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Being a compliance department of one can be a lonely job, but not for Susan Freccia, Director of Compliance at Oregon State University. Working in a small compliance department doesn’t feel like a challenge.
For one, she is not fully alone. There are compliance partners – professionals who have at least some compliance responsibilities – across the campus. More importantly, rather than focusing on her lack of a compliance team of her own she works at creating collaborative relationships far and wide. That includes the compliance partners, staff, HR, legal and audit.
For others in solo situations she advises not falling into the temptation of thinking, “If only I had X or Y the compliance program could be better.” Instead, she recommends focusing on how to work effectively and continue to improve processes.
She has also found success comes from the ability to help others get “unstuck” in their efforts. She frequently meets with various individuals and teams to help figure out what the challenge is and to find a solution. She also may serve as a bridge between departments who may share responsibility in an area, helping them to collaborate more effectively.
Susan also advises against seeking perfection. It’s unattainable. Incidents will always occur. She notes that even the Sentencing Guidelines reflect that reality with several elements addressing how a program responds to the inevitable problems.
In sum, to make a small program work, take a collaborative, problem-solving approach. It will be more effective and help people see compliance not as the cause of problems but the solutions to them.