Debra Hennelly

Debra Sabatini Hennelly, J.D., B.S.E.

Senior Strategist – Risk Management, Leadership and Culture

With more than twenty-five years in the development and implementation of ethics and compliance programs for small and mid-market organizations as well as marquee multinational corporations, Debbie Hennelly collaborates with Strategic Impact Partners as Founder and Senior Advisor of Compliance & Ethics Solutions, LLC – a firm she founded in 2004.

By utilizing her legal expertise in combination with an engineering background, she supports organizations and their senior leadership teams with innovative approaches to ethics and compliance risk assessment and management, building competitive resilience and managing leader and brand reputation. Her ability to “right-size” an organization’s strategy is derived, in part, from her proprietary risk assessment and management system which effectively integrates outcomes into an organization’s operations, culture and leadership strategy. She develops and facilitates interactive training programs to ensure employee assimilation, and writes codes of conduct that enable organizations to advance a “speaking up” culture grounded in ethical leadership and decision-making.

Debbie’s experience holding senior in-house roles in public and private companies, as well as her working in two ethics and compliance specialty service providers, has enabled her to acquire an uncommon perspective on both sides of the client/vendor relationship. She spent more than ten years in legal and compliance roles at AT&T, Lucent Technologies, Avaya, BP and Avon Products, with responsibilities ranging from implementing environmental and safety management systems to leading global compliance and ethics programs. She also advised other multinational companies on compliance and ethics program implementation while serving as vice president and general counsel of Integrity Interactive, and as a senior knowledge leader with LRN.

Debbie has served as general counsel and chief compliance officer for two privately-owned chemical companies, Sonneborn and PeroxyChem, during transitional periods for both companies, reporting directly to their CEOs and meeting quarterly with their Boards of Directors.

Earlier in her career, Debbie spent five years practicing environmental law with Bryan Cave in Washington, DC, and Riker Danzig in New Jersey. She was also a civil/environmental engineer and supervised construction for Exxon Company, USA.

A prolific writer and lecturer, Debbie has served as adjunct faculty for BP, periodically facilitating small-group learning in ethical leadership. She is a past Chair of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Environmental Law Committee, past Assistant Chair of ACC-Europe’s Compliance & Ethics Committee, and currently serves as a member of the Alumni Association Advisory Committee at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Debbie earned a B.S.E. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Duke University, and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.


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