woman surrounded by question marks

As a marketer, I’ve had the opportunity to attend a lot of ethics and compliance (E&C) conferences and events around the United States in the past 24 months. At these events, I’ve noticed that Chief Compliance Officers and other E&C professionals who attend generally aren’t there to see product demos from vendors. They are there to meet their peers, network, exchange stories and advice, and connect with other people who have been in their shoes. They’re not there to shop. They’re there to talk shop.

I’ve also learned that E&C teams don’t always have the biggest budgets, and often times, that means being selective with the events they can travel to attend, and therefore, the people they can meet. Finally, it’s come to my attention that the people who work in this profession are busy…all the time. Ethics and compliance teams have a lot of responsibility, and successfully fulfilling those responsibilities can be time-consuming. So let me get to the point.

This month, my colleagues and I launched a new interview series called “6 Questions with an Ethics & Compliance Officer.”

Don’t let the name mislead you; anyone working in E&C can get involved if they’re interested. These interviews are easy to participate in, fast to publish, and even faster to read. The process is simple:

  • We ask you six questions via email (or your preferred form of communication)
  • You answer them at your convenience
  • We make edits, format it, create a slick cover photo with your headshot, and send it back to you and your team for review
  • You tell us what needs to change (if anything) and then we publish!

So, why did we create this interview series? Part of the reason was that we wanted to shine a spotlight on a group of people who don’t see it often enough as part of our annual Compliance Officer Day celebration, but there’s really more to it than that, so let me explain.

We want to create an online outlet for E&C professionals to form connections over common bonds and share advice, expertise, and guidance.

Given the wonders of technology and the amount of time we spend on our phones and on social media, there is no reason that members of this community shouldn’t be able to connect with each other when they don’t have the opportunity to do so face-to-face. If you can’t attend an event because of time constraints, budget constraints, or something else, you can still network.

Reading about what your peers are doing, how they feel about their job, the challenges they face, or the advice they have could help you overcome your own hurdles at work or simply make a new friend.

Not everyone who should know you does know you, and you’re all more interesting than you may realize. Everyone has a story and a different POV or perspective to share. The path you took to the job you have today could inspire someone else, and the things you’re passionate about, when put on paper, can light a fuse in a stranger in a similar position that improves their day.

The people you work with may only know you in the context of the training you deliver and emails you send them, but we both know there’s more to you than that, and if they know that too, it may lead to them becoming more receptive to the ideas you’re trying to get across or create new ethics advocates within your organization.

This series enables each of you to create a short, compelling profile that will help your peers and colleagues learn about you, and hopefully, as a result, connect with the training you deliver to them on a deeper level. That can be a powerful (and free) tool for you to have whether you’re celebrating Compliance Officer DayCorporate Compliance and Ethics Week, an internal ethics and compliance event, or launching a new Code of Conduct.

We want to help identify role models for the next generation of ethics and compliance advocates and Chief Compliance Officers.

Relatively speaking, when compared to other departments and functions within a traditional organization, ethics and compliance is in its infancy. By 2020, 50% of the American workforce will be someone considered a Millennial. This profession is young, and the next generation of people eligible to work in it is going to be young too.

There’s a generalization that Millennials want to do something important with their careers. Something that’s aligned with their values and helps them make a difference. Guess what? It’s true.

Sooner than later, those 20-something college graduates with business and law degrees are going to realize that a career in ethics and compliance could be exactly what they’re looking for, and when they do, they’re going to go online to learn more about it, and more importantly, find experts they can follow to learn more about it.

This interview series is an opportunity for you to build your online presence and help the next generation of ethics and compliance professionals learn from what you’ve experienced and understand what the job entails. You teach your employees and colleagues about new risks and regulations every year, and this is an opportunity to do something similar for a different audience.

Ethics and compliance professionals may not see the spotlight very often, but that’s something I’d like to help change.


Sean Freidlin

Sean Freidlin is a marketing and partnerships manager at SAI Global with a focus on trends and best practices in ethics and compliance programs. He is based out of New York, NY and has helped create the Compliance Coloring Book and Compliance Officer Day. To learn more about how SAI Global can help the ethics, compliance, and risk programs in your organization, visit www.saiglobal.com or email Sean directly at sean.freidlin@saiglobal.com.

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