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Keep your momentum during the compliance marathon

Donna Schneider ( is Vice President, Corporate Compliance and Internal Audit, Lifespan.

As I thought about engaging the compliance, privacy, and internal audit team both between and within the department and the workforce, I drew similarities to the first marathon I ran in 2003. I am an avid runner; however, I had decided to attempt the local 26.2-mile race with no research or advanced training. Mostly because I was managing a household of a husband, three children under ten years old, and two pets while working full time. The point being, I was woefully unprepared. I see the similarity to engaging the workforce and my team during the COVID-19 pandemic. In both cases, I had no research or training on how to handle the situation.

Initially, I was concentrated on keeping my team positive and focused as they were working 100% remote from March to July. That said, when the pandemic hit the Northeast in March of last year, only two of my ten team members had a laptop to work remotely. The staff used their own equipment to “dial into” their desktops, which worked for a few months. This reminded me of the starting line of my first marathon. Much like when I arrived at the starting line of the 2003 marathon, I realized I did not have the equipment to compete. I did one long run of 19 miles on a treadmill; however, I never ran close to the 26.2-mile distance. My fellow marathon runners all had water bottles strapped to their belts and small snacks to eat as they ran. I had none of that. Despite the lack of preparedness in both situations, I soldiered on.

In July, the outlook was brighter. I engaged my compliance and privacy team to come back into the office in a hybrid format in shifts, with the compliance and internal audit team being in two days opposite of the compliance and privacy professionals. At that point, I secured the laptops, docking stations, headphones, and helpful software they would need to do their work effectively. Additionally, we secured education for our team members on how to use any new hardware and software, so all the staff became comfortable with their new tools.

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