By John R. Nocero & Jennifer L. Kennedy
One of our favorite 80’s movies was Working Girl, starring Melanie Griffith. If there ever was a movie that was written specifically for the compliance professional in all of us, this is us. Let us explain:
Working Girl is a rom-com set in New York City in the 1980’s. Griffith plays a character named Tess McGill, working-class stockbroker’s secretary with aspirations of being a big-time executive. Tess’s seemingly supportive boss Katharine encourages her to share her ideas. Tess suggests that a client, Trask Industries, pursue a merger and acquisition to gain a market share in media. Katharine listens to the idea and says she’ll pass it along. Later, Katharine tells Tess that the idea was not well received. Through the twists of the movie, Tess ends up housesitting for Katharine and while there makes two pivotal discoveries. The first is Katharine’s plans to pass off Tess’s merger idea as her own; the second is that her boyfriend is having an affair. Disillusioned, Tess returns to Katharine’s apartment and begins her transformation from working girl to business executive.
We loved this film. You cannot help but root for Tess. It is inspiring to us knowing that you can make opportunities come to you.
Compliance is not a field in which people plan to become experts. It tends to just happen. But, once you find yourself in the compliance realm you need to have a plan. You need to make that transformation. Why? Because no matter what type of organization you work in, unless things go off the rails, most of the organization doesn’t even realize what it is that you do. Part of the compliance professional’s job has to be selling the product to the organization. You don’t make them any profit so you have to convince the business that it’s in their interest to have you there.
Compliance can’t be “more of the same old”. Where compliance professionals go wrong is that they are not working it like Tess. We say create your own opportunities. You need to figure out how your expertise can be an asset to your company, and then reach out to them to discuss it. You don’t need permission, you just need to do it. You need to be persistent – do it either by yourself or with your team, whatever it takes to accomplish that goal. It will hurt. Do it anyway. You will need to rely on yourself. Do it anyway. You will not get any additional resources. Do it anyway. It’s not the best way to approach a challenge. You need to combine persistence with resilience – succeed despite your circumstances, and you don’t need just yourself to do that. Look up, look out and achieve this. Because it is golden and you will feel more in control of all you do.
Now, go work it, girl.
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