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​IIA Appoints New Chief of Strategic Initiatives

May 17, 2021

Longtime association executive Heather Pownall to focus on member engagement, growth opportunities

Heather Pownall

LAKE MARY, Fla. (May 17, 2021) —The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), the internal audit profession’s globally recognized advocate, educator, and provider of standards, guidance, and certifications, announced today the appointment of Heather Pownall, a certified association executive, strategic consultant, and facilitation expert, as Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer.

Pownall will join The IIA in June and serve as a member of The IIA’s executive management team. Her responsibilities will include planning and implementing strategic goals that focus on effective and sustainable growth and member engagement. In addition, she will oversee key initiatives around culture, diversity, equity and inclusion, and innovation.

“I am excited to bring Heather on board because of her incredible vision and leadership, which will fuel The IIA’s strategic plans for enhancing internal auditor competencies and the membership experience, as well as advocating for the profession,” said IIA President and CEO Anthony J. Pugliese, CPA, CGMA, CITP. “Heather has deep experience within professional associations, especially around global business development and creating compelling communications, brand, and marketing strategies. She is passionate about her work and will bring energy and important skills to position our organization and the profession for the future.”

Pownall held a number of leadership positions at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA), including senior director of global business development and senior manager of portfolios and product management. More recently, she was a strategy consultant for ISC2, a leading cybersecurity professional membership association, and was chief development officer at the Association for Women in Science. Pownall, who is an American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Diversity Executive Leadership Scholar, earned an MBA from North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management and a bachelor’s in journalism/mass communications from the University of South Florida.

Media Contact

Chris Almonte
The Institute of Internal Auditors

About The Institute of Internal Auditors

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) is a nonprofit international professional association that serves more than 230,000 global members and has awarded more than 185,000 Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) certifications worldwide. Established in 1941, The IIA is recognized throughout the world as the internal audit profession's leader in standards, certifications, education, research, and technical guidance. For more information, visit