Campaigns

#BreakTheBias

This year the ACi in collaboration with the International Anti Corruption Academy (IACA) proudly support the #BreakTheBias campaign, to mark International Women’s Day on the 8th March 2022.

Read about our campaign and special panel discussion here.

Our panel features women leaders in corporate investigations coming together to examine gender bias in our profession, discussing successes and challenges in their careers and the role we can all play in breaking biases. To join the discussion and read about the panel members, visit our event page.

We asked our community to share their experiences and thoughts on women working in corporate investigations. To share your views, please submit your quote via our form – it can be anonymous.

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Quotes from our Investigations Community

Saguna Sodhi, Partner, EY Forensic & Integrity Services in India. 
Fostering a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion continues to be an indispensable need in organizations worldwide. As women continue to solve complex challenges within the world of corporate investigations, we should reflect on the sheer strength in the diversity of their individual experiences. Women investigators have brought forth a unique perspective, acumen, and tenacity in managing investigation processes and have proved their mettle, especially in white-collar crimes. The way ahead, too, is replete with exciting opportunities for women investigators. While we continue to witness tremendous efforts to enhance diversity within this space, there is still a long way to go. 

Rupinder Malik, senior partner, JSA 
While traditionally white-collar crime investigations has been a field dominated by men, as the industry progresses in thought and improves in diversity, I have gradually seen more women take on leadership roles in this area of law. We need to continue to push in this direction and encourage an environment for young and aspiring women lawyers to achieve their full potential in the field. Rupinder Malik, Partner, JSA 

Anonymous 
When you are a woman investigator who travels a lot…you are asked questions men don’t have to hear. Will my kids recognise me? Will my husband stay faithful? Am I tough enough?  For your information, we women are very tough- but we need to hear less of these questions and more of your answers to eliminate gender inequality.  

Monde Magolo, Senior Ethics Officer and Advisor, ACi 
It’s OK to be Different! 

Basha Galvin, COO, ACi 
My childhood consisted of a very female-dominated family, all who went on to have fantastic careers in their own right.  My career started in the Metropolitan police service and for the last 20 years, I have advanced my career in several corporates. I reported sexual and racial discrimination in the workplace, I recognise things are improving – slowly.  Women’s contribution in investigations workspace is invaluable, women may have greater intuition, balance and empathy in comparison to their male investigations colleagues. Whilst we now have a diverse culture in organisations, why are there still so few women represented in the Heads of Investigations space? 

Steve Young, CEO, ACi 
The ACi are privileged to have women driving the association in the majority of the key management roles and are exceptional role models for women seeking a career in corporate investigations, they are totally awesome. 

Vanessa Nigro, ACi Advisor
There are gender biases that are common to all professions, but they’re stronger in investigations. Bias is used as a way of discrediting us and undermining the truths we are uncovering (usually about them). As a woman, if am direct, objective and assertive in my observations, I will be called “hormonal or B…”. When I try to use communication traits expected of women, I am too soft for the role. When I simply shut up and get my pile of work done, I am labelled uncooperative and can’t work in a team. We need to talk about the super important traits and assets that women bring to our profession. It’s also time men stood up for women.  

Ebru Tiberi, Regional Management Committee ACi  
Working as a woman, in my younger years, I would remove my nail polish and tie up my hair to fit in with men. At the time, there was a presumption that women would do the ground work, the detailed document review and men would take the lead, conduct interviews, run the show. I will never forget the moment when I broke the bias…I said to myself…I can do this. I just needed to believe in myself. I can conduct this six hour interview with a very senior man in the organisation. Just before we walked into the room, my boss asked “are you ready?” I said, “no, give me one second please.” I prepared my files and put my high heels on. I went and did this interview. Now, I don’t feel the need to remove my nail polish anymore. I made it, being true to myself. My hope is that we all educate our boys to respect women in the workplace and that the future generation of women are recognised sooner in their careers. 

Katie Hodson, CAO, ACi  
Work hard, be good at what you do, learn from your mistakes and seize the opportunities as they come along. 

Esther-Gail Fraser, Digital Content Creator, ACi  
Let us #BreaktheBias. Conscientious, committed, empathetic, and creative. Women have repeatedly shown the tremendous value they add to any environment. Whether as leaders, managers, team members, creatives or caretakers, women are advocates for innovation and holistic development. I’m grateful for the Int’l Women’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate the contributions and progress of women, however it is imperative that we remain focused as we continue to create equitable and sustainable opportunities for both sexes. Let us also not forget to actively include men and boys in this conversation, as they will help to create lasting change. I’m looking forward to the future. Onward and upward!

Ellie Burden, Marketing Assistant, ACi  
Gender inequality is a men’s issue too. More often than not, we see that women’s experiences are not taken seriously, preventing other women from speaking out. We need men to listen and support women and call out unfair or inappropriate behaviour, even if it seems like banter between peers. Let’s share the weight of the movement and fight for equal treatment and opportunities together.

Mary Eastwood Jones, Executive Director, ACi  
As a woman in corporate investigations, I have experienced and witnessed all manner of bias. I have seen women having to work harder and longer to prove themselves, being underestimated, stereotyped and talked over, and keeping quiet about childcare/fertility/family/personal safety or wellbeing matters for fear of missing opportunities. In my case, I fought biases with relentless hard work and the support of mentors and colleagues, as well as ‘the village’ who made it possible for me to do the job I love. Investigators of all genders: we must make more noise about gender inequality! I have high expectations of the corporate investigations profession – we need to set the bar for keeping biases in check.

Chandni Sinha, Fraud Specialist  
From leading entrepreneur to going to space, women have come a long way to break the stereotypes and claim their own space globally. Let’s move towards the world where gender equality is not even a thing – a talent-driven world.

Shashi Bala, Librarian 
‘Women is Human’.

Joyce Nkini-Iwisi, Principal, Control Risks, ACi Africa and EMEA Investigations Advisor
As we celebrate women’s day, we should aim to break the conscious and more importantly the unconscious bias. A great start to prioritising consideration and empathy in our day-to-day interactions- professional and otherwise. Empathy in language, empathy in culture, consideration of social cultural norms and empathy in our leaders – young and old.

Hariett Witchell, CEO MyKludo
I have had some pretty great jobs doing things that ‘the boys’ don’t want to do. From a young age dealing with serious sexual offences and child protection.  As a corporate investigator I specialise in bullying and sexual harassment – the more complex the better – many of my male counterparts don’t want this work and prefer fraud and paper trails which are not my thing at all.  At times being the only female has been a great asset. One of my most memorable interviews came to me because I was told to wait in the car whilst ‘the boys’ boarded a boat to seize drugs and arrest the dealers. It was one of the Australian largest cocaine imports at the time.  I was told to babysit the boats captain whilst the others continued to search the boat. In the minutes that passed, I built rapport and heard the story from my detainee. He later rolled on his co offenders in return for a lighter sentence. We secured five convictions, all over 25 years from that arrest and interview. In my view ‘the boys’ missed the best bit!

Kate Marston, Mast People Support Director, ACi HR Investigations Advisor
I’ve never followed the notion that women need to compete against each other – this is so often the narrative you hear – there is room for all of us to succeed. The view that “I had to jump through these hoops so should you” is wrong – let’s help each other as we go!

Pratisha Ramtale, Manager, Forensic Risk Alliance
It is great to see more women in positions of leadership in a previously male-dominated industry. Organisations are making a considerable effort to counter conscious and unconscious bias but, there is still more work to be done. When I started working in the city six years ago, I was told by an acquaintance that if women are to be taken seriously in the workplace and by clients, they should wear formal dresses, heels, tie their hair up and wear sophisticated but subtle make-up. Today, I am grateful that my skills and experience speak louder than how I dress. I am also grateful for all the role models who have been breaking the bias over decades and inspiring the younger generation of female investigators.

Lloydette Bai-Marrow, CEO & Founding Partner, Parametric Global Consulting
Be unafraid of owning your space! Be bold in your brilliance and remember that your voice and humanity matters. We are often juggling so many balls and and it’s important to remember that self-care matters and should be prioritised. Excellence in investigations and self-care are compatible!

Jo Coles, Fraud Manager, Vodafone
Being female in investigations is empowering. But there have definitely been times when I’ve been underestimated. Instead of letting this get you down, use it to your advantage! Focus on doing great work, your worth will show on its own, and the impact will be even greater when it’s not expected of you! Remember, you’re in a privileged position and, regardless of what is thrown at you, as long as you keep your integrity you’ll do great things.

Phill Dunn, Global Anti-Corruption and Investigations Specialist, Norwegian Refugee Council
When you have a good gender balance as an investigations team, you benefit from different, valuable perspectives- and you inevitably get better outcomes.

Kelly Paxton, Pink Collar Crime, Fraud Investigations Expert
You never truly know what is going on in a person’s life. Be kind.

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