Lauret Howard

CEO

Watchtower Consulting

As the Chief Risk Officer for NASCO, Lauret Howard formulated and instituted the company’s risk management and cybersecurity program, propelling NASCO to achieve SOC2 and HITRUST certifications, well ahead of many organizations within the healthcare IT industry. NASCO, owned by several large BlueCross Blue Shield Plans, provides an integrated suite of IT administrative solutions exclusively to the Blue Plans that include enrollment, billing, servicing and claims processing solutions for 24 million insureds.

A leader in the application of change management principles, Lauret integrated these disciplines as she architected NASCO’s risk management program to grow and nourish security and risk awareness into NASCO’s culture, strengthening NASCO’s controls. The program extended throughout NASCO’s ecosystem, aligning industry, customer, NASCO and vendor control requirements and its effectiveness was verified through annual audits and certifications. Lauret built and matured NASCO’s enterprise risk management program and had direct oversight for corporate strategy execution and performance, corporate performance, compliance with internal operating policies and external legal, regulatory or contractual requirements, audit, insurance and business continuity.

During her 30-year tenure with NASCO, Lauret became NASCO’s first female executive and went on to hold numerous senior leadership roles, including developing and growing NASCO’s consulting practice, serving as Chief Financial Officer, and leading NASCO’s strategy development and execution. In addition, Lauret served on the NASCO Board of Directors as corporate secretary for 16 years. After her recent retirement from NASCO, Lauret launched Watchtower Consulting, which focuses on business and risk management strategy development and implementation planning.

Lauret has been featured in Forbes and Southern Women in Business magazines and has spoken at numerous RIMS conferences on topics such as managing cyber incidents, using risk management to improve corporate performance and developing and implementing an effective business continuity strategy. A member of the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and Women in Technology (WIT), Lauret was a WIT Woman of the Year Finalist in 2011 and 2012, and she continues to actively mentor business leaders on strategy development and execution.

Lauret is the President of the Atlanta Chapter of the Association for Strategic Planning (ASP) and is a certified Strategy Management Professional. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Georgia and a Master of Business Administration degree with a certificate in the Business of Healthcare from the Goizueta Business School of Emory University.

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