Championing Ethics Even When Out of Sight

By Eleanor Hunt

Magdalena Gonzalez-Galvan never anticipated her career would lead into the ethics office for multinational oil and gas company BP. But with a solid education starting at Baylor and strong work principles, it was a natural transition for her.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in International Business and Entrepreneurship from Baylor in 2008, she was hired by Lockheed Martin. In this role, she advised NASA on how to comply with government regulations for exporting equipment to launch sites abroad. The equipment was ultimately destined for the International Space Station. Simultaneously, she worked toward her MBA in global business management at the University of Houston.

In 2013, Gonzalez-Galvan joined BP’s International Trade Regulations team within the Ethics and Compliance (E&C) function to assist BP units with navigating complex export controls, trade sanctions and anti-boycott regulations.

Currently, she is the liaison to BP’s ethics monitor and government agreements analyst. In this position, Gonzalez-Galvan fosters a positive working relationship between BP and its government-appointed ethics monitor, who is overseeing BP’s ethics and compliance progress following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident. She ensures the ethics monitor stays informed about BP’s E&C program through site visits, meetings with select employees and reviewing processes and documents.

“At BP, we are committed to doing the right thing. In Ethics & Compliance we collaborate with our businesses to integrate our values and continually work to advance BP’s ethical culture by developing, promoting and continually improving the E&C program,” Gonzalez-Galvan says.

‘Nothing puts us at risk more than failure to do what is right’

She believes adherence to internal policies and external regulations is the foundation for ethics at work. Additionally, ethics transcend written requirements and reflect what one should do, even when no one is watching.

“Ethics rest with the individual, which is why it is so important for corporations to set a clear culture and to indoctrinate employees into the company culture and code of conduct. A strong, ethical culture gives employees the courage to speak up when something doesn’t seem right. Nothing is more important to BP than making sure we do what is right, and nothing puts us at risk more than failure to do so,” she says.

The challenge for ethics champions like Gonzalez-Galvan is to ensure ethical standards are represented across all parts of the business. This can be especially challenging in a large corporation spanning numerous countries and impacting tens of thousands employees.

Reflecting on ethics in her Baylor courses, Gonzalez-Galvan recalls the topic being integrated into lectures, projects and reading assignments. She believes this is the optimal approach to teach ethics in the workplace, because personal and corporate ethics influence how one approaches daily decisions.

“You carry your ethics in all you do. It drives your actions and is truly fundamental to any work environment. I would encourage Baylor alumni and future graduates to seek out ethics and compliance roles because they are great learning experiences and help develop strong leadership capabilities,” she concludes.

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Baylor Business Review, Spring 2018

One Comment

  1. Lee Martin Otim wrote:

    Ethics should be complete when it serves God’s will and no human is affected or hurt ( according to God) by our actions.

    In our different upbringings in our homes, communities or countries,there are various ethical values imparted to us. For example in our home the following actions would be unethical and you would be punished: Smoking, drinking alcoholic, owning anything you have not acquired through hardwork,disrepect of elders, not praying before eating.

    When I moved out of our home I discovered that to some people drinking and smoking is fun, to get things from others(especially gaining resources through bribes from people) is sharpeness. Many people work in government offices in many countries may be earnig meagre funds but they own magnifient cars, houses, factories and their parents, communities adhores them.

    The most discouraging scenario is when such unethical acts finds itself in the house of God!I have attended two Fenerals this year where these people died because some group of so called men of God convinced the relatives of these patients to pay them money so that they can heal them.There are churches that solicit contributions from both rich and poor people for a project without project proposal in the name of God and they end up Buying very expensive items to benefit them and their cronies.

    I personally think that unethical behaviours find itself in the churches, companies or homes because some stewards of the word of God are complacent in the way unethical matters are dealt with.They fear the church will loose such a rich church funders or the messages delivered are not cleared so that some members and simply bediled and never understand what the will of God is or who God is exactly.

    It is my prayers that, we work together to deliver complete and clear message about the will of God and ethical behavoiurs that brings Glory to God to our congregation to encourage clear ethical messages to our congregation so that they practice such behaviours at their homes, work places and as well continously impart ethichical behaviours to the future generations.

    Be blessed

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