Five Reasons to Get Out of Your Compliance Conference Comfort Zone


By Sally Afonso
Compliance Advisor

I work in banking, but I flew 3,800 miles from Amsterdam to Washington, DC to spend three days attending SCCE’s Utilities & Energy Compliance & Ethics Conference.  Why?

For me, there are five simple and compelling reasons that got me on that plane to join a new set of my peers.  Some of them might motivate you too:

  • To demonstrate interest – I’m committed to a mentality of Compliance Profession First. This means we need to support each other and engage with each other to help our field to evolve and mature.  More than networking, this is about value-add connecting.  Meeting each other on equal terms as compliance and ethics professionals beyond our day jobs will help us to leverage our mutual knowledge into a shared, strong voice.
  • In pursuit of shared objectives – Together we can take steps toward a fresh take on our common challenges, even though we work in different contexts. Communication, engagement, awareness, change management, leadership, culture, values, tone, conduct, and integrity – these are compliance and ethics topics in every industry.  What’s more, in highly-regulated sectors, despite the relevant authority under whose oversight we are located, we all must contend with regulatory stakeholder management and stay up to date with supervisory agendas.
  • Being positively disrupted – In my compliance practice I call upon the business people I advise to challenge their preconceptions and consider new perspectives. What better way can I model these conduct expectations than to take on this challenge by learning outside of my comfort zone?  I’m practicing what I preach in telling my business partners to collaborate across their operational divisions, by seeking a fresh look within the compliance profession.
  • Continuing my education – We go to conferences to fulfill lifelong learning requirements and goals. By choosing events where I hop across industries, I can learn on multiple levels, both best practices as well as content.  In the nine sessions I attended, I got a crash course in topics as diverse as Office of Inspector General’s criminal, civil, and administrative investigations and resolutions; records and information management; FCPA program trends; and FERC and NERC standards and enforcement.
  • Speaking for myself – I came to this conference as a speaker in addition to as an attendee. I wanted to return the favor to my new colleagues who have taught me so much.  Speaking as both a guest and a representative draws back the curtain on my industry’s practices and point of view.

Thanks to broadening my horizons by attending this conference in a field other than my own, I’m bringing back tons of tips and tricks to bring back to work. We have more that unites us than that differentiates us.  To continue to mature our profession we must evolve as individuals with knowledge that is both deep and broad.

So, I highly recommend attending a compliance and ethics conference outside of the sector in which you work.  You’ll be amazed by how valuable the new angle on your learning and networking routines is for sharing and connecting.


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