How can you assert yourself and rise to the top? Marianne Ibrahim is the Director of Global Compliance for Baker Hughes, a GE company, and on this episode, she talks about building your executive presence, traveling internationally as a woman, and her advice for the next generation of female compliance professionals.
Why compliance
For Marianne, building a career where one can drive a culture of ethics and integrity is a dream. Compliance has an impact on human rights, and when senior leaders of major corporations truly believe in it, it affects the communities we operate in.
A strong executive presence
To improve your executive presence and command the room with gravitas, communicate with purpose. Believe in what you do and what you’re saying, look your senior management in the eye, and project your voice. Mind your body language, and don’t be hesitant. A lot of it has to do with how you come across in meetings or day-to-day conversations.
Tips for traveling
When traveling to a country for the first time, read about the culture. Learn not just the business etiquette, but the etiquette and expectations of different genders. Then when you show up, mean business. Own your space, know your subject matter, and be confident so that you’re taken seriously regardless of your gender.
If you’re going to the Middle East, don’t pack a button-down shirt! Be true to your own personal style, but be conservative.
Inspiring the next generation of female compliance officers
Invest in your younger talent. Reach out to them because they’re not going to automatically come to you for advice.  Take them out to lunch, ask them how they’re doing, and talk about where they want to go. Many times, they’ll need your advice or direction. Take that initiative, and then constantly check in so it’s not a one-time thing. Not only is it rewarding, but you’re also investing in the future.
Combat the stereotype
Are you assertive… or do they call you bossy instead? To combat this stereotype, Marianne makes sure she’s approachable in everything that she does, and lets her team know she has an open door. They’re all in this together, and improving their culture and their compliance environment is a collectivegoal. The team spirit really counts.
What she wishes she’d known earlier as an investigator
Be yourself. When she was younger, she thought she had to be aggressive and assertive. But it works out much better for her to operate her own way: taking her time to get to know the individual, ask how they’re doing, and witness how they truly open up.
Marianne Ibrahim