Amgen’s new senior vice president and chief compliance officer (CCO) is no stranger to the ethics and compliance industry, especially as it relates to biotechnology companies. Nancy Grygiel is a lawyer by trade who set her career sights on international compliance early on.
Originally from Argentina, she and her husband moved to the U.S. in 1994. And it was in the U.S. that Grygiel quickly gained expertise in the dynamic and ever-changing world of compliance and ethics.
Grygiel shares the journey that led her to Amgen, and explains why she aspires to build the “next generation of compliance officers.”
What inspires you both professionally and personally?
I have a passion for continuous improvement, both personally and professionally, because I truly believe that the second we stop educating ourselves is when we start to limit our growth. For me, continuous improvement includes reading, listening and learning from others. Even more important is applying learnings into practice.
I do this through my passion for serving others. I learn more about myself, and feel a sense of a renewed spirit, when I have an impact on the lives of people around me. I do not take these experiences and opportunities for granted. I want to leave a lasting impression on those whose lives I’ve touched throughout my life.
Why did you pursue a career in compliance?
I wish I could say that I planned out my career perfectly, but I didn’t. What I’ve found is that, often times, we must remain flexible to consider opportunities that might not have been a part of our career maps. These unexpected opportunities help to build on our competencies or strengthen new ones.
Early in my career, when I was working for a generic pharmaceutical company that was rapidly expanding into international markets, my role was to develop the export and trade strategy at a time when changes to U.S. laws reshaped the compliance field. This not only defined the role of compliance officers as we know them today, but it really helped determine my career path.
At its core, compliance is the practical application of law into business processes, and I enjoy the ability to translate regulations and be a go-between for business and legal. The role of CCO goes hand-in-hand with business focuses that I’m passionate about, including training and education, audit, continuous improvement, people development and important behavioral science work that fosters an ethical work environment and safeguards our company’s most valuable asset – our reputation.
What do you like to do when you are not at work?
Before COVID-19, my husband and I would frequently travel to the East Coast to visit my children and grandchildren. They truly keep me on my toes and give me a feeling of youthfulness that I think is important for each of us to retain. Since COVID, I’ve also made it a priority to have daily check-ins with my parents who live in Buenos Aires. I’m thankful for the technology that allows for face-to-face interactions across long distances.
What is your priority as Amgen’s CCO?
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about several shifts and challenges for drug manufacturers, patients, hospitals and healthcare providers. There will continue to be uncertainty about future disruptions and regulatory expectations, but our priority is to maintain compliant business continuity now and post-COVID-19.