3/5/2008 - Alumna earns rare certification, is a leader in her industry
By Kati Burns
The year was 1997 and Carla Jenkins of Meridian, Miss. had never heard of Judson College. But, apparently, Judson College had heard of her…
“I have no idea how the college first got my name,” Jenkins said. “But they started sending me all of this information in the mail when I was a high school senior. I thought my mind was already made up – I was going to go to another college with my friend.”
But then, one day, when Jenkins was in the Birmingham area, she decided to take a drive over to “that school that kept sending her information,” and her life was changed forever.
In January of this year, Jenkins became one of only19, 000 professionals worldwide to have obtained the designation of Certified Fraud Examiner. She credits the leadership skills and confidence she gained while a student at Judson to her continuing success in her industry.
“The first time I visited the campus, everyone was so nice and helpful,” Jenkins said. “They told me about the three year program and it sounded great. My mind was changed that day. Because Judson is so small, I became accustomed to meeting our college President and I think this taught me confidence I use now when I have to talk to people in leadership positions.”
Jenkins graduated from Judson, after three years of study, in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science in Business, her concentration in Accounting, and a minor in Computer Information Systems. She has more than seven years internal audit experience. Most recently, Jenkins worked for two years as the lead internal auditor for John Deere, an experience which required her to travel 100 percent of the time.
“I did a lot of overseas operations for John Deere and I’ve been to such places as France, Germany, Finland, Switzerland and Mexico,” Jenkins said. “I stayed at least three to six weeks in each place. I traveled so much that I didn’t even have my own home. So, I eventually decided I was ready to get my own place and, you know, find that special someone.”
Jenkins, 29, is now senior internal auditor for Kaplan Higher Education in Georgia.
According to Jenkins, Kaplan Higher Education is one of the largest for-profit providers of postsecondary education in the United States, and is the leading revenue producer for Kaplan, Inc. Today, KHE serves some 68,000 students through more than 70 campuses nationwide.
At present, Jenkins, who loves her work, is the sole internal auditor for KHE and actually created the department herself when she arrived last August. It is her job to audit schools within the KHE program and to conduct internal control reviews, which include investigating financial statements, while determining whether or not there is fraud within the organization. Her responsibilities require in-depth research and interviews.
As a CFE, Jenkins’ expertise means her company will no longer have a need to hire an outside consultant for fraud-related investigations. To become a CFE, Jenkins had to pass a rigorous examination administered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), meet specific education and professional requirements, exemplify the highest moral and ethical standards and agree to abide by the CFE Code of Professional Ethics.
Now, Jenkins has finally bought her own home and has more time to concentrate on herself. In her free time, she volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, is a mentor for young girls at her church, Turner Chapel AME, and loves working out and reading. Additionally, Jenkins serves as treasurer and board member for the Judson College Alumnae Association.
In the future, she plans to become an independent consultant and hopes to also start a non-profit organization to help women and families in need.
“I think what I took from my time at Judson was the concept that “women can do anything,”” Jenkins said. “I wouldn’t trade my experience there for the world.”
* Article courtesy of the Judson College Admissions Office