Young auditor Kirsi McLandress has only been in the auditing profession for four years, but already has already earned plenty of success as a certified lead auditor. For McLandress, it’s been social responsibility and the effect of development and industry on the environment that have driven her auditing career.
Throughout her career, McLandress has worked in education at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. She also has experience in sustainability action planning and program and policy development in the public sector, environmental management system, and environmental compliance auditing.
McLandress was first introduced to ISO 14001 when studying for a Master’s degree in environment and sustainability. After working in sustainability program development at a local post-secondary institution, McLandress began her auditing career working for Tavares Group Consulting, a corporate responsibility consulting firm.
McLandress was drawn to auditing as it offered the opportunity to work in varied environments, with no two days the same.
“[I was drawn to] the opportunity to work in an environment where you can be a life-long learner—whether it be learning about revisions to standards, regulatory requirements, or witnessing the development of new industry best practices. [I also enjoy] the opportunity to work in a field where I could continue to teach.”
As a sustainability associate, a typical day for McLandress can range from working on audit plans and reports, writing blogs, or working at a client site conducting audits, delivering a training sessions, or aiding in the optimization of a management system.
Despite being a young auditing professional, McLandress has already gained lead auditor certification—a move that she says has boosted her career.
“As a young professional, having my audit experience and investment in my competency development over the past three and a half years translated into a globally-recognized certification has certainly provided credibility in calling myself an auditor,” McLandress said.
“Maintaining competencies and investing in yourself by attending training sessions, reading articles, attending conferences and the like, are [also] extremely important.”
McLandress enjoys seeing the progression and continual improvement in her clients’ management systems and environmental compliance programs from year to year.
“I look forward to seeing this same progression with respect to improved environmental performance as we transition to ISO 14001:2015.
“I wouldn’t say there is anything I dislike about being an auditor. Auditing can definitely be a challenging industry to break into, so I am very thankful to my mentor who provided me the opportunity to gain the experience necessary in order to achieve lead auditor certification.”
However, the introduction of ISO 14001:2015 proved to be a rewarding challenge for McLandress, as it is one of the standards that she works with most frequently.
“Having the opportunity to guide organizations through the transition and develop training materials from the consulting side of our business has been very exciting.
“I think all management systems auditors are also keeping an eye out for news and updates regarding the revision to ISO 19011.”
In terms of advice and tips for other auditors, McLandress would like to echo the sentiments shared by Denise Robitaille in her Outsourcing Internal Audits article from July 2016.
“I was saddened for our industry after reading the author’s account of a lack-luster and nonconformance-worthy internal audit report completed by a contracted internal auditor. Taking pride in work that bears your name, and knowing that you have provided your client with a diligent internal audit and an audit report that includes detailed audit evidence is as good as gold.”