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Not long ago, the job of an ethics and compliance professional didn’t exist in many, or any, organizations. Today, whether you realize it or not, there is a strong chance that an ethics and compliance professional has changed your life.

Compliance officers and their colleagues are responsible for helping all of the people in a company understand the difference between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, why they should care, and how it relates to what they do. That may sound simple in theory, but the intricacies of how it’s accomplished are more complex than you may realize. From cultural, behavioral, regulatory, and legal perspectives, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ aren’t going to be the same to an engineer in Seattle, a salesperson in Brazil, and an accountant in Prague. Now imagine doing that every day with the knowledge that if one of those thousands of people ends up doing the wrong thing, it can negatively impact every other person they work with.

Behind every completely ordinary day in your professional life, without salacious headlines about your company that can cause financial and reputational damage, a compliance officer is successfully doing their job.

Despite a lack of superpowers, ethics and compliance professionals can actually be quite heroic.

Compliance Officer Day is an annual event that celebrates the men and women who have dedicated their careers to building ethical cultures and helping people do the right thing.

SAI Global founded Compliance Officer Day and launched it on September 26, 2016, at the fifteenth annual Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics (SCCE) conference in Chicago. In preparation for the second annual Compliance Officer Day on September 26, 2017, we created this website and launched this blog to serve as a destination for resources, discussions, and community.

The driving force behind the creation of Compliance Officer Day is a simple, undeniable fact that the job of an ethics and compliance professional is challenging, stressful, and underappreciated. It’s a day to feel appreciated, but it’s also more than just an annual event. It’s about building a source of ongoing resources and support to help each other achieve our shared mission of helping the people around us do the right thing.

One thing any compliance officer can understand is that meaningful change requires patience and persistence.

Our mission for Compliance Officer Day can be summarized in three principles:

  • Raise awareness about the importance of ethics and compliance in business and shine a spotlight on the people responsible for making it a reality.
  • Provide resources to promote the wellness and well-being of ethics and compliance professionals so they can learn how to overcome stress and burnout.
  • Grow the existing ethics and compliance community and help identify and guide the next generation of E&C advocates.

It seems like there are ‘days’ for everything, from best friends and books to pizza and pets. These days exist because somewhere in the world a group of people cares deeply about that topic. They want to celebrate it, reflect on what it means to them and connect with their peers over common ground. These days started one year, and slowly but surely, picked up steam and gained significance.

We believe that compliance officers, their teammates, and the principles they represent deserve to be celebrated.

We believe that there are people around the world who care deeply about the importance of ethics and compliance.

We believe that the lives and careers of ethics and compliance professionals can be enriched by knowing that the people they want to help can appreciate the help they get.

We believe their journey is just beginning, and in the future, they’ll be able to reflect on 2017 and smile about how far they’ve come and how much of a difference they’ve made.

If you believe what we believe, here’s how you can make a difference.

Thank the members of your ethics and compliance team at work. Send them a nice email, invite them to lunch, or spend a few minutes getting to know them. They are more than just the emails you receive and the training you take.

You can also sign up to become a Compliance Officer Day Champion. By doing so, you’ll demonstrate your personal or organizational commitment to ethics and compliance and the people who make it possible. Finally, spread the word about National Compliance Officer Day. Tell your colleagues, bosses, and friends. Talk about it on social media with the #ComplianceOfficerDay hashtag. Share this blog post. Do everything you can do to make your voice heard, and if you need help figuring out what to say or how to say it, use the free resources on this website.

We look forward to celebrating with you on September 26th, and when it comes to ethical behavior and supporting the people who are committed to it, there’s nothing wrong with starting early if it feels right.