, the conference’s US location might be more of a bonus than deterrent. He has been fond of the United States since he was young – an affinity he and his wife seemingly passed on to their children, one of whom attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology and another who currently resides in Honolulu, Hawaii. Those family visits helped Joseph expand the list of US states he’d visited, and, by 2012, he realized he’d been to 41 states.
“I thought, well, this is ridiculous, I really have to see the other nine,” said Joseph, who did just that, completing his 50-state milestone with a trip to Juneau, Alaska that capped a two-week, eight-state odyssey.
Despite having seen much more of the country than most US residents ever will – for the record, he counts New York as his favorite locale due to its cultural gravitas – Joseph’s wanderlust remains intact. Visiting the remaining 10 state capitals he has yet to see remains a goal.
“Regardless of how much of any country I’ve seen, I always feel I’ve merely scratched the surface and that there is a vast amount left that I’d like to explore, and that is certainly true of the U.S.,” Joseph said.
Along with work and travel, Joseph is passionate about history, classical movies and music, ballet and genealogy. His interests and travel experience supply him plenty of potential ice-breakers with fellow conference attendees, though he might have slightly less time on his hands at North America CACS 2018, set for 30 April-2 May in Chicago, Illinois.
As if making another overseas expedition to attend North America CACS doesn’t convey enough dedication, Joseph has an eye on potentially making his debut as a conference presenter.
“Chicago will be my fifth NA CACS conference so I thought it was time to elevate my participation – and my overall profile in audit and security – by being part of the program,” Joseph said. “Of course, it depends on whether my proposal is accepted, but even if it isn’t, I’ll still enjoy the conference and the networking opportunities it presents.”
[ISACA Now Blog]