Welcome to Six Questions with an Ethics & Compliance Officer, a new interview series from SAI Global created in conjunction with National Compliance Officer Day. Each post will shine the spotlight on a different member of the E&C community, from established CCOs and CECOs with years of experience to rising stars with a passion for ethical behavior.
Q1: How long have you been working in ethics and compliance?
I’ve been working in this area, in some form or another, for over 10 years.
Q2: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
As a kid, I used to ask my family for office supplies and stationary for Christmas. Things like rubber stamps, paperclips, staplers, and sticky notes. I have no idea why I found them so appealing, but as crazy as it sounds, I remember thinking I wanted a job where I could use them often. So, I guess being a Chief Compliance Officer fits that description!
Q3: What are some of the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job?
One of the most rewarding parts of being in-house is the exposure to how a business operates; everything from finance to sales to manufacturing, R&D, and human resources. The best compliance professionals make it a priority to really understand how their company functions internally, and in the market, so that they can design internal controls that actually make sense from a practical point of view and are an asset to the business.
These aren’t things you typically learn in law school, at least not during my time, so it can be a challenge for some people coming from that background. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to develop a certain degree of business acumen as part of my job.
Q4: What are three important traits a Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer should possess?
Among many other traits, a CCO or CECO should have strong leadership skills, the ability to persuade others, and should be well-informed about business trends and emerging risks that may affect the company.
Q5: If someone wanted to get more involved in promoting ethical behavior in their organization today, what could they do?
Two easy ways to do this would be to:
1. lead by example, especially if your role involves managing other people.
2. work with your compliance team to understand how you can incorporate their message and resources into the way you execute your job responsibilities on a consistent basis.
Q6: What advice would you give to recent college graduates and other professionals who may want to pursue a career in ethics and compliance?
In a nutshell, be resourceful. Go online and research what it really means to be a compliance and ethics professional so you are aware of what this job entails and what skills are required. Read about people who have experienced success in this field and study their career paths so you can start charting yours. And use your network to connect to people who can help you achieve the next step in that path.
I’m happy to help people where I can. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.
About Ling-Ling Nie
Ling-Ling Nie is Chief Compliance Officer & Assistant General Counsel at Panasonic Corporation of North America, where she is responsible for managing the corporate compliance and ethics program for over 25 subsidiaries and division companies. She has practiced in both the private and public sectors in multiple areas, and previously served as a Senior Advisor to the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Her current practice focuses on global compliance matters, including antitrust, anti-corruption, data protection, customs and trade, conflict minerals, and privacy issues.
She received the “Excellence in Ethics Training and Communications award” from the U.S. Office of Government Ethics in 2010 and was a University of Georgia “40 Under 40” award program nominee in 2013. She has also served as a speaker for the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Ethisphere Institute, the University of Georgia’s School of Law, and the Georgia Lawyers for the Arts, for which she currently serves on the Board of Directors, and has also contributed to compliance publications both online and in print. She is also a current division President of Panasonic’s Women Connect organization.
She is a graduate of the University of Georgia and received her law degree from Washington and Lee University’s School of Law, and is licensed to practice in both Georgia and Virginia.