The Titanic, a GPS, and a Compliance Panda: Three Takeaways from the Compliance Week Women in Compliance Conference

One of the best things about going to conferences is the little tidbits make the event delightful, change your perspective, or give you great ideas. That effect was in full force at the Women in Compliance Conference in Atlanta last month. Here are three fun takeaways featuring the unlikely trio of the Titanic, a GPS, and a Compliance Panda.
A sinking ocean liner plus a GPS plus a panda equals compliance?

The Titanic

One speaker described the difference between ethics, compliance and legal in the clearest way I’ve ever heard. She told us that despite what everyone thinks, the Titanic was in compliance with the law. It had exactly the minimum number of lifeboats on board required by statute. However, there were most definitely not enough seats on those boats for everyone onboard.

Legally, White Star Line was compliant with the law. But it’s hard to argue that they made an ethical decision in their lifeboat investment. That failure of corporate ethics led to death and infamy.  

Using real life experiences that are widely known is a great way to help people understand amorphous concepts like corporate ethics.


Another speaker used an acronym that I’ve never heard previously. She said that you should follow your GPS to get where you want to go.

G” stands for goals

P” stands for plans

S” stands for strategy.

Without a GPS, it’s difficult to get where you’re going. When you have goals, a plan, and a strategy, you can get where you want to be. Without them, it’s awfully difficult.

I’d heard of “SMART” goals before, (specific, measurable, achievable, measurable, and time-bound), but I strongly prefer the GPS method.

A Compliance Panda

The final session of the conference featured a small group discussion where we could talk through any issue on our minds. Conversation turned to ways to engage people throughout the world. The chairperson of the conference told a story about how, in her last CECO job, the local compliance officer in China wanted to develop a mascot for the compliance program in-country.

The compliance officer created a panda character and everyone loved it. The character was made into plush toys that sat on people’s desks. It appeared in training and became beloved. Not only did the whole thing sound adorable, but it reminded us that we should trust our folks on the ground. They know their culture and what will resonate.

The story also reinforced that we should take risks and allow others to take risks. Would the Compliance Panda work everywhere at the company? Probably not. But it worked in China, and that was a big win.

Llama stickers. The llamas are wearing sunglasses and a scarf saying compliance is no prob-llama

Compliance Llamas

When Spark Compliance exhibits at conferences, we often give out plush llama dolls as prizes when people win the Compliance Competitor training game. They have a little a scarf that says, “Compliance is no prob-llama.”

Conferences like the Women in Compliance Conference give my spirits a lift and remind me that when we’re in this together, compliance is no prob-llama. It’s sometimes hard, but together, we can solve all of our challenges.

Thanks to Compliance Week and all of the fabulous participants in Atlanta. I’ll joyfully take the Titanic, a GPS, and the Compliance Panda with me. 

See you next year!

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Kristy Grant-Hart

Kristy Grant-Hart is the founder and CEO of Spark Compliance.
She's a renowned expert at transforming compliance departments into in-demand business assets.