Meet Amy Kozak, Western’s new executive director of Internal Audit

Amy Kozak was hired as the executive director of Internal Audit at Western Washington University after a competitive, national search in November 2021.

Before coming to WWU, Kozak spent six years at Tulane University serving as a senior internal auditor. With more than 17 years of experience, Kozak has worked with a wide range of companies providing internal audit, compliance, accounting, tax, and consulting services in various industries, including higher education, telecommunications, financial services, and public accounting.

According to WWU President Sabah Randhawa, Kozak brings a unique and fresh perspective to internal audit at WWU.

"Amy stood out during the search process," said Randhawa. "She has a deep understanding of university operations and the audit process. She brings a much-needed open, collaborative approach to the position based on building partnerships with units across the institution to be proactive in looking at business and risk factors."

Internal Audit serves a critical function at Western, bringing an independent, objective assessment and consulting activity designed to add value and improve university operations. It helps the university accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes.

The executive director of Internal Audit at WWU reports administratively to the president and functionally to the Board of Trustees, and WWU Trustee Faith Pettis, chair of the Board of Trustees’ Finance, Audit, and Risk Management Committee (FARM), said she is pleased with Kozak’s approach to her new job.

“Amy is already bringing a forward-thinking team mentality to Western, and we will all benefit from the way she approaches her work. I am pleased that she is putting her deep experience to work at WWU," said Pettis.

Since coming to Western, Kozak has been reaching out to university colleges, departments, and units to understand their work and how her office can support their operations, and wants to emphasize to the campus community that her department is here not only to audit but also to help. To promote the consultative aspect of her work, the name of the department has been changed to Audit & Consulting Services.

"I have come to realize throughout my career that for internal audit to become a strategic business partner and trusted advisor, we need to be close to our stakeholders. A close partnership allows internal audit to be proactive and evolve with the organization as the strategic priorities and emerging risks change. Internal audit can offer insights to ensure there is a focus on building and maintaining a strong control environment while promoting ethics, integrity, accountability, and transparency," she said. “I am passionate about inspiring positive change, building strong teams, and focusing on service excellence to add value to the university.”           

Kozak said she is excited to give back and get involved in the university community in other ways, and that she has already begun reaching out to see how she can serve others. She has offered to speak to classes in the College of Business and Economics, which was a pleasant surprise for WWU Professor of Accounting Audrey Taylor.

"Amy is innovative, approachable, and fun -- strange things for anyone to say about any auditor! Our faculty warmed to Amy immediately, and we all look forward to working with her," said Taylor.

Kozak has a master’s degree in Business Administration from Tulane University, specializing in Strategic Management and Innovation, and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of West Florida; she also is a Certified Internal Auditor. She loves learning, patios, coffee, music, and tacos. Kozak and her rescue pup, Evie, are settling in nicely in Fairhaven.

Have a question about mitigating risks, emerging issues, or improving processes? Audit and Consulting Services can help – contact Amy Kozak at amy.kozak@wwu.edu or at x3435.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022 - 10:19am
Amy Kozak smiles at the camera in this head-and-shoulders shot

Amy Kozak