With operations in more than 150 countries, Entrust Datacard is a truly global company. But with that reach comes a responsibility to maintain ethical business practices while delivering the trusted identity and secure transaction solutions that the technology organization has built its reputation on.
For senior vice president and general counsel Lisa Tibbits, this means working across the organization and its partners to ensure compliance with ethical business practices. Since the company operates in many different countries and cultures, a big part of Tibbits’s role is to educate and train colleagues and partners around the world so that they understand the regulations, recognize red flags, and mitigate risk. She also encourages open discussions about real-world situations to help navigate what she says can often be “gray areas.”
“Corruption schemes are becoming more sophisticated and difficult to detect,” Tibbits says. “Companies have to be more diligent than ever. Maintaining a best-in-class compliance program is essential.” Tibbits adds that recent schemes have come to light to illustrate that “corruption comes in many forms, not just money in an envelope.”
Tibbits believes it is important that Entrust Datacard’s commitment to ethical business practices be modeled at the top. She personally designs and maintains the company’s global compliance policies and training programs. Each year, Tibbits personally travels to different regions of the world to train colleagues and partners. Her hope is that the in-person training and continuous focus on compliance will reinforce the commitment to ethical business practices, further educate colleagues and partners, and increase awareness and transparency.
“We have the structure, we have the training,” Tibbits says. “But when you put it on the ground, you have to make sure that your partners and your internal colleagues know what to be looking for.”
Internally, if a colleague has a compliance concern, the company encourages reporting to the legal department or management. Tibbits says there is also a third-party global hotline that colleagues can use if they are not comfortable reporting something directly, giving them the ability to report it anonymously.
Entrust Datacard also maintains close relationships with their international partners, according to Tibbits. “The landscape is changing, but very slowly,” she says. “Doing business internationally with foreign competition that is not always subject to the same level of scrutiny remains a challenge.”
Tibbits explains that Entrust Datacard is a world leader in its products and technology, but if companies want their products, they must follow ethical business practices. If not, she says, then Entrust Datacard will walk away from the deal. As Tibbits likes to remind her colleagues and partners, “No deal is worth losing your reputation. Or going to jail.”
By Alexandra Talty