Welcome to Six Questions with an Ethics & Compliance Officer, a new interview series 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.

Q: How long have you been working in ethics and compliance?

I’ve been working in the regulatory, ethics, legal and compliance spaces for over 10 years.

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

An attorney and diplomat, or an opera singer. I like to think I found a nice way to blend all of those into one career.

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

Some of the most rewarding moments are when we deliver strategic advice to our business and when we work synergistically to ensure integrity isn’t a bolt-on, but rather emblematic to our business.

I think one of the biggest challenges for compliance professionals today is finding creative ways to avoid “compliance fatigue” – we have to be relentless and tireless in acting as “evangelists” for our Codes, and for ethics and compliance. Also, in a very practical sense, facing the physical challenges of a global role that can call for extensive travel, late night calls, and presentations where you are constantly delivering at a very high level of intensity.

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

  1. Tirelessness – We can spend a ton of time and effort building a magnificent program, but if we lose the momentum even for a bit, it can roll back much of our progress in moving that program forward as we face constant challenges like training overload, employee attrition, and reaching a diverse and geographically dispersed workforce. We need to be in a state of constant innovation, developing unique and effective ideas to reach people, inspire them, and drive behavior. We have to have the ability to motivate and foment ownership of compliance in every employee – that takes genuine enthusiasm and passion for the job.
  2. Analytical Thinking – We are often tasked with advising our business in a pragmatic way. We make a lot of judgment calls as compliance officers, and our ability to navigate in a “grey space” makes us especially valuable assets.
  3. Cultural Savviness – Compliance officers must be culturally sensitive and regionally specific. We have to deliver a compelling message all over the world. In order for it to be effective, we have to tailor that message based on a deep understanding of local realities, values, and dynamics.

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

In a very simple way, being curious, keeping your eyes and ears open, and speaking up! Also, finding small every-day ways to integrate a compliance message into what we do. Managers play an especially important role in this as they have an excellent communication platform to reach others.

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

Learn a second language if possible. Language skills really help us bridge gaps and create meaningful relationships. I would also advise taking a course on data analytics and business automation – it is the future!

ABOUT ANA-PAOLA (AP) CAPALDO

Ana-Paola Capaldo, LPEC is Director of Ethics and Compliance at Tech Data, where she leads the compliance team for the Americas. Tech Data is one of the world’s largest distributors of technology products, services, and solutions and currently ranked No. 108 on the Fortune 500®. She was formerly with Laureate Education, Inc. as Associate General Counsel of Global Ethics & Compliance.

Ms. Capaldo is responsible for assisting with the full range of activities associated with implementing and maintaining the ethics & compliance program of the Company, with a focus on anti-corruption activities and regulatory issues. She is also responsible for the implementation of a broad-ranging anti-corruption compliance program, including policy development, risk assessment, training delivery, communication, controls, and auditing, as well as due diligence protocols for third-party agents and consultants and acquisitions.

Formerly she was with the Miami-based boutique compliance firm MDO Partners, where she focused on corporate law, global compliance, and business ethics. Prior to practicing law, Ms. Capaldo worked at the United States Department of State in the Office of Foreign Missions (OFM), where she focused her work on compliance with federal and international treaties and regulations in the consular community. She received her law degree from the University of Notre Dame Law School and completed her undergraduate studies in English Literature at Florida International University.