In the Spotlight: Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week


HCCA Director of Communication Margaret Dragon interviewed Nancy Gordon (, HCCA Managing Editor.  Nancy also oversees Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week products and information.  

MD: Please tell us about Corporate Compliance & Ethics Week, when is it held, and its history.

NG: The idea for Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week grew from conversations among active members of HCCA back in 2002. They were looking to find new ways to educate employees about the compliance and ethics program and its importance. Someone suggested if they had a designated day called Compliance Day, they could have a “hook” around which several activities could be planned, which would have more impact. By coordinating with department leaders, they could do some individualized training and then hold a big compliance celebration event to reinforce the organization’s commitment to compliance and ethics. For those organizations that were much too large to do all that in a day, the concept was expanded to a Compliance Awareness Week.

Two members who had success with this idea, Gene DeLaddy and Cheryl Atkinson of the Carolinas HealthCare System, wrote about their experiences in the December 2002 issue of Compliance Today. Many compliance and ethics professionals responded by holding their own events. The HCCA Board of Directors and the SCCE Advisory Board decided they liked the idea so much they wanted to help even more members benefit from it.

They created the first National Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week, which was held May 22-28, 2005. At that time, they worked to have a resolution passed in the U.S. Senate, which would have allowed a National Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week to be officially recognized by Congress. Unfortunately, the senators who were sponsoring the resolution left office before it made its way through. But by that time, the week had taken hold among compliance and ethics professionals.

The name was shortened to Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week in following years. Then in 2009, the event was moved from the last week of May to the first full week of May, to avoid the overlap with Memorial Day that so often happened. We will celebrate the 10th annual Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week on May 4-10, 2014.

MD: What is the purpose and value of this specifically designated week for the Compliance department?

NG: As you know, employee education is one of the seven elements required for an effective compliance and ethics program. By having a designated week, compliance and ethics professionals can take the opportunity to build awareness in ways that reinforce not just specific rules and regulations, but the overall culture of compliance. It is much easier to promote compliance and ethics topics when a spotlight is already focused on Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week. Also, when employees see that the organization’s top executives and managers are supporting and taking part in the week’s celebrations, the message is clear: Compliance and ethics are a big priority.

MD: How do SCCE & HCCA support Corporate Compliance & Ethics Week?

NG: Each year we develop a new logo for the week that includes a compliance-related theme. The theme for 2014 is Compliance Makes a Difference. The logo is available free on our website.

Over the years, we have tried to facilitate the sharing of ideas that our members have used to successfully capitalize on the week. We have published many articles in Compliance Today and sponsored web conferences by our members who share what has worked for them. New this year, we have created a free “train-the-trainer” kit that can help members have a place to start their planning efforts. In it, you will find sample newsletter ideas and templates focused on compliance and ethics awareness, sample newsletter articles and e-mail blasts promoting Corporate Compliance & Ethics Week, event planning ideas and activity instructions, etc. And finally, we provide low-cost posters and promotional products to use in conjunction with Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week celebrations. These are all available in our Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week section of the website.

MD: When you communicate with those who order supplies, do they discuss the activities they are planning and how they plan to maximize the week to benefit their compliance and ethics program? If so, would you mind sharing their plans with us?

NG: We don’t really get full descriptions of their events, but sometimes they will share how they used a particular product with an activity. For instance, many people have told us they like to offer the flashlights for a “shine the spotlight on compliance” theme. And I’ve heard the sticky flags have been used for a “flag those errors” theme. And one member told me she has every official Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week poster we have issued, and she’s lined a hallway in her department with all of them in a row.

MD: Would you tell us about some of the items HCCA will have available for members to order in 2014 and how soon can they order supplies?

NG: We actually have our 2014 promotional items available now—we wanted to give members more time to plan and budget for their events. They will find a lot of new items we’ve never offered before, including all new inspirational quote posters, awareness bracelets, mini-tool sets, smart-phone stands, and table tents. Plus we have the old favorites—pens, sticky flags, flashlights, stress balls, and mugs.

MD: Is there information available about events and programs others have developed to celebrate Corporate Compliance & Ethics Week and if so, where?

NG: We have put all the tools available to help with planning Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week in one section on the website. That means past articles and web conferences, downloadable logos, and train-the-trainer kits, as well as our online store to order promotional items. You can find them at SCCE’s Corporate Compliance & Ethics Week Resources page. 

MD: Thank you for taking the time  to tell us about Corporate Compliance and Ethics Week.