In her role as co-host of the Great Women in Compliance Podcast, Mary Shirley has met a lot of the greats. Here, she offers perspective on what it is that sets these women apart. (And stay tuned for the Great Women in Compliance book, due out this fall, from Mary and Lisa Fine!)
Over the last couple of years, I have had the privilege of meeting with and discussing topical risk and compliance subjects with impressive women in compliance as part of my role as co-host of the Great Women in Compliance Podcast with Lisa Fine. Over this time, I have wondered, what is it exactly that makes a Great Woman in Compliance, well, great?
It is indisputable that having a strong command of the substantive subject matter is key. But are there some common threads in terms of traits that link these women, and are there overlapping criteria that these individuals possess?
With two years of weekly interviews under our belts, I have observed some distinctive characteristics that – no matter how diverse these women are in other respects – seem to be often shared in the most impressive women in compliance I’ve met.
1. They Send the Elevator Back Down
These women are incredibly busy and juggle multiple portfolios in their work, home and community lives, yet they make time to give back to others and share their knowledge. They volunteer, they mentor, they make thought leadership available. They give not because they have an excess of time that needs to be filled, but because they value making a difference and seeing others shine.
2. They Indulge in Lifelong Learning
There are many veterans who are highly experienced in the field of compliance, and they make room for others – including those much more junior – to share their views. These Great Women acknowledge that they have some core areas of strength, but they are not an omniscient authority on every subject. They recognize that inspiration, ideation and knowledge can come from a variety of sources, and they make the most of reverse mentoring.
3. They Know Their Worth
While humility is a common thread, Great Women in Compliance assert a quiet confidence that speaks metaphorical volumes. They are not shy to advocate for themselves – and others. They understand that self-care means removing themselves from situations that do not serve them and surrounding themselves with people who will be their cheerleaders, and they reciprocate in showing that support.
In a nutshell, the lessons I take away from these women are these: To be great, give to get, have humility, celebrate your unique strengths and go where you are valued. You deserve nothing less, and life is too short to accept anything less.