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 E&C for 11.5 years.

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

An ethics and compliance professional, of course! Actually, probably a writer or an artist.

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

The most rewarding part is building close and trusting working relationships with clients, solving a problem or reaching a goal that helps sustain an ethical culture, and contributing to my clients’ career success.

The most challenging part is when I work (thankfully rarely) with clients who don’t really want to be in an ethics and compliance role and who only do the bare minimum to get by.

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

    1. Commitment to an ethical culture – having an unwavering commitment to the importance of an ethical culture, designing the program accordingly, and defending it courageously.
    2. Resourcefulness – getting the most out of limited resources, and tapping into less obvious ones. That means hiring people who have a passion for the work, investing in their careers, staying on top of trends, and learning from other people and companies that are in the trenches every day.
    3. Ability to “win friends and influence people” – without the ability to build relationships and influence across the organization, it’d be difficult to get the buy-in necessary for a meaningful program.

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

    I’d suggest first speaking with someone from the ethics & compliance department to clarify the company values, what ethical behavior means at the company, and discuss scenarios where he/she could have an impact. The company may also have an ethics and compliance ambassador program or other established ways to engage employees.

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

    Start by learning as much as possible through resources such as the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, Ethics and Compliance Institute, and OCEG. Connect with E&C professionals to learn about the career and its realities. And if they’re still interested, speak with someone in an ethics and compliance role at their current companies to see about opportunities to transition. If that’s not an option, revise resumes to reflect an interest and any relatable experience, and seek job openings that match their capabilities and experience.

    ABOUT CAVENI WONG

    Caveni Wong is the Founder & Principal of Principle Compliance, Inc., a management consulting firm with a focus on corporate ethics and compliance. Since 2006, Caveni has helped multinational corporations develop and manage global ethics and compliance programs. She combines experience in organizational change management and the technology industry to help clients execute a full range of ethics and compliance initiatives, from program strategy, risk assessment, and vendor evaluation to Code of Conduct and training development. Caveni previously worked for Ernst & Young, IBM, and LRN. She graduated cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.A. in Communication Studies and holds an MBA from Duke University.