Pierre-Luc Pomerleau, CFE, PCI, CPP, has been in the anti-fraud field his entire professional career. Last year he helped establish the Montreal Chapter and has already made a big impact on the community by organizing sold-out events, establishing networking opportunities and helping promote the largest ACFE Canadian Fraud Conference.
What do you do for a living?
I lead National Bank of Canada’s Corporate Security and Fraud Risk Management Division, which includes corporate security investigations, physical security, and the fraud strategy and data analytics teams.
Why did you decide to enter the anti-fraud field?
I entered the anti-fraud field almost 12 years ago when I was finishing my bachelor’s degree in criminology. I had the opportunity to work part-time as a fraud prevention analyst within a large Canadian financial institution. It was the perfect job for me at that time since the job was related to my degree.
At the time, I never thought that I would work in a financial institution. However, since the beginning of my career, I’ve always worked in this industry.
How has the CFE credential benefited your career?
The CFE credential has benefited my career in many ways since I got the certification in 2012. First, it allows me to keep learning. We need to do a minimum of training hours per year in order to maintain our credential.
Second, it is now common to see the CFE title as a requirement on job postings, and I believe that more employers are recognizing the CFE as a minimum requirement for fraud risk management positions. The CFE credential allowed my résumé to stand out.
Finally, since the CFE credential is the most recognized international anti-fraud professional certification, I have no doubt that the CFE demonstrates credibility among our peers.
How long have you been involved with the chapter?
I have been the president of the new Montreal Chapter since its formation in October of 2015.
Why did you become active with the chapter and the board?
We were a group of professionals from different industries who wanted to get involved within the anti-fraud community and create a new chapter for our ACFE members from Montreal and the province of Quebec. Our main goals were to create opportunities for our members to network, share best practices about fraud risk management and to organize bilingual training sessions (French and English).
What has been a highlight during your time on the board?
Since March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada, we felt it was important for us to organize an event to promote fraud awareness. We organized a full-day training event and it was a huge success. A total of 185 anti-fraud professionals attended. We did a survey after the conference and the feedback we received from our members was excellent. Since it was our first full-day event, we did not know how many members would attend and we were glad that it was a sold-out event.
What are the benefits of serving as a chapter leader?
There are a lot of benefits of serving as a chapter leader. Professional networking is really important. When we organize a networking cocktails event or a training for our chapter members, we have the opportunity to meet many anti-fraud professionals, learn new fraud patterns and review case studies together. Being a chapter leader is also a great opportunity to learn how to manage a nonprofit organization. I appreciate it because this is like managing a small company.
What goals would you like to help the chapter accomplish?
I would like for our chapter to receive the ACFE Chapter of the Year award within the next three years for our accomplishments towards promoting fraud awareness.
I would like our chapter to assist in promoting the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) credential in Montreal, as well as the province of Quebec.
Also, I would like our chapter to attract professionals from several industries, as well as from our law enforcement and regulatory bodies. We have quite a few CPAs in Montreal that already hold the CFE title. I would like to promote and expand the CFE title to law enforcement professionals.
Finally, when I leave the ACFE Montreal board after my term, I would like to make sure that my successor will continue to support the chapter as I have, and I would like to see the chapter membership continue to grow.
Do you have any advice for other chapter leaders?
A board is like a team. The most important things while investing time in a nonprofit organization are your peers and colleagues on the board. It takes time and a lot of organizational skills to build a website, prepare training, get interesting speakers to present at conferences and sponsors to fund our conferences, as well as to find a location for the members to assist an event while working full-time jobs. Having a dedicated board will ensure volunteering for the chapter will be an amazing and beneficial experience.
I strongly believe it is imperative that chapter leaders share roles and responsibilities between each other and that not only a couple of members do the work that needs to be done. We clarified roles and responsibilities between us and we hold ourselves accountable. I believe that this is the best way to invest time and energy in order to create value for the chapter and its members.
What are your favorite activities and hobbies outside of work?
Outside of work, most of my free time is spent with my wife and two amazing children. We like to travel and it is always fun to go to the beach with our kids.
I attend NFL football games with friends in New York usually once a year. Nothing is better than a real tailgate on a Sunday morning before the game!
I also like to read books, invest time in my personal development and exercise to stay in shape.
What is your personal motto? Does it have any special meaning?
One of the books that I read recently is Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, two former Navy Seals. I really appreciate how the authors shared their experiences and explained how some of the strategies employed in the Navy Seals can be applicable in our personal lives as well as in the business world. One quote that I like from Jocko Willink is, “discipline equals freedom.”
What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
I played football for nine years until I reached college level and this is a sport that I am still a big fan of. In 2002, I had the opportunity to play for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship in New Orleans, Louisiana. We played against team China, Europe and U.S.A. This was quite an experience to play against these countries and at this level. I am still proud of it today.