As her story goes, it was a typical day at Westinghouse when Carrie Penman’s phone rang. A mid-level manager at the time, the supersize caller told her she was being promoted to the company’s first “ethics officer” – and that she would report directly to CEO.
Carrie has also been a true force among the generation who essentially established ethics and compliance as both a discipline and a professional calling.
It’s been more than 20 years since Carrie – now NAVEX Global’s chief compliance officer – got that call. In the intervening years, she became one of the most respected practitioners in the ethics and compliance profession. And I am proud to say that on April 25, Carrie will be the 2017 recipient of The Ethics & Compliance Initiative’s (ECI) Carol R. Marshall Award for Innovation in Corporate Ethics.
It’s a well-deserved recognition for Carrie and a cause for celebration for all of us at NAVEX Global. ECI describes the Marshall Award as one that “honors ethics and compliance officers who established an E&C program, built on to an existing program, advanced the ethics and compliance field and provides a role model for emerging leaders in ethics and compliance.” Carrie has done all of those things. She has also been a true force among the generation who essentially established ethics and compliance as both a discipline and a professional calling.
Her start in the compliance field may have been unique, but she wasn’t alone. Carrie was one of a small group of young managers who were tapped by their respective companies to establish an ethics and compliance function in the wake of high-profile corporate scandals and the promulgation of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines in 1991. Carol Marshall, who worked for Lockheed Martin at the time, was among them. In fact, she and Carrie were professional colleagues as well as friends. The two of them – along with other change makers working for enlightened companies – were building brand new functional “departments” within their respective organizations. To do this effectively, they sought each other out and even shared best practices among competitors. As Carrie tells it, this counter-intuitive cooperation made sense: “It was in all of our best interests to have our competitors compete ethically.”
Many of the best practices Carrie helped establish nearly a quarter-century ago persist today.
At Westinghouse, she pioneered the values-based approach to a company code of conduct. She also introduced the concept of detailed incident reporting and data analysis. Novel at the time, these practices are now routine – and Carrie continues refine them as the workplace evolves.
Her passion for analytics led her to create and publish NAVEX Global’s annual Ethics & Compliance Hotline Benchmark Report, now in its sixth edition. The 2017 report analyzed almost 1 million reports from among 38.5 million employees at more than 2,300 organizations. It is widely regarded as the industry standard for hotline reporting and incident management measurement. It is also recognized as one of the most valuable benchmarking tools for ethics and compliance professionals globally.
As I mentioned, Carrie is our chief compliance officer. Her expertise and guiding hand are present throughout the company, informing both our workplace culture and the products we deliver. So in a way, you could say that her ethical influence extends to the more than 12,000 plus clients we serve around the globe. Her influence just keeps expanding.