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Six Questions with an Ethics and Compliance Officer Virginia MacSuibhne


Six Questions with an Ethics & Compliance Officer is an interview series created in conjunction with 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 consider my start in ethics and compliance to be about 15 years ago when I was involved in the litigation of employment law and securities fraud cases. Right about that time, Sarbanes Oxley was enacted and I began to see a path in what is now ethics and compliance. I see employment law’s view of company policies, programs, and reporting options for harassment claims as mitigation and defense options as the precursor to current ethics and compliance programs.

Q2: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

At 5, I wanted to be a ballerina. At 10, a mom. At 20, a lawyer. And today, I want to be (and am blessed and fortunate to have the role) a Chief Compliance Officer for a healthcare company.

Q3: What are some of the most rewarding and challenging parts of your job? 

The most rewarding parts are when I can contribute a practical solution to a problem and help the business do the important work of creating diagnostics in the healthcare space. I also find it incredibly rewarding when my team’s work is acknowledged as practical, helpful, and fun. The most challenging part of my job is the sheer volume and variety of issues I touch on any given day.

Q4: What are three important traits a Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer should possess?

  • An interest in lifelong learning
  • Integrity
  • Stick-to-itiveness

Q5: If someone wanted to get more involved in promoting ethical behavior in their organization today, what could they do? 

As one of my favorite quotes reads, “Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can.”

  • Learn about the current company program.
  • Read up on hot topics in the field, within and outside the industry your company is in.
  • Engage with the compliance officer and other senior leaders who are “in charge” of the program and offer ideas or suggestions, or just volunteer to help with the program.

Q6: What advice would you give to recent college graduates and other professionals who may want to pursue a career in ethics and compliance?

This is a great, growing field, and it continues to evolve and become more robust and important. I find it incredibly meaningful and rewarding. I suggest that people get certified as Compliance and Ethics Professionals as soon as possible and read the various publications and blogs to stay current as the regulations are changing fast and furiously.

About Virginia MacSuibhne, J.D., CCEP 
Virginia is currently the Chief Compliance Officer for Roche Molecular Solutions, out of Pleasanton, California, where she is responsible for managing and directing all aspects of the organization’s ethics and compliance program and related infrastructure, including privacy, records management, cyber security, and interactions with healthcare professionals.

In addition to expertise building and managing key ethics and compliance programs, Virginia is experienced and skilled in records and information management programs, investigative processes and management, workplace violence prevention, and ethics and compliance risk assessment and management activities, and often speaks and writes on these topics.

Virginia has been in a leadership role with Roche since 2008, including serving for more than two years as the General Counsel for Ventana Medical Systems in Tucson, AZ. Her work prior to Roche includes serving as an in-house employment and compliance attorney for a major, publicly-held software company and experience as a trial lawyer focusing on employment, fraud, and litigation matters.