My Professional Career

By Henry Bagdasarian

As I reflect back on my professional career history, I think I’m one of the fortunate people who selected my general career direction early on while still in college, and not once have I regretted selecting my profession to this date. Most of my friends couldn't decide which careers to pursue and some of them continue to question their career selections after so many years of successful careers.

I think our career decisions go back to our inner career guiding principles called career beacon which we will discuss as I analyze my own professional career. This process of career discovery is not limited to any particular career path but rather a process for discovering our own career beacon. So, please don't take my career selection process as a career suggestion for you but rather embrace the process to discover what career path will bring you the ultimate happiness and a sense of freedom along with occasional tears of joy when you think about it.

Although unknown to me at the time, my professional career assessment and discovery started in my teenage years and twenties when I lived, studied and worked in France for 10 years. As a struggling college student who had to work any job to pay for rent and other expenses, I was always looking for ways to improve my life and grow personally and professionally. So, as I assessed the difficulty of working and going to college in France where the educational system did not have built-in course scheduling flexibly, I decided that I needed to go to the United States where I can have greater education and career opportunities. Strangely and through a series of coincidences, I was able to move to the US where I have grown at a much faster rate due to the flexibility of the society as a whole. Within a few weeks of entering the United States, I found a part time job and attended the Malcolm X city college in Chicago for two years and then transferred to UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago) where I studied and earned a Bachelor's degree in accounting. How I got into the accounting major initially is a bit of a mystery to me but I think I followed my intuition, career opportunities and interest in numbers without too much analysis.

While in college, I knew that I liked my accounting courses but as soon as I took the auditing class in my senior year, I knew right away that I was gifted and interested in identifying risks and finding solutions. Upon graduation, I entered the internal auditing profession, which I've enjoyed to this date and I continue to manage other related functions within the boundaries of my professional career which include information security, privacy, and compliance. For details regarding my corporate roles and the companies I have worked for, please read my full profile on

In my opinion, internal auditing which is also synonymous with corporate auditing is a good starting career choice to learn about a business as one explores other career options because it exposes the person to the entire organization. Many people may think that the audit profession is limited to financial or tax audits which requires an accounting or finance degree but many professionals enter the field to audit systems and operations. Again, this career discovery process may not apply to your career field but you can apply the same concept to explore your options within your own field of work while you build your resume and learn new things.

As my career progressed over the years, I saw the need for professional certification as a way to boost my credibility and knowledge. I started researching my options and selected the ones that related to my career. As I prioritized my professional certification options, I started getting certified in all areas of interest and market demand. Below is a list of some of my active certifications that I selected and pursued throughout my career:

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)
Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP)

As I pursued and received various general and specialized certifications available in my professional career, I started noticing the gap in identity risk management training and certification. I was able to quickly identify that the identity management industry was not well defined or was rather much more system oriented which left many of the risks such as identity theft and fraud unaddressed.

My assumption was later substantiated by the fact that new and/or improved regulations in the areas of customer identification, customer monitoring, and identity theft prevention also known as the Red Flags Rule were introduced to address the rising identity risks.

As a result, I launched Identity Management Institute which has now grown to be a recognized international organization offering niche training and professional certifications in the areas of identity and access management, governance, identity theft management, data protection, technology, and compliance.

As you can see, one thing in life leads to another and as Steve Jobs mentioned, we can only connect the dots when we look backwards. So when ideas which stir positive feelings come to us, we have to pay attention, and take actions while keeping our eyes on the big picture without making too much analysis which can deter us from taking action.

Often people who are dying express regrets for not taking risks in life and pursuing their dreams and ideas. I quickly learned that I did not want to die before singing my song through the expression of my creative ideas and contribution of my talents. Therefore, I started the blog with just one page which now delivers articles to thousands of readers worldwide. Soon after I started the blog, I wrote the Identity Diet book, launched Identity Management Institute and its training programs, and started the largest identity theft discussion forum online. It is often hard to tell which idea came first in my professional career, what's next, and how they all complement each other, but this is one of the miracles of pursuing ideas without too much analysis.

In order to find a satisfying and successful career path, many things must be considered as soon as possible and adjustments must be made along the way as needed and as frequently as necessary. Intuition, interest, and talent play key roles initially when deciding on and selecting a successful and satisfying career path, but education, experience and professional certifications also play key roles for lasting, exciting, rewarding and successful careers. Throughout my professional career, I have learned to apply my intuition and knowledge when making adjustments to my professional career path and ensure a satisfying and challenging professional life.

Read "Career Beacon" after reading about my professional career.