Ethics and Compliance in an Imperfect World

The SCCE and ECOA conferences focused on practical applications of ethics and compliance for global business, and also for life

Posted by Dawn Lomer in on October 3rd, 2011

The best thing about attending ethics and compliance conferences, aside from all the free pens of course, is the exposure to so many different points of view. And when those points of view come from some of the best minds in the industry, the experience is invaluable.

In recent weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to attend both the SCCE Compliance and Ethics Institute in Las Vegas and the ECOA Ethics & Compliance Conference in Bellevue, Washington. At both conferences I was exposed to new ideas in the sessions and met and interviewed well-known industry leaders as well as practitioners who are immersed in the business of ethics and compliance for their companies.

Lessons from Vegas

At the SCCE Compliance and Ethics Institute, I connected with some great people who shared their thoughts with me on the challenges and triumphs of doing business in an imperfect world. I probably learned as much in Vegas about living in an imperfect world as I did about doing business in one, and not because of the venue, but because of the articulate and experienced people I spoke to.

Patrick Kuhse, who is today a speaker, trainer and consultant, was not always on the right side of the law. He told me about his experience as an international fugitive after years of crime and how he learned to spot the signs of an ethics breakdown.

Donna Boehme of Compliance Strategists chatted with me about generation Y and the implications of social media in the workplace. I’ve already written a blog post based on our interview.

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I interviewed Robert Rudloff, VP, Internal Audit at MGM Resorts International, about how MGM managed the ethical and cultural challenges of a major merger.

I asked Sheryl Vacca, Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance and Audit Officer at the University of California, about the mistakes people make when conducting workplace investigations. I wrote a couple of blog posts last week featuring her tips for effective investigations.

Speakers in Seattle

Some of the lessons from the ECOA conference had nothing to do with ethics and compliance. On an early morning run I crossed paths with David Lowry, a speaker for the session on testing a global code of conduct. When we happened to sit together at lunch, I learned that aside from a penchant for running and ethics, he’s also an Episcopal priest and is working on a fascinating project in Southern Sudan.

Later that day I sat down with Adam Benson, Director of Public Relations at the Ethics Resource Center, to learn about the Center’s National Business Ethics Surveys and interviewed Ronnie Feldman of Second City Communications to find out how Second City applies comedy to business learning. Shannon Walker, President of WhistleBlower Security, talked to me about the challenges of setting up an ethics hotline in foreign countries with language, education and technology barriers.

And in a fascinating interview with Scott Reynolds, Associate Professor of Business Ethics at the Foster School of Business, University of Washington, I learned how subtle cues can influence our behavior, prompting us to act more or less ethically. His research on non-conscious aspects of decision-making has yielded statistically significant results pointing to ways in which businesses can build and sustain an ethical culture through subtle cues that point to the kind of messages they want to convey.

Along with the industry experts mentioned above, I also interviewed and connected with a slew of other ethics and compliance professionals, many of whom I will write about in subsequent blog posts. Watch this space.


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.