Chapter Leader Profile: Dave Karakashian, CFE

Dave Karakashian, CFE

Dave Karakashian, CFE

Dave Karakashian has served on the board of the Washington DC Metro Area Chapter for more than six years in several capacities and is now the current president. A native of the D.C. area, Karakashian is also a senior manager at WithumSmith+Brown, CPAs when not busy on the baseball field or on the ice playing hockey.

Why did you decide to enter the anti-fraud field?

I began my career a long time ago in federal audit. When I worked in the inspector general community, the anti-fraud efforts rippled through just about everything we did.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Washington, D.C., and I grew up just outside in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?

My unassisted triple play in T-ball in the second grade. There are still two witnesses around who can verify this story.

What are your favorite activities and hobbies outside of work? 

Playing beer-league hockey and old-man baseball.

How has the CFE benefited your career?

My hockey and baseball career? Not so much. Actually, that’s not true. I recruited the past treasurer of the D.C. chapter onto my men’s league baseball team which made us a better team. 

In terms of my day job, being a CFE has exposed me to outstanding training events at the national and local levels, fantastic resources that I am able to incorporate into my everyday work, and connections with like-minded people.

What are the benefits of serving as a chapter leader?

I have been very fortunate that we have had several great chapter leaders in the past create such a strong organization here in the D.C. area. One of the greatest benefits of being a chapter leader is getting to work with a good group of folks who are all dedicated and passionate about creating high-quality programs for our members.

What goals would you like to help the chapter accomplish?

I feel our most important goals are to continue to respond to the needs of our membership and provide outstanding training programs and networking events. Beyond that, I would like to see us partner with other organizations so that we are able to reach others interested in the anti-fraud field.

Do you have any advice for other chapter leaders?

A couple of things come to mind:

  • Make sure to keep a good pulse on the needs of your membership, whether through online surveys or other tools. 
  • Succession planning, and recruitment and development of new chapter leaders are critical. Keep the pipeline full.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things. You’re not going to sink the ship if something doesn’t turn out as you had hoped. Challenge “this is the way we did it last year” thinking.
  • Reach out to other chapter leaders to seek input and share ideas. The ACFE Chapter Leaders LinkedIn Group is one great way to do this.

What is your personal motto? Does it have any special meaning?

I don’t really have a personal motto, but I do try to follow the example of my late father, who could have been the poster boy for a common definition of integrity: “Do the right thing even when no one’s looking.”

Other than that, “stay out of the newspapers” would probably be the closest thing I have to a motto.