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Kate Taylor, Chief Compliance Officer, Pinterest

Kate Taylor, Chief Compliance Officer, Pinterest

January 23, 2020

Tell us how you got into the compliance field and what do you love about the work?  Over my career as a lawyer, I've advised on a lot of different legal areas, from litigation to commercial deals to antitrust to employment law to payments regulation. In many ways, compliance has allowed me to take the law a step further, moving from advising to actually implementing. For example, while working in Africa, I advised on what various anti-corruption laws required; now, as Chief Compliance Officer, I get to create policies and controls that bring those requirements to life in our business.

One of my favorite parts of the job is thinking strategically about how communications impact culture and change management. How will this new policy be received by our employees? What's the right tone and approach to build trust and confidence? How does this help to build a culture of integrity and acting ethically?

What do you feel are the most interesting developments in the compliance sector for the technology industry as a whole? For your specific business/industry?  Enforcement agencies have been pretty transparent about their renewed focus on third-party risk. That's important for start-ups, which are incredibly reliant on third parties to build their businesses. Small tech companies are hustling on keeping the lights on, so it can be hard to take the time to develop infrastructure for third-party risk management. It will be interesting to see how companies develop creative, risk-based, right-sized ways of managing third-party risk and meeting regulatory expectations.

What are some of the most difficult parts of building compliance teams in an extremely complex regulatory environment?  Compliance is like a well-informed guessing game. In a complex regulatory environment, you will have lots of balls in the air, and any one of them could fall at any time. The trick is deciding on which balls to focus your attention and resources, and to have a back-up plan for the times when a different ball falls unexpectedly.

What advice would you give someone who's interested in a career in compliance?  Find something in Compliance that interests you and then go deep. Compliance roles tend to be very specialized these days, so you'll want to be an expert in your chosen area. That said, you should always keep your eyes open for the chance to learn new things, too. The most rewarding career moves I've made were unexpected lateral opportunities that took me in a different direction.  

Ask for feedback all of the time, from everybody. It's truly the only way to get better. Look for opportunities to hone your business judgment -- being able to balance compliance risk with business needs helps you earn the trust of your stakeholders, protect the company, and make you a valuable member of any compliance team!