2019 SCCE CEI Guest Blogs: An Unexpected Surprise at the CEI


By Frank Ruelas

At session 206, an unexpected thing happened. There was a particularly small group at the session that was interested in hearing how the use of passwords can help increase the level of security of an IT system. Though the group was small, there were a number of industries represented along with diverse areas of focus.

Despite this diversity, we all shared a common bond and interested which for that hour made us more like a collection of friends rather than the usual “presenter” and “attendee” feel that one can sometimes get at a presentation.

The size of the group and the common interest in the subject matter was more than enough to open the lines communication which provided for all of the attendees to share some of what made their approaches to security unique, but also made us realize that despite our uniqueness we also shared common goals and objectives.

Everyone was not only happy to share but also open to the differences that we also discussed. It took the idea of “compare and contrast” to a new level that I think we all benefited from as we essentially all traded places as the one presenting and those that were in attendance.


  1. I can only image the amount of ideas shared at this encounter. Frank’s encouragement of “compare and contrast” is such an inspiration! It allows for the sharing of ideas and practices without the fear of judgement, which allows for so much more learning to occur.

  2. Unfortunately, I was not able to make it to the CEI this year. However, several of my team members were fortunate enough to attend. I was not surprised to hear that one of their favorite sessions was with Frank. Frank has a gift for making difficult / complex subjects appear rather simple. He is a master educator with an infectious and inviting personality. Speaking from experience, he really knows his stuff!

  3. Sometimes the smaller groups can help people feel more comfortable opening up and sharing their thoughts and opinions.

    For me, it is especially nice when I attend a seminar, webinar or a session and feel that the presenter isn’t just talking TO me but really wants engagement and is interested in hearing what myself, and others have to share, or hope to gain from the time we have there. It sounds like this session did exactly that! I am certain that each person walked away feeling like they not only gained more knowledge about passwords/security/IT but encouraged that their voices were heard also.

  4. I would echo the sentiments expressed here. Frank has a way of getting people to see eye to eye instead of looking up or down at someone. While I did not attend the CEI, I have attended many of Frank’s sessions online and met with him face to face. He is the genuine article. That authenticity allows people the freedom to open up and share, thus making the group experience all the richer.

  5. I have listened to Frank at conferences and via web trainings. He is informative and engaging. I’ve learned more from him in a one or two hour session than an entire conference. I always encourage others to reach out and soak in some of his expertise and knowledge.

  6. Frank certainly tells it like it is……and listens to each and every one of us. He makes it easy for us to contribute our side of the story. This is an extremely important topic, at least at my facility and I’m certain folks had great discussions and left with ideas to put in place. I’m sorry I missed attending the conference.

  7. Wow. Wish I would’ve been there to attend. Every time I see your name on a conference agenda, I make sure to fit it into my tracks. Always informative and engaging.

  8. I would imagine some of those who attended had no idea what they would be getting out of the session. Whenever I see your name on a conference agenda, I note to be sure to include that session in my track. I know that I am going to gain some new piece of knowledge or a trick, and the sessions are always informative and engaging.

  9. Oftentimes the smaller group allows for more communication and sharing of ideas than do larger groups. I’ve not been to any of Frank’s presentations, but what I have seen and heard in other forms, he would definitely bring out the compare and contrast discussion among the group. I’m certain everyone walked away with some new “nugget” of information and ideas that they did not have prior to the seminar.

  10. I was also not able to make it to the CEI, but I know that Frank’s method of “compare and contrast” has brought so many great ideas and discussions to the table in many past webinars and on the HCCA listserv. He has been such a great role model for those of us in the Compliance and Privacy professions. If there is ever a better and more caring and thoughtful person than Frank, I would be surprised. His teaching technique is like no other and I have learned so much from him and am very, very grateful. I am sure this session, though small, was very productive. I wish I had been there.

  11. Frank always gives a good “hands-on” seminar. While I could not attend this seminar or the CEI, I have attended numerous classes and webcasts by Frank and have never been disappointed by any. I am sure that those who attended his seminar came away with new knowledge and skills.

  12. I have attended numerous classes and webcasts by Frank and have always learned something that I can apply and use. While I couldn’t attend this CEI, I am positive that the people who did came away with new knowledge. If you ever have a chance to attend something that Frank puts on, go for it.

  13. The power of many! The opportunity to compare and contrast without intimidation is a powerful tool. Having the ability to share and interact with others on a personal level broadens the perspective of the specific topic. We all have something to contribute no matter where we are on the experience continuum and when we compare and contrast with others we are all better because of it!

  14. It must have been such a great experience to be part of a small group with Frank, unfortunately I was not able to attend in person. Frank has such a great way of breaking things down into digestible pieces that everyone can understand. His method of “compare and contract” has really elevated the way I think and respond to Compliance issues.

  15. What a lucky group to have the information that Frank always has to share in a more low key setting. He is so willing to share his knowledge, and yet is always open to new information.

  16. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to attend the CEI conference but if I would have, I know I would have made sure to attend Frank’s session. I have learned so much from Frank this past year. He has such an ability to communicate about Compliance/Privacy related topics that really make you think and re-think. Thank you Frank for all that you do for our profession. I am very grateful!

  17. Frank’ s method of ” compare and contrast” is an effective strategy in fostering a collaborative learning environment, particularly in a small group setting.

  18. I was not able to attend CEI this year, but it sounds like a great way to connect to others in the Compliance role. I’m sure the “small group” in this session made it even easier to come away with new contacts and resources.

    Plus, Frank is always ready to mentor and assist others in this field!

  19. While I did not attend the CEI, I have attended many of Frank’s educational and informative sessions online. His technique of “Compare and Contrast” has opened up a free exchange of ideas and perspectives. It has allowed the many members that participate the opportunity to share their insights and perspectives to enrich the group experience. Frank’s authenticity serves to open up the group to be challenged and most importantly, learn – from Frank and each other.

  20. As some folks have shared, Compare & Contrast (along with the 5WH1 model) may be a critical factor/component/attribute/etc that can initiate a wealth and depth of sharing that quite frankly (no pun intended) has never been experienced before in open forums of any type.

    It does truly take a leap of faith to commit to a C&C effort with the idea that others will treat your offerings in a respectful and meaningful manner. Certainly it may only take 1 person to completely undermine or sabotage the effort.

    However, to that I say…we continue to try and develop that ongoing commitment to C&C…as we don’t fail unless we quit…and those folks who have posted are certainly not quitters!

  21. I echo all sentiments above. Frank’s C&C, teaching style, and ability to engage the group is stellar!
    Everyone who meets him feels like he is their best friend and a mentor. Frank is truly a servant leader in the world of Compliance, especially HIPAA.

  22. While I was not in attendance at the CEI, I have witnessed these attributes at many CI’s and web conferences. Frank’s compare and contrast style makes it easy for everyone to share ideas and collaborate.

    Frank’s sessions are full of wonderful pearls that can be taken back to your organization and applied that day. He has the ability to break down complex topics so that those topics seem relatively easy after he has explained them.

  23. Frank has such a gift for breaking things down to be easily digested by others! I wasn’t able to attend the session he discusses, but I’m positive that others left with valuable information!!

  24. No matter the method, Frank finds ways to communicate effectively. He finds time to help everyone become better in the compliance and HIPAA world, using the compare and contract process that makes people more comfortable sharing. Small groups work well for us, we find people are often more willing to participate than when there is a large group.

  25. I was unable to attend the CEI, but the “compare and contrast” method Frank uses is an extremely valuable tool and creates an open discussion of relative issues and greatly contributes to my learning.

  26. Frank’s knowledge and expertise are phenomenal as is his ability to engage people. I have learned so much from Frank over the years and appreciate all of his efforts!

  27. It is great to hear about how something unexpected actually turned into a blessing. Even though the turnout may not have been what was anticipated it sounds like it actually turned out really well. I think sometimes what I don’t like about the institutes is that the groups are so large it prevents interaction and discussion. I am glad there was robust discussion among a diverse mix of industries represented along with diverse areas of.

  28. I was fortunate enough to attend Frank’s session at the SCCE CEI – it was great. Having a smaller number of attendees allowed us to really focus on what the collective group could use as takeaways. We were able to do real time examples and it was incredible.

  29. Thanks to Frank for pushing a common item to the extraordinary in what we as compliance officers do everyday. Who would have thought passwords could be so interesting. He is a great educator who sees the value in the “how” that makes us take notice. It doesn’t matter if it is a crowd or just a few. if people have learned one new thing in these sessions, then victory for all

  30. Indeed Joseph!

    I was hoping that those in attendance would not be discouraged by the low numbers…and I would even go so far as to say that this was BY FAR the most interactive and richest info sharing session at a conference either with HCCA or SCCE that I was lucky to be part of.

    So to those who attended…I THANK YOU! I know I took away many gems from the session.

  31. How exciting. Although, it is not surprising that Frank was able to bring individuals with such diverse backgrounds together and create a purposeful and engaging conversation about IT Security. To say Frank’s compliance and HIPAA knowledge/expertise are infinite is an understatement and what I have found to be even more spectacular about Frank is that he is willing to break down the silos and seek opportunities to share his wisdom with everyone. Clearly, as evidenced by the IT Security group session, Franks’s wisdom reaches beyond healthcare.

  32. I was not in attendance at the CEI, but I am seriously considering attending one very soon if Frank Ruelas is a presenter. I have attended numerous sessions held by Mr. Ruelas, he does not disappoint.
    His technique of “Compare and Contrast” makes it easy for everyone to collaborate. He has a unique ability to take complex material and decipher it into an understanding format. Everything makes sense to me when he provides his interpretation.
    I am so happy that this group got to have this experience. Do not hesitate to sign up when you see “Frank Ruelas” on a conference agenda. You will walk away with a wealth of information.

    • I am also considering of attending to the next CEI. I will do take your comment into account. Thank you so much Marcia!

  33. I personally feel much more comfortable at smaller groups, where it can definitely be a very interactive setting.

    Was this session recorded for others to learn from it as well? Wish I was present!

  34. I think a smaller group can be much more productive and enlightening, as Frank has suggested. It also tends to be easier to speak up in a smaller group, not so intimidating. Frank has always been able to get a group to respond. It is one of his strengths!

  35. I am learning to use “compare and contrast” not only in conversations about HIPAA, but also in team meetings to help others feel engaged.

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