5 Things I Learned at the SCCE Compliance and Ethics Institute

Flashing lights, Elvis impersonators and slot machines didn’t detract from the winning combination of speakers and topics.

Posted by Dawn Lomer in on September 19th, 2011

Amidst the gambling, debauchery and excess of the Las Vegas strip a conference on ethics and compliance might seem a little out of place. But while the irony of the location wasn’t lost on me, it seemed strangely fitting for some of the topics discussed at last week’s conference and for some of the lessons I learned.

Take, for example, the talk given by Patrick Khuse, the former stockbroker and investment advisor who spent four years in prison for fraud, after evading capture for four years in Costa Rica. Khuse outlined in his presentation the small ways that unethical decisions take root and lead to more and more unethical decisions.

I had an opportunity to interview Khuse before his presentation, and was impressed by his openness about his former life and the toll it took on his marriage and family. His son, Alex, sat in on our interview and also attended his father’s presentation. I learned from Khuse that even seemingly unimportant decisions have consequences.

Password Panic

In a session on data leakage entitled How to Avoid Becoming the Next Wikileaks Victim, Orrie Dinstein, Chief Privacy Leader and Senior IP Counsel at GE Capital, gave an eye-opening presentation on information security and the effectiveness of today’s data thieves.

When I got home on Wednesday night I changed all my passwords, carefully avoiding the use of unsecured wireless networks for any important sites in the airports enroute to Canada. From Dinstein I learned that if thieves really want your data, they will likely get it. But strong passwords and awareness might deter the less committed opportunists.

Generational Generalizations

On Tuesday, Donna Boehme, Principal at Compliance Strategists, agreed to sit down with me to chat about the dangers of social media in the workplace. Look out for a future blog post based on our conversation.

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The day before our interview I had attended a session Boehme moderated entitled: Make Way for the Millennials!: Rebooting Your Compliance and Ethics Program to Reach out to the Y Generation (and Workforce of the Future), in which she and the other speakers addressed the challenges and opportunities of a multi-generational workforce. I learned that social media is a critical communication tool for the Y generation and can be used effectively to drive a compliance program.


Chuck the Checklists

I also had the opportunity to interview industry stalwart Sheryl Vacca about workplace investigations, just a couple of hours before she was honored by the SCCE at the awards dinner for long time, sustained contribution to the compliance and ethics profession. As Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance & Audit Officer at the University of California, Vacca has vast industry knowledge and shared some advice on workplace investigations with me. Among the many things I learned from that conversation is that checklists, something many amateur investigators rely on, can limit the investigator’s results by narrowing thinking.

And from the front desk manager at the stunning Cosmopolitan, I learned that even the best hotels experience the occasional glitch, which is what happened at 3:45am on Tuesday when the televisions in all 3,000 rooms turned themselves on. If nothing else, the incident provided a perfect conversation starter at the networking breakfast that morning.

Dawn Lomer
Dawn Lomer

Managing Editor

Dawn Lomer is the managing editor at i-Sight Software and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She writes about topics related to workplace investigations, ethics and compliance, data security and e-discovery, and hosts i-Sight webinars.