Twenty Years Serving the Compliance Profession

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Post By: Adam Turteltaub

In September 2000 I got a call from Dov Seidman, the founder of compliance training provider (and at the time legal research provider) LRN asking me to come over and talk.  I knew Dov a bit through a family friend.

At the time I knew a little about the company and even less about what compliance and ethics programs were.

I went over to his office and left several hours later with a job offer.

I joined the company in October and just now realized that October 2020 marks my twentieth year serving the compliance profession, first there, and since July 2008 here at the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics & Health Care Compliance Association.

To say October 2000 was another era is an understatement.  Back then HCCA was just four years old, and SCCE’s birth was still another four years away.  The big topic at LRN’s initial customer meeting, which I was tasked with creating, was whether you could make compliance training mandatory and, if so, how you would do it.

Yes, mandatory compliance training was once a radical innovation.

Much has changed since then.  Now, the question is not whether you train but how and how often.  Compliance has blossomed from a small part of the role of the general counsel to a discipline all its own.  Bored oversight by management has been replaced by Board oversight (and sometimes bored oversight, still, sadly).  We weathered the dot bombs, the market meltdown and are now making our way through COVID-19.  We also made our way through the fallout of Enron, Siemens, VW and countless others.

Each time we have taken the opportunity as a profession to learn what others have done wrong, and what they did right to fix the problem.  Thankfully, compliance officers from programs that have had struggles have been willing to share what they have learned. Many went on to become models of how to do things right.

This points to one thing that hasn’t changed, and I hope never will:  the willingness of members of the compliance and ethics community to share wisdom with each other.  It’s the only profession I know of where competitors don’t look to gain an advantage over each other.  They understand that when one company falls it is an occasion not for rejoicing but for learning and self-assessment.

As I head for my next milestone in compliance longevity, I first want to thank the countless people who helped me through the years, including Dov, Roy Snell and Gerry Zack who kept me busy all these years.  Second, I want to thank the countless people who have patiently taught me what I needed to know to serve the profession.  It’s a very long list and, as editor of the blog, it would be bad for me to exceed our word count.

Second, I want to encourage everyone to continue sharing your expertise.  It’s what has driven the development of our profession.  Learning from each other has proven more powerful than any new law or regulation in deepening the expertise of compliance professional.  Please keep submitting speaking proposals, and write for the SCCE and HCCA magazines, ethikos or the blog.  Or, email me if you want to do a podcast.  And, of course, take the time to join HCCA, SCCE or both.

Finally, keep welcoming in the newbies.  Compliance can be a mysterious world, and we all need others to light the way.  I know I did, and often still do.

1 COMMENT

  1. Congratulations for 20 years in the ethics and compliance world. Thank you for your significant contributions to our profession over that time. It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve known you for 17 of those 20 years! It’s been a pleasure to be on this journey with you.

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