Thursday, September 16, 2021

This blog has been abandoned.

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Monday, August 6, 2018

New "Risk Reconsidered" Book by Annie Searle

Tautegory Press has released Risk Reconsidered, a collection of 20 articles by Annie Searle, first published in The Risk Universe magazine between 2012 and 2017, refreshed with head notes on each.  Topics in those articles range from the 2008 financial sector crisis to 9-11, vendor risk, conduct risk, reputational risk, and operational risks from ISIS or Ebola. The book's addendum adds ten columns that the author wrote for ASA News & Notes since late 2017, most of which focus on governance, conduct and risk in the Trump administration, including the widely reprinted “Can You Spell Kakistocracy?”

Annie Searle is a full time faculty lecturer on operational risk as well as on information ethics, policy and law at the University of Washington’s Information School, and is the faculty adviser for the University of Washington's ISACA chapter. She is principal of Annie Searle & Associates LLC (ASA Risk Consultants), a research and advisory firm providing services to firms that are part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Searle is the author of the popular book Advice From A Risk Detective.  

Her ASA Institute for Research and Innovation has published four volumes of research notes on operational risk events and issues in a series called Reflections on Risk. Searle authored the second chapter -- “How Does Conduct Risk Manifest and What Are Its Root Causes?” -- of Conduct Risk: A Practitioner’s Guide, edited by Peter Haines and published by Risk Books of London in 2016. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the International Network of Women in Emergency Management and Homeland Security in 2011; and is a lifetime member of the Institute of American Entrepreneurs.  Prior to founding ASA in 2009, Searle spent ten years at Washington Mutual Bank as a divisional executive.

From the book’s reviewers: 

“Annie’s contribution over the 5 ½ years we published The Risk Universe exactly met our vision….The quality of Annie’s articles contained in this book speak for themselves, augmented by more recent material proving that she is a master of that core construct of operational risk: people (or conduct) risk. I look forward to continue to read Annie’s thought provoking articles and blogs for many years to come.”    

  Mike Finlay, Publisher, The Risk Universe

 “Risk Reconsidered focuses appropriately on governance, ethics and insider risks, as well as other critical risks. The writings are particularly relevant, given the current administration and business and economic times….Annie is not only a well-respected risk professional, but an exceptional writer.”

 Catherine Allen, Chairman and CEO, The Santa Fe Group

” Vibrant, even exciting, observations of how bankers lost the balance and ballast of common ethical standards, and how society, and the banks and bank stakeholders -- but only rarely the bankers -- suffered from the loss.  She is equally effective when she broadens her vision to encompass other industries and disasters like 9-11.  Searle's pragmatic knowledge of both principles and anecdotes is distilled into educational and managerial wisdom. ”

     Howard Stein, Former Head of Operational Risk, The Corporate & Investment Bank, Citibank and Citigroup International

"Annie Searle’s Risk Reconsidered is an insightful, profound, far reaching, but easily digested collection of essays that tackles the challenges of many of the last two decades’ worth of international and domestic crises.  Refreshingly accessible, but not dumb-downed, the essays offer lessons for all of us with significant responsibilities within complex systems. Searle’s vast experience in risk assessment and management, alongside substantial teaching experience, provides readers with a rewarding read.”

     Sara Curran, Director,  University of Washington Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology, and  Professor of International Studies,  The Jackson School

Operational risks permeate institutions of every sort – business, governmental, educational, nonprofits. Annie Searle combines her extensive experience in banking, technology, public affairs, and education with Basel’s four risk lenses – people, process, systems, and external events – to provide cogent commentary on cutting edge operational risk issues. The articles in Risk Reconsidered, with the addition of headnotes, are as timely for today’s world as they were when originally written.  

     William Longbrake, Executive in Residence, , Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

The volume is available from Amazon for $14.95.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Houston to Run 3 Day Cyber Test

Based on the frequency with which hackers are targeting American cities, we need more such tests to occur on a regular basis.  Here's a link to the article:

Friday, July 20, 2018

"Facebook Suspends Analytics Firm on Concerns About Sharing of Public User-Data" -- Wall Street Journal

This Wall Street Journal story helps us understand how far we are in the world of judgment now, where Facebook is responsible not only for auditing how its data is used, but also for determining when to pull content from the site, setting up a First Amendment discussion for most of us.  Does Facebook have an editorial responsibility?

Friday, January 5, 2018

New resolution

Image result for advice from a risk detective
Inset at the National Academy of Science, Washington DC

Happy New Year, everyone!  This update comes with a firm resolution to post here more often.  I've gotten in the lazy habit of only describing the national environment when I write my monthly column for ASA News & Notes.  I'm resolving to post here at least once a week going forward -- probably from my UW office in the hour or so before I start to teach at the end of each week.

I'm happy to be teaching information ethics and policy this quarter, as the president continues to try to erase Barack Obama's eight years in office.  There are three branches of government, designed to provide checks and balances on one another; one branch, Congress, should be thinking of what is best for the country (rather than for their particular political party) when they vote on consequential issues like DACA, or review actions by federal agencies (FCC and net neutrality).  Then there is the judicial branch, soon to be weighing in on consequential issues like the immigration order and surveillance via data to be found on one's smartphone, for which they have already ruled that a warrant is necessary to examine.

Outside these three branches is the Special Prosecutor, investigating ties between the Russians and the Trump campaign team; and examining instances that may turn out to be obstruction of justice -- which we remember in detail from (for example) President Nixon's actions that led him to resign before he could be impeached.

As we move further into my information ethics and policy course, I'll be sharing some of the students' reflections on the questions they answer each week.

Friday, November 10, 2017

"In Flanders Field the poppies grow..."

My father was old enough to be my grandfather.  He served with distinction in World War I in the U.S. Army Dental Corps.  He's pictured above in the back row, last soldier on the right in the photo.  His first wife of about 25 years died, and he married my mother.  They had two daughters, of which I am the oldest.

He didn't discuss life in the Army except in terms of the discipline and the routines he had to learn, which he passed on to my sister Mary and myself.  We learned how to "fall in," how to salute, and how to march "over hill, over dale." We learned how to dry ourselves off after a bath with a towel handled with great precision.   We had an old coal shed in the back yard that we used as a playhouse.  There we were able to pore over souvenirs he had of his time in the military, including the photo, above.

The day we call Veterans Day is the 11th day of the 11th month.  That was the day celebrated throughout Europe as Armistice Day -- the end of World War I on that date in 1917.  It has been celebrated as "Remembrance Day" in Europe since that year, but here we now call it Veterans Day, to honor those who served in all wars since then as well.  We remember them also on Memorial Day in May, where paper poppies are sold and worn to support veterans of foreign wars.

From World War I, we also have a famous poem that Dad taught us:
"In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields."
                 -- John McCrae

Tomorrow I will be remembering my father and all other veterans.  Don't blame veterans for decisions that are political and made top of the house in this country.  Having veterans in my classroom over the years has added to the richness of every discussion. 

Bending swords into plowshares these days takes another shape -- the logistical/intelligence gathering/decision making/project management skills that veterans learned in their time in the service are absorbed easily back into civilian life.  We honor veterans for their service, and I continue to support organizations like Team Rubicon, who take those skills that soldiers have learned and deploy them for good, to turn the corner on disaster response in this country and abroad.  To read more about Team Rubicon's work and even make a donation, check them out at