Career development for women in compliance

Career By Emily Larson April 9, 2018

By: Jacqueline Molnar, Chief Compliance Officer

Western Union’s Women@WU program has a mandate “to create an action plan to promote women’s success at WU, through recruiting, mentoring, promoting, and measuring progress, while fostering a culture of greater inclusiveness.”

That’s how our President and CEO Hikmet Ersek described our change program in his recent comments on International Women’s Day.

One of the steps that we’re taking is the Women@WU Women in Leadership Intern program, created last fall to open up more opportunities for career development and entry into leadership roles. We’re already beginning to see the program open doors to careers in the competitive field of financial intelligence.

At Western Union, our Compliance function makes up more than 20 percent of our employee population. I’m thrilled to see women bringing the education, skills and leadership capabilities needed to excel in these roles. To support our internship program, we are very fortunate to be able to team up with universities in WU’s hometown of Denver, as well as military placement organizations.

Through the internship process, we now have two full-time colleagues in the Fraud Risk Management and Financial Intelligence Units respectively. Kia John, who received her M.A. in International Studies from the University of Denver, is a Fraud Analyst on the Consumer Protection team. Kia says she’s “excited that this role will allow me to use and continue to develop my understanding of international affairs and cultures, as well as analytic and problem-solving skills.”

She added that her “values align with many values of the company: commitment to compliance, diversity, and community are principles that I’m proud to support and personally represent.” 

Sarah Fenn truly stood out when she was interviewed for an internship. She was hired directly to the Financial Intelligence Unit to conduct investigations on Authorized Delegates, consumers, products, financial institutions, and Western Union Business Solutions clients to identify and mitigate potential risks related to money laundering and terrorist financing. Through the evaluation of history, including regulatory reporting, transactional analysis and due diligence, the investigators in the FIU help to protect Western Union from potential risk.

Sarah, who earned an M.A. in International Security at University of Denver, says her role gives her “an opportunity to use my education and work on a great team, while also using my analytical mind to solve the puzzles that investigations provide. I’m also excited to work at a company that serves people worldwide and to learn from the diverse experiences of the people here.”

A large part of the implementation and execution of our intern program was spearheaded by a number of our male leaders. This He for She element, in which we stand together to empower women in the company, makes me especially proud of this great function that I lead. Diversity and inclusion remains a priority at WU and the company is fully committed to cultivating a diverse workforce that consistently creates opportunities for women to enter leadership roles. Bravo to all involved!