IWD 2018: interview with Cheryl Nguyen

Author Theresa Pang 彭爱真
March 13, 2018

Taylor Root is proud to be supporting International Women’s Day 2018. We have interviewed a selection of our female clients asking them how they are pressing forward for women’s gender parity.

Taylor Root interviewed Cheryl Nguyen, Global Head – Trade Practice Compliance, Louis Dreyfus Commodities.

What is the best and worst decision you’ve ever made?
Best – Choosing to leave the audit profession in pursuit of building and implementing something, which sparked off my career in Compliance, initially with American Express and now with Louis Dreyfus Company. The career growth and exposure has been very rewarding and continues to invigorate me. Worst – Holding on to a 1976 Alfa Romeo Spider for sentimental reasons…

How is being a Compliance professional at your current company different from that of your previous employers?
The spread of operations of the company I currently work for extends from agricultural product origination, operating processing / warehousing assets, transportation, and final delivery and payments globally. The issues we face are relatively more tangible compared to my previous experience in the FIs, and with the wider scope of touch points and time sensitivity – there’s never a dull moment!

What are some of the recent major trends in the Compliance space? In what ways have these changes affected your role and your team?
There is no shortage of creativity in the various ways companies are navigating the global landscape, and the cost of non-compliance is significant not only for the U.S. but for foreign governments recovering portions of the fines as well. This is driving the awareness and extending the risk and angles of enforcement quite significantly. Ensuring that our compliance programs are keeping pace and leveraging the use of technology tools / algorithms to work smarter and faster in identifying outliers is a general area of focus.

What are some of the challenges you face when hiring for your team?
I once had an applicant who said, “It should be easy, Compliance just needs to say No…”
It’s easy to assume Compliance is simply policing, and easier still to fall into that mind-set on how we should operate. However like most support functions, we need to be considerate of the business and have the ability to nurture open and honest relationships with the broader organisation. On the job experience is the only way to refine ourselves, and having an open perspective and willingness to build rapport / engage at the table is a vital consideration in seeking out suitable candidates.

What woman inspires you and why?
A little clichéd but I’d have to say – my Mother. She constantly challenges us to stay relevant, apply ourselves and to embrace exposure – be it in the form of travel, knowledge-share and interactions. Even in her retirement years, she is leading by example, keeping busy with charitable causes close to her heart, exploring the world and different cultures through her travels… Essentially, showing us through actions that continual learning is indeed a lifelong journey and it is with gratitude that we should embrace all opportunities to learn and share.

If not a Compliance expert, what would you be?
A travel and food writer….

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