Are you in compliance?

Don't miss out! Sign up today for our weekly newsletters and stay abreast of important GRC-related information and news.

Top Minds 2018

Top Minds Hero
Nomination Form Button

Each year, Compliance Week highlights the best and brightest in the governance, risk, ethics, and compliance profession with the Top Minds award. Recipients participate in in-depth interviews with fellow leaders of the GRC community. We launched Top Minds in 2016, excited by the prospect of calling out the best and brightest professionals in the compliance, risk, governance, and ethics space. Since then we've noticed some common qualities that united all of our nominations. These were things that seemed, time and time again, to set people apart in their field and establish them as real heavy hitters. The more we noticed this, the more we realized that these characteristics form a kind of roadmap for success. Top Minds are:

Effective: Most nominees could illustrate how effective their compliance program had been. What is the ROI on their program? What are the results they delivered? They could somehow quantify what their program did, which is easier said than done. There is no one way to do this, but it’s a hallmark of a strong compliance program, and of a strong compliance officer, to be able to do that.

Collaborative: A lot of our most compelling entries showed that compliance does not live in a bubble. For compliance to be truly effective, it has to live across the organization, contend with or break down silos, and create a holistic system of risk management of which compliance is an integral part.

Communicative: Whether it’s exporting compliance expectations across the organization, broadcasting visions and values, starting an organizational conversation … the most successful nominees use their compliance efforts as a bullhorn to make sure that the rest of the organization understands what it means to bring best compliance practices to everyday operations and what it means to build value through compliance.

Constrictive: A lot of compliance officers learn the hard way that when they simply act as a hall monitor, they get shut down. Many of the most successful nominees had figured out how not to just say no all the time, but to use their compliance program to empower what the company was trying to accomplish. Business is always trying to move faster and reach higher. For compliance, it’s a matter of saying, “we know you want to do these things, but how can we do them in a way that accomplishes your goals yet remains compliant with our internal and external standards?” They’re using compliance not as a way to hold the business back, but as a way to build value for the business.

Visionaries: A lot of our most compelling Top Minds had a vision not just for themselves as a professional, but for their organizations. These people are true believers in the discipline. Compliance isn’t something they do, it’s something they are. When they truly give themselves over to their roles and responsibilities,that’s what really elevates their abilities as compliance professionals from merely good to truly great … from a sharp mind to a Top Mind.

Want to learn more? Download the 2017 digital edition and read the in-depth interviews with the recipients. 


What is Top Minds?

Each year, Compliance Week highlights the best and brightest in the governance, risk, ethics, and compliance profession with the Top Minds award. Recipients participate in in-depth interviews with fellow leaders of the GRC community.

Who is eligible for consideration as a Top Minds recipient?

GRC professionals who have had high-profile or exceptional achievements in 2016 that had a major impact on the way business is conducted AND those with long track records of championing governance, risk, compliance, audit, and ethics over many years are strong candidates for nomination.

Are Top Minds recipients from previous years eligible again?

Yes. Compliance Week recognizes those who continue to make a difference year after year.

When is the nomination deadline for Top Minds?

The deadline for Top Minds 2018 is January 31, 2018.

For more information, e-mail Bill Coffin.

News Article

Nancy Jardini: The legal mind

Bill Coffin | May 31, 2017

Nancy Jardini’s experience in public interest roles has uniquely prepared her for her most challenging—and rewarding role—leading compliance and ethics for mortgage financing giant Fannie Mae.

News Article

Rob Easton: The crossover expert

Jaclyn Jaeger | May 23, 2017

Robert Easton’s experience as a regulator and among the regulated gives him a keen understanding of the special compliance needs facing the insurance market.

News Article

Kurt Drake: master of integration

Joe Mont | May 16, 2017

Before joining Kimberly-Clark as its chief ethics and compliance officer in 2016, Kurt Drake already had more than 20 years of global ethics and compliance and finance experience.

News Article

Mary Gentile: The practical ethicist

Bill Coffin | May 16, 2017

Mary Gentile is one of the ethics field’s most renowned educators for her results-based ethics training that doesn’t ask: “What is the right thing to do,” but rather: “How do we get the right thing done?”

News Article

Peter Driscoll: The risk detective

Joe Mont | May 9, 2017

Under Peter Driscoll’s lead, the SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, uses a risk-based approach to fulfill its mission to promote compliance with U.S. securities laws.

News Article

Mara Davis: The media mind

Jaclyn Jaeger | May 9, 2017

As the chief of compliance for one of the world’s biggest media companies, Mara Davis has taken a communications-based approach to building a strong Code of Business Conduct, and cultivating an ever-stronger speak-up culture.

News Article

Sean X. McKessy: King of the whistleblowers

Tammy Whitehouse | May 9, 2017

Sean McKessy spent several years at the SEC building its whistleblower protection program, putting in place an incentive program for paying whistleblowers, and creating a new way for the SEC to break cases.

News Article

Richard Bistrong: the great communicator

Bill Coffin | May 2, 2017

Richard Bistrong, CEO of Front-Line Anti-Bribery is one of the compliance world’s most outspoken voices on how companies can build better and more ethical businesses.

News Article

Cindy Fornelli: The auditor’s CCO

Tammy Whitehouse | May 2, 2017

Cindy Fornelli leads the Center for Audit Quality, acting as chief compliance officer and stressing the importance of truly proactive and strategic compliance efforts for audit, rather than a check-the-box mentality.

The Change Agent   The Great Communicator   The Media Mind   The Integration Master   The Risk Detective







Front-Line Anti-Bribery
  SVP, associate general counsel, and CCO

Univision Communications

  Acting Director

SEC Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations


The Crossover Expert   The Auditor’s CCO   The Practical Ethicist   The Game Changer   The Whistleblower King





Chief Compliance Officer

Marsh & McLennan Companies
  Executive Director

Center for Audit Quality
  PhD, Professor of Practice

University of Virginia Darden School of Business
  Group CEO

International Centre for Sport Security

Phillips & Cohen




SVP and Chief Compliance Officer

Fannie Mae
  Head Group Compliance & Security

Syngenta AG
A World Without Graft   The True Believer   The Accidental Expert   Walking the Talk

  Alan K.



Executive Director

U.K. Chapter of Transparency International
  Consulting Partner

ACA Compliance Group
  Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer

  Senior Vice President, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer

CA Technologies


The Risk Manager   Shepherding the Future of Compliance   A Man of Letters   Evolving with the Profession




Group Chief Compliance Officer

  Senior Compliance Officer

SunTrust, Capital One
  Associate Professor of Ethics and Business Law

Advisory Director
  Chief Compliance Officer & Ethics Officer



Rising to the Challenge   A Just and Sustainable World   Compliance and Caduceus   Failure is not an Option

  Alison J.



Deputy Chief Compliance Officer, Interim Chief Compliance Officer


Advisory Services, BSR
  Senior Vice President, Chief Risk, Compliance & Ethics Officer

UPMC Insurance Services & Health Plan
  Chief Compliance Officer