How can companies continue to drive excellence in ethics and compliance in today’s dynamic, global environment? Through collaboration, ethical leadership and a commitment to building and sustaining the right culture.

This was one of the key takeaways during an industry roundtable in May when Ethisphere and The Boeing Company partnered to host nearly two dozen general counsels, C-suite executives, board members and global leaders in the ethics and compliance field in Boeing’s Chicago office in the United States.

Participants from AT&TBooz Allen HamiltonDellGoogleIBMPfizer and more had the opportunity to share best practices and hear from Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg. The experts engaged in discussions about building a strong company culture, innovation, and the need for leaders to model company values on a daily basis.

Boeing has been a founding member of the BELA South Asia Chapter since its inception in 2017. As one of the world’s biggest aerospace and defense companies, Boeing continues to play a leadership role in inspiring best practices in ethics, integrity and anticorruption across India.

In the following Q&A, Ethisphere Executive Vice President and Chair of the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance Erica Salmon Byrne had the chance to catch up with Boeing Senior Vice President of the Office of Internal Governance & Administration Diana Sands about building engagement and working together to advance standards of ethical business practice across the globe.

The excerpts below are from a 2019 Global Ethics Summit video interview. The comments have been modified for clarity; the full video can be found on Ethisphere’s YouTube channel.

ESB: One of the things I wanted to try to capture in this interview is some of your thoughts on the importance of collaboration. You’ve been a tremendous supporter of BELA for a number of years now. How would you characterize the way that you’ve used BELA?

DS: The BELA community has been a great forum for collaboration and networking. You’re bringing together a great array of companies across many industries to share, and to learn, so that we can all advance our programs together. We don’t want to compete in the ethics and compliance area.

ESB: One of our favorite sayings is, “There’s no competition in compliance!” Now, if I was a brand new BELA member, what advice would you have for me in terms of how to tackle the engagement question? How do I really use it?

DS: In one word, I would say, “engage,” for sure. And you all make it pretty easy, whether it’s in large forums like the Global Ethics Summit or in more intimate forums via round table discussions with compliance leaders that we bring together to discuss some of our tougher challenges and how we’re tackling them. And I think just looping in and getting involved with the many different forums that BELA offers is a fantastic way to do it.

EB: One of the things that I really appreciate about what Boeing has done is the way that you’ve engaged different functions across your business. Can you speak a little bit about how have you pulled all those different functions into the (ethics and compliance) conversation?

DS: Sure. When we think about our roles, they are quite vast. We’re certainly trying to advance culture, and we have a lot of conversations about that overall—but in various compliance areas, there’s a lot of hot topics that we have to address. For example, with the increasing regulations and oversight required of companies in the supply chain over recent years, that’s been an area I know many of us have been trying to understand and be more effective in. It’s important to bring in the actual folks who are working those areas in our companies to engage with you, and with other companies. That has really beneficial for us because it gets to the heart of the work.

Diana Sands is senior vice president of the Office of Internal Governance and Administration for The Boeing Company and a member of the company’s executive council.  She is responsible for the advancement and effective implementation of Boeing’s internal governance policies and plans. Sands also chairs the company’s Enterprise Services council which is responsible for driving cross-functional alignment of all internal services and providing optimized service delivery globally.

As the company’s chief ethics & compliance officer, Sands leads Boeing’s ethics, compliance, corporate audit and trade controls activities. In this governance role, Sands reports to the chairman and chief executive officer and to the audit committee of the board of directors. She also oversees administration for the company, including leadership of the Enterprise Services council and direct oversight for Security & Fire Protection, Global Real Estate, Global Spectrum Management and Information Services.


About the Author

Diana Sands is senior vice president of the Office of Internal Governance and Administration for The Boeing Company and a member of the company’s executive council. She is responsible for the advancement and effective implementation of Boeing’s internal governance policies and plans. Sands also chairs the company’s Enterprise Services council, which is responsible for driving cross-functional alignment of all internal services and providing optimized service delivery globally. As the company’s chief ethics & compliance officer, Sands leads Boeing’s ethics, compliance, corporate audit and trade controls activities.