BARR Expands the Team with 5 New Associates 

By March 23, 2022Careers

BARR Advisory welcomes five new associates across the cyber risk advisory and marketing teams including, Gustavo Almanza, senior consultant, Kyle Cohlmia, associate content writer, Dariek Howard, senior consultant, AJ Lenkaitis, senior consultant, and Zerrick Staples, apprentice associate consultant.

Learn more about our new team members from their brief Q&As. 

Gustavo Almanza, senior consultant, Cyber Risk Advisory

As a senior consultant for BARR Advisory’s Cyber Risk Advisory practice, Gustavo specializes in the delivery of cyber risk advisory services relating to SOC 2 attestation and reporting over control environments. His past experience includes Financial Statement Integrated Audit, Internal Audit Co-source and Outsource, SOX Controls testing, and SOC attestation and reporting with professional experience at Binder Dijker Otte and Ernst & Young.

Q: What excites you about where the industry is going?

A: What truly excites me is that cybersecurity is an ever-growing and evolving industry. It could literally go anywhere and everywhere which truly keeps things interesting and exciting! 

Q: What’s the most beautiful place you’ve ever been or favorite vacation spot? 

A: My time studying abroad in Hong Kong and exploring most of East Asia and the Asian Pacific was transformational. 

Q: What technology innovation has made the most impact on your life? 

A: I would have to say smartphones. Literally anything I do, from entertainment to finances, I can do directly from my phone.

Q: What is your favorite outdoor activity?

A: My favorite outdoor activity is hiking. Sure it can be a challenge, but the views that you get to see when you make it to the top make the activity truly worth it!

Q: What is the most important personal attribute you bring to your job? 

A: I bring my attentiveness and organization to the job. These skills have truly made my job simpler, and I just enjoy keeping things on track.

Kyle Cohlmia, associate content writer, Marketing

As associate content writer for BARR, Kyle contributes to content for case studies, fact sheets, blog posts, email campaigns, and website updates. Kyle has established a writing portfolio, where she has led marketing efforts and written for various publications in the creative and academic fields. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Art History with a minor in English and master’s degree in Critical Studies from Pacific Northwest College of Art. 

Q: What technology innovation has made the most impact on your life? 

A: This isn’t necessarily new, but remote work has really made a big impact on my life. All of the new tools and ways to stay connected while working from home has opened up a lot of doors for me that I never thought were possible. 

Q: Favorite food? 

A: One of my favorite foods is Lebanese stuffed grape leaves. I am half-Lebanese, and my Sitti (Lebanese grandmother) gave me a cookbook when I was little which has a great recipe. The process of making them is very therapeutic.

Q: Do you have any pets? If so, describe and include a photo if you’ve got one.

A: We have a cat named Sir Harrison. He’s super fluffy but has major cattitude! 

Q: Favorite quote about life/business? 

A: One of my favorite quotes is the Flannery O’Connor saying, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say,” because it describes the writing (and thinking) process so succinctly. 

Q: What are you most excited about for BARR’s future? 

A: I’m excited about the growth at BARR. There is so much to look forward to, whether its upcoming projects or new hires. We’re in a good place for innovation, and that excites me. 

Dariek Howard, senior consultant, Cyber Risk Advisory

As a senior consultant in BARR Advisory’s Cyber Risk Advisory practice, Dariek Howard specializes in planning and executing attestation engagements, primarily SOC 2 and SOC 3. Dariek brings extensive experience to clientele operating in cloud environments. Prior to joining BARR, he was a senior cConsultant in Wolf & Company’s IT Assurance practice where he performed work in numerous industries including technology, healthcare, and financial services. Dariek holds a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity from Utica College.

Q: What advice do you have for someone starting a career in the cybersecurity industry? 

A: I would encourage anyone getting into the industry to test the waters, find what makes you passionate, and strive to be a subject matter expert. Don’t get bottlenecked into one specific niche from the start. The industry is constantly evolving, so it’s important to enjoy what you do and find ways to stay on the cutting edge. 

Q: Favorite quote about life/business?

A: One life quote that has always stuck with me is, “Nothing is ever so bad that it couldn’t be worse.” I’ve applied those words to the business world many times. Sometimes people are so passionate about the work they do that it’s easy to forget we are humans first, and mistakes do happen. 

Q: What technology innovation has made the most impact on your life? 

A: Aside from the internet and all the things it brings, I love my remote vehicle starter for the peak of both winter and summer here in New York! 

Q: What is your favorite outdoor activity?

A: My favorite outdoor activity is competitive bass fishing. 

Q: What excites you about where the industry is going? 

A: I find it fascinating how virtualized things are becoming. New tech firms seem to be trending to the cloud which allows for easy scalability and cost savings. It also makes for a better case to work from home with less and less critical information being stored on local networks with an in-house managed data center.  

AJ Lenkaitis, senior consultant, Cyber Risk Advisory

As a senior consultant in BARR’s Cyber Risk Advisory practice, AJ Lenkaitis is responsible for planning and executing all aspects of SOC attestation engagements, including testing controls and performing walkthroughs. AJ is a graduate of the Fox School of Business at Temple University with a Bachelor of Arts in Management Information Systems. AJ was named on the Dean’s List, the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll, Beta Gamma Sigma, and Temple University’s Golden Key Chapter as top 10% of his class.

Q: What are the industry trends to watch for?

A: Industry trends to watch for are General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ransomware, and the growing need for quality cybersecurity in everyday life.

Q: Do you have any pets? 

A: I have a Siamese cat, Novi, black lab, Luna, and Weimaraner, Chanel. 

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment?

A: My biggest accomplishment is playing football at Temple University on two championship teams.

Q: Favorite quote about life/business?

A: “With singleness of purpose, anything is possible.”

Q: Why should clients choose BARR? What’s different about our approach?

A: BARR is an organization that lives out its values like I have never seen before. We choose who we do business with based on these values, and that ensures we can give our best effort to everything we do.

Zerrick Staples, apprentice associate consultant, Cyber Risk Advisory

As an apprentice associate consultant, Zerrick Staples supports seniors and associates with all client engagements, including information technology audits and assessments. Zerrick has more than six years of experience in the IT industry and has most recently worked at Duke Energy Corporation and Synechron. 

Q: What is the most important personal attribute you bring to your job? 

A: A personal attribute I bring to the job is my love for learning new things.

Q: What are you most excited about for BARR’s future? 

A: I am most excited to see how the CISO side of things evolves as more services are added.

Q: Favorite food? 

A: My favorite food is shrimp fettuccine alfredo with a side of spinach or asparagus.

Q: What gets you up in the morning or keeps you up at night? 

A: What gets me up in the morning is the opportunity to be better than I was the day before.

Q: What advice do you have for someone starting a career in the cybersecurity industry? 

A: Go into the industry with an open mind and patience.

Interested in joining the BARR team? Explore our open positions

 

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