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Ethisphere’s Global Ethics Summit Was Lit 🔥🔥🔥

Recently, Jaycee Dempsey, Broadcat’s Chief Delight Engineer, and I headed to the Peach State for some compliance connecting at Ethisphere’s 15th Annual Global Ethics Summit! For those of you who were there—or watched it during the live stream—you know how great it was. But, sadly, not all our compliance friends were able to attend, which is why I decided to pull together my “Best of the Summit”! Consider it your “essential listening” for GES 2024. Enjoy! 


1. Data, data, data!

It’s no surprise that we were treated to some fantastic data courtesy of the Ethisphere team, which they gathered as part of their efforts to identify and reward the World’s Most Ethical Companies. Having this sort of benchmarking information is great, but as featured speaker Bill Coffin noted, many of the things that used to be considered hallmarks of effectiveness are really now the “table stakes”: things like training completions and acknowledgment of policies. 

He challenged us to ask ourselves whether we are getting useful insights from the data we are collecting. This is such an important note and probably one of the biggest pitfalls I see compliance pros stumble into—as I did more than once. If you’re not testing whether the data insights you're gathering are actually moving the culture needle, then the metric you're referencing probably isn’t the right one. 

Also, here’s an interesting thing about culture that speaker Doug Allen highlighted: 

Awareness of the program is the most favorable measure for assessing culture. 

giphy-May-07-2024-12-59-56-0182-PMSource: Warner Brothers’ Barbie via

To me, this is so key to building your program. 🔑 If the employees at your company don’t know you, they won’t engage with you. They won’t ask questions (leading to risk). They won’t speak up when something goes wrong (more risk). And then, they will probably make assumptions about the right thing to do (and even more risk).

Tell them who you are, what you stand for, and how you can help them. And, as Doug also mentioned, don’t discount basic things, like translations, when putting out your messages.

2. Transparency: A tricky balance you need to find

I think we all know what a “lack of transparency” looks like. But do we really know what “transparency” is? We know one thing it’s not: a dump of information without context.

During a fantastic main stage panel, Ryan Miller from Noblis encouraged us to think about transparency as an “adjustable dimmer switch.” 🎚️ I loved this analogy because being transparent can be such a double-edged sword for compliance teams. There are moments when you want to shout from the rooftops followed immediately by a situation that requires utmost confidentiality and delicacy. Finding that balance—or setting the light just right—is a combination of science and art that we must constantly refine as a skill.

Then, once we’ve got the level right, how do we effectively communicate in a way that enhances the message? 

  • Build relatable content. As Angee Kerns from Booz Allen Hamilton noted, “transparency is a journey,” and she described using real-life stories to help make that connection. Not only the dramatic but also those highlighting when employees got it right. ⭐ 
  • Spread the message in multiple ways. Alicia Freind from Saint-Gobain North America uses a layered approach—not only by traveling around to meet people in person (literally and virtually) but also by encouraging management to promote compliance as a business partner. This tactic gets excellent mileage because employees hear the same message from more people in more ways. 

3. J-I-T is contagious (in a good way).

Just-in-time training isn’t just the ugly step-sibling to classic, modular annual training. In fact, it might just be the golden child! As IBM’s Yolanda Rabun put it, “People want to do the right thing, and you need to remind them—even after the annual training.” 

But good J-I-T training doesn’t just happen. You need to know how your audience consumes content. And with a diversified workforce in a variety of aspects like age, experience, location, and function, it’s incumbent on compliance teams to figure this out and meet employees where they are. As Dillon Wood from The Coca-Cola Company eloquently said, “If training is not driving the behaviors we are trying to influence and change, what’s the point?” 

Mic drop. 🎤 

4. “Don’t companies get it by now?” 

Todd Haugh and Suneal Bedi, both of the Kelley School of Business at the University of Indiana (Go Hoosiers!), presented their recent research paper, Valuing Corporate Compliance. It’s definitely worth a read, but here’s the upshot: Can you tie revenue generation to a compliance program? Yes. 

While there still exists a narrow view of compliance as merely “liability avoidance,” we’re starting to see companies moving toward making the business case for our programs. But the math is fuzzy. Todd and Suneal took a deep dive into marketing theory and study, and were able to establish a correlation between strong compliance programs and enhanced consumer sales. 

And guess what? Professor Haugh has been a Broadcat fan from way back. Remember that whole “pre-commitment device” thing? Yeah, that was Todd! Guess you could say we’ve been at this for a hot minute! 😉

5. Vlogging is stressful and exhilarating at the same time!

So I had a little fun of my own during the conference … I decided it was time to give this whole vlogging thing a try! We’ve got my vlogs on my LinkedIn as well as Broadcat’s, so if you’re interested in falling down the social media rabbit hole for a few minutes, take a look! 

And, as much as I do want feedback to make it better, remember those glass houses! 

giphy-May-07-2024-02-50-35-4775-PMSource: Paramount Pictures’ Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy via

Oh, and one last thing: My vote for best new job title and a hire that you need to make right now … 

Chief Compliance Pet! 🐶 (hat tip to Candice Monroe from The JM Smucker Company!) 

If you didn’t make it this year, definitely think about adding this event to your calendar for 2025. As you can see, it’s well worth it!

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