Sandra Girona recently joined CREATe.org and serves as the new vice president of business development. In this role, Girona will focus on fostering relationships with companies, industry associations and other nonprofit organizations interested in learning how to measure and improve the effectiveness of their IP and/or anti-corruption compliance programs by implementing our two programs: CREATe Leading Practices for IP Protection; and CREATe Leading Practices for Anti-Corruption.
Prior to joining CREATe.org, Girona worked with SITA, a global company headquartered in Switzerland that provides IT solutions for the aviation industry. Her various roles at SITA over the course of 18 years provided her with hands-on experience with the commercial challenges of intellectual property protection and compliance with anti-corruption laws. She earned her business administration degree at Pace University with an emphasis on marketing.
Q/Tell us a little about your experience working with a global company in the area of intellectual property protection.
Sandra: SITA specializes in Information Technology for the air transport community, airlines, airports, governments, air cargo, aerospace and NGO’s. A significant percentage of our assets were IP and it is what differentiated us from our competition. In a global organization, with global customers, there can be a different understanding of what IP is and its value and the importance of protecting it. I had to educate my sales team as to how to best protect our IP in sales and contracts. Once everyone was on board with a clear understanding, we were able to move forward and protect what we had developed.
Q/Based on your experience, what elements do you think are needed to build a robust culture of compliance?
Sandra: Regardless of size or industry, I think every company has to start with education. You can’t protect, and prevent what you don’t understand. This is particularly true with IP. We need to educate employees enterprise wide on what is IP , why it’s critical to protect it, and the value it brings to our company. Second and equally important is senior support across business functions. When we think in terms of IP and anti-corruption, we usually think that the “legal department is handling that” when in fact the legal aspects are just one, although important, part of the equation. Companies have to practice what they preach. If you have polices in these areas, but never take the time to review them, update them or measure their effectiveness for continual improvement, they become pointless.
Q/In regard to CREATe.org’s approach, what most appeals to you?
Sandra: I think it is the way that CREATe takes a very complex business challenge – a cross-functional issue – and is able to streamline it into a manageable step-by-step approach. The solution provided by CREATe is collaborative, practical and equally important, cost effective, so that companies large and small can use CREATe Leading Practices internally, with their supply chain or both! I love that it is a proactive approach focused on prevention rather than reaction, which really differentiates it from other solutions in the marketplace. It’s a compelling proposition foroth companies and their supply chain partners.
# # #