An Interview with Mary Shirley

Podcast superstar. Big time compliance author. Fierce leader. All these things and more define my friend Mary Shirley. Mary is the Head of Culture of Integrity and Compliance Education at Fresenius Medical. She’s also the co-host of the wildly popular podcast Great Women in Compliance and co-author of the recently-published book Sending the Elevator Back Down. I caught up with Mary to talk about her international career, what she’s learned from her podcasting and authoring experiences, and what she sees in the future of compliance.

You’ve had a fascinating international career. Can you tell me about it?

If you’d told me 15 years ago that I wouldn’t be living in Wellington, New Zealand, I’d probably have been shocked and appalled! I was born in Hong Kong and grew up in New Zealand. In 2010 I made an impromptu decision to move to Singapore, where I got a job in Tata Communications’ global compliance program.

After Singapore I moved to Dubai to be the Head of Compliance for Aggregko. It was my first time in the Middle East and I loved soaking up the new way of life. Next I was drawn back to Asia, this time Hong Kong to work in Compliance consultancy as a Senior Advisor for the Red Flag Group.

While at the Red Flag Group I met my Compliance mentor and sponsor, Mark Stanley, who had an exciting new role heading up the Asia Pacific Compliance function at Fresenius Medical Care. I was motivated by his passion and vision, so I joined his team, serving the company in Hong Kong, Singapore (yep, that’s round two for those counting) and finally Boston, USA which is where I’m currently based. It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I’ve been making the most of visiting new cities in the US and Caribbean for the past three years!

Definitely not! That’s incredible. Where is your favorite place you’ve lived?

I consider Singapore to be my second home. It is where I was embraced with open arms by the expat and community and my local colleagues, grew into myself as an adult and reached potential I didn’t know was in me. It is very safe and free from natural disasters. When you grow up on the pacific rim of fire that is kind of a big deal.

I love Singapore. There’s nothing like getting a Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel, the place where the drink was born. Switching gears, you’ve got a wildly popular podcast called Great Women in Compliance. Tell us how that came to be…