Mark your calendars, everyone: May 18 promises to be The Biggest Night in Compliance.

Compliance Week is making some changes to its annual awards for 2020, evolving the 4-year-old “Top Minds” recognition in overall excellence into a full-blown, specifically targeted awards program dubbed “The Excellence in Compliance Awards.”

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Instead of honoring 12 Top Minds from across the compliance landscape, Compliance Week is asking for nominations for 13 specific awards. From all nominees in each award category, a CW committee of experts will pare the list down to 3-5 finalists for each award, with finalists receiving an invitation to a special gala May 18, the first night of the Compliance Week National Conference at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. Winners will be announced during the gala and celebrated throughout the conference.

Starting Dec. 1, you can nominate a colleague, client, boss, or anyone in the business you think is deserving, in one of 13 categories that break down into four buckets: overall excellence, influencers and innovators, compliance partners, and forward-thinkers in key areas of compliance.

Overall excellence

The three award categories honoring overall excellence in compliance are Chief Compliance Officer of the Year, Lifetime Achievement in Compliance, and Rising Star in Compliance.

The CCO of the Year will be awarded to the chief compliance officer who has best demonstrated the values of effectiveness, collaboration, communication, constructiveness, and vision at his or her organization. This is the signature award of the gala.

The Lifetime Achievement in Compliance Award is the only award in which finalists will not be selected—only a winner. This person—a longtime compliance practitioner who has upheld the core principles of ethics and leadership throughout his or her career—will be announced in advance of the awards ceremony, will be profiled in a special edition of Compliance Week magazine, and will give a speech at the gala.

The Future Star in Compliance will go to an up-and-comer in the business who has shown the skills and ethics-first leadership needed to be a next-generation CCO.

Influencers and innovators

There are three specific awards that will be given out in this area: Compliance Innovator of the Year, Compliance Mentor of the Year, and Compliance Comeback of the Year.

The Innovator of the Year recognition will go to an in-house practitioner who has taken an outside-the-box approach to solving a complex problem or made the most out of available resources. Perhaps it will be someone who zigs when everyone else zags, a trailblazer who sets an example for others to follow.

Potential nominees for our Mentor of the Year honor will be people who have provided needed guidance and leadership to peers or subordinates for the betterment of a particular organization’s compliance program or the profession at large.

The Comeback of the Year award will go to a company that’s been through rough times but is emerging from the ashes of scandal having both learned from mistakes and implemented policies and controls to prevent the compliance lapses that got them in hot water.

Compliance partners

To borrow a phrase: It takes a village to run a successful compliance program. In other words, you can’t do it all yourself, so this is an opportunity to nominate either a software vendor or compliance consultant whose services you can’t live without. The categories in this bucket are Best Compliance Consultant/Advisor and Best Compliance Technology Partner.


The final five awards Compliance Week will be giving out will go to specialists who have demonstrated forward-thinking and overall excellence in key areas of any robust compliance program: TPRM, Data Privacy, Cyber-Security, Training, and Anti-Corruption.

These leaders will have played a large role in beefing up their organizations’ programs in any one of these areas and set examples for others in their industries to follow.

The fine print

From these 13 categories, we’ll be selecting a total of 40-60 finalists (announced in March), all of whom will be recognized in a special section of the Compliance Week Website and in the April/May print edition of CW magazine. They will also be distinguished guests at the Compliance Week National Conference (May 18-20) and, of course, invited to the gala in their honor on the night of May 18.

Please note members of our “Top Minds” Classes from 2016-2019 will be eligible for “Excellence in Compliance Awards” as well, and people can be nominated in more than one category.

Nominations must be submitted by Jan. 31 and include the following information: Nominee’s name, nominee’s company, specific award the individual/company is nominated for, 500 words or less on why the person/company should win the award, and the nominator’s information.

Good luck, and let’s get the nomination process started!