Justyna Hamada

Professional experience:

My professional career started unexpectedly and encouraged me to take a gap in my education. Close to completing my internship at the University of Exeter in the UK (faculty of European studies), I was offered a position as a civil servant in one of the British governmental agencies. After a year my contribution has been recognized and I was delivering merit trainings to my colleagues. Within a year, while sipping British milk tea I soaked with the insular work ethic, considered as one of the globally highest. It was time to finalize my education.

I re-entered the market armed with a degree and my British experience in 2007. I joined EY’s most demanding audit department dedicated to providing service to financial institutions. For over two years I have been engaged in projects delivered to the global banks, leasing, and insurance companies. This is where I was first confronted with practical aspects of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). My duties oscillated mainly around audits of financial statements and interim reviews. That was not quite my piece of cake as I believed there must be some rationale for the numbers, some process-based perspective. On top of merit competencies, the EY experience equipped me with a culture of a reliable and effective work approach.

In 2010 I had the pleasure to join a FMCG company and discover it from the internal auditor perspective. It was an amazing learning opportunity to get familiar with sales, procurement, manufacturing, and other back-office processes and to confront business reality with my previous external perspective. I focused on providing audit, compliance, and assurance services within the company. The goal was to foster control environment development and increase process efficiencies. Within a short period of time, I was promoted and became responsible for i.a. my Team and relations with external auditors. My main responsibilities encompassed coordination of SOX activities performed in Poland, conducting internal audit engagements (site visits, risk-based process reviews), performing SAP-based SoD reviews and internal fraud investigation, cooperation with the Company’s Management in the scope of control mechanisms, and providing advisory services. Looking back, I am especially proud of three main areas: managing a cross-functional project regarding the creation of a Central Procedures’ Repository, the introduction of a Code of Business Conduct and Anti-bribery policy, and cooperation with the corporate audit department in the scope of the treasury process. It was difficult to leave the Team and the Company but the challenge I was offered could not have been resisted.

In 2013 I became a part of the Microsoft Team. I was entrusted with the role of Compliance Officer in Poland and became responsible for coordinating local compliance efforts and monitoring complex control environments. My main mission was to support and advise Leadership Team to ensure a transparent course of dealing in the organization. I was also localizing global processes in Poland and recommending changes to internal processes and procedures on the Corporate Level. I delivered multiple compliance trainings across the subsidiary and in Greece. I managed to build and coordinate Compliance Champ’s society consisting of 21 persons. Soon I also became Anti-Corruption Champ within the CEE Compliance Community. After two successful Internal Audit visits which I coordinated from the local perspective, I was offered a new challenge, a Financial Controller position which I accepted in September 2017.

For the following 16 months, I was responsible for P&L management on the subsidiary level, providing necessary corporate reporting, and cooperation with external auditors and tax authorities. At a certain point, life driven by month-closing deadlines started to pinch me and became too tight. My sympathy for compliance could not have been asleep forever. Here I am, completing my third year as a Compliance Manager in the EY Forensic and Integrity Services Team, which I joined in March 2019. Within the last three years, I have had an opportunity to lead multiple projects, which regardless of the market sector have always had a common denominator – compliance. The portfolio of my clients include i.a. the largest IT, media, pharma, and retail companies listed on the Warsaw stock exchange. I have supported them in creating risk management tools, control mechanisms, procedures, and policies based on leading market practice and Polish and international compliance-related legal regulations. I have led project teams focused on testing processes to provide clients with structured and actionable conclusions. I have provided entities with practical roadmaps prioritizing risks and served with advice on limiting control gaps and ensuring smooth business continuity. I have delivered multiple merit trainings to our clients. Apart from the client-facing projects I was responsible for the development of the complex third parties verification methodology aiming at the mitigation of risks related to entering contracts with vendors and contributed to the popularization of tools dedicated to internal processes and procedures management.

I have also served as a subject matter expert for EU Whistleblowers Directive and whistleblowing process management in general. In the meantime, I published articles about whistleblowing in Kwartalnik Parkiet, Rzeczpospolita, and C.H. Beck and delivered lectures to post-graduate students at the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH). We might have met at one of the EY events or Warsaw Stock Exchange webcasts where I elaborated on compliance-related challenges and their potential responses.