Best Speaker Yet for 2017 GRC Conference Cycle

The 2017 conference cycle gets underway this week, and we have a new leader in the contest for oddest pairing of speaker and event: actor Jeffrey Tambor will be the closing keynote at ISACA’s IT controls conference in May.

The 2017 North America CACS conference (computer audit, control and security) happens May 1-3 out in Las Vegas. The agenda does indeed look great for anyone who works in IT audit or governance, and the field is growing like gangbusters. As someone who has planned many compliance conferences myself, I also fully appreciate the need to book creative, surprising speakers so attendees will stick around until the last hour.

And boy, did ISACA ever hit that point out of the park with Tambor. I spent a full minute confirming on Google, “Wait a minute—that Jeffrey Tambor is speaking? At a conference about IT controls?”

For anyone who might not know, Tambor had a distinguished career playing boobs, bumblers, corporate middle men, and similar off-the-wall kooky characters. These days Tambor is famous for his Emmy-award winning role as a transgendered man in Transparent. I know him best for playing Alan’s dad in the Hangover movies (no wisecracks about my cinematic tastes, please), and those of you who love Tambor for his work on Arrested Development know who you are.

A sample:

Well, it turns out that Tambor also has a long career as an acting teacher, where he breaks down the performance process and shows people how to incorporate better performance into their daily work and lives. That will be the fodder for his ISACA appearance. From the brochure:

“[Tambor] shares examples from his own journey, encouraging listeners to look beyond their perceived limitations and embrace their own authentic self. He offers an emboldened approach for executives and employees to adopt, enabling them to tap into their inner performing self and give them the confidence to creatively improve their work and quality of life.”

I’m all for clever speaker ideas. I once booked Ben Stein to speak at a compliance conference; elsewhere I’ve seen fighter pilots talk about focus and discipline, social scientists talk about body posturing, and survivors of human trafficking talk about why we’re in the profession of ethical business in the first place. The Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics once had a few Hollywood executives talk about the importance of telling a good story, which certainly is a skill compliance and audit professionals need.

I mean, it’s not Tambor giving a discussion of the COBIT 5 framework in character from his days on Three’s Company, but it works. Here’s wishing ISACA the best success with 2017 North America CACS. Anyone who sees Tambor at the event, please report back in May and let us know how he was.

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