Explore resources and connect with others at expert-led events. Watkins had no sense that Lay realized the significance of Enron masking massive losses. Sherron Watkins exposed corporate misconduct in the infamous Enron scandal paving the way for the enactment of the SOX corporate reform law. Your actions mattered, and the feeling was that “we are all in this together.” Watkins has always carried that philosophy from her small town with her. A town where she was surrounded by adults who believed their actions mattered. Lay felt that he was paying Arthur Anderson millions to protect the company and not hear the alarm. A town where she was surrounded by adults who believed their actions mattered. Math was a strong suit for Watkins as a youngster. Customers trust Workiva’s open, intelligent and intuitive platform to connect data, documents and teams. Internationally recognized speaker on the topics of ethics, corporate governance, organizational behavior, and … Sherron Watkins, an officer of the company, discovered the fraud and first went to her boss and mentor, founder and chairperson Ken Lay, to report the suspected accounting and financial irregularities. Whistleblower of the Week columns will take an in-depth look at the experiences of those who blew the whistle and the realities of what it means to be a whistleblower. Enron Whistleblower Sherron Watkins to Lead Ethics Discussion at the SOX & Internal Controls Group 2020 Summit, In her interview with SOX & Internal Controls Executive Advisor and. As was typical during that time, there was a fair amount of prejudice against women, but back then, it was just accepted as typical of the workplace. The group fosters networking, promotes thought leadership and creates opportunities for members to share best practices with like-minded professionals to help them increase their value and influence across their organizations. Peavler will also highlight some of the more than 30,000 whistleblower complaints his office has received that he believes are evidence of an effective, deterrent program. A whistle-blower, literally speaking, is someone who spots a criminal robbing a bank and blows a whistle, alerting the police. Congress found Watkins’ memos in February 2002, with congressional investigations occurring and then Department of Justice investigations happening. CEO Ken Lay had left a voice mail on the phones of all Enron employees asking they come into the office regardless. In the meantime, visit the resources below. She is 42 years old and lives in Houston with her husband Richard. from a lecture by Sherron Watkins Sherron Watkins exposed corporate misconduct in the infamous Enron scandal paving the way for the enactment of the SOX corporate reform law. Sherron Watkins Leadership and ethics advocate, known as the Enron whistleblower. A whistleblower will be labeled as someone who has a loyalty to truth above all else, and a whistleblower will take risks to let the truth be known, and that concerns people. Winning by Jack Welch with Suzy Welch China: The Race to Market by Jonathan Story Ethics After Enron: How Can We Teach Ethical Courage in Business and Public Life? I have chosen to write my responses to chapter nine question 96, which was assigned, that exposes Sherron Watkins’s experiences that posed issues of business ethics during her employment at Enron. She started at Arthur Anderson in Houston as an intern in 1981 and was hired as an auditor in 1982. Winning by Jack Welch with Suzy Welch China: The Race to Market by Jonathan Story Ethics After Enron: How Can We Teach Ethical Courage in Business and Public Life? The SOX & Internal Controls Professionals Group today announces Sherron Watkins, the former Enron vice president who exposed the company’s corporate misconduct and paved the way for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), will lead a discussion on ethics and finding your voice at the group’s annual summit, to be held virtually on Sept. 29, 2020, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. According to Sherron Watkins, Enrons unspoken message was, ZMake the numbers, make the numbers, make the numbers—if you steal, if you cheat, just dont get caught. ET. A special woman in the long arc of justice, who brought justice into an unjust world, who brought truth into a world of lies. The purpose was to buy Enron’s poorly performing stocks and stakes and to improve Enron’s financial statements. Watkins sold about $47,000 worth of Enron … “We will explore issues surrounding the legality and morality of Enron’s actions and share best practices for SOX and internal controls professionals as they navigate the most demanding challenges their industries face today.”. She has learned that it is almost impossible for people to admit that they have done wrong. She was given no real responsibilities at her job and found that Enron hired a company to investigate the fraud that had a conflict of interest. The term whistleblower brought up descriptions like “rat, snitch, and fink.“ Not descriptors one would want to be attached to their name. Watkins was an internal whistleblower who wrote a memo to Enron's CEO, Ken Lay, warning of accounting fraud at the firm. She was shocked that hard evidence did not matter that people were just ignoring it. The only thing that bothers Watkins is that twenty years later, she still has enemies. Copyright © 2020, Whistleblower Network News. She came through this crisis and has since used her experience to encourage others to walk in integrity. Sherron Watkins, one of the world's best known whistleblowers, takes a wry view of corporate morality. If you got called in by your mentor or supervisor, and you would be embarrassed by something you did, don’t do it. It will address the actions of Enron executives during the period leading up to the collapse and discuss the role of Sherron Watkins in uncovering the scandal. It was these events that were leading factors to her Time Magazine “Persons of the Year” 2002 nomination. When Watkins returned from her vacation in August of 2001, she found her phone had “blown up.” Retaliation came quickly, corporate officers wanted her computer, and she was moved from the 49th floor of Enron to the sixteenth floor, which housed HR. Sherron Watkins keynote speaker at Beyond Rubies conference in Cedar Rapids. Arthur Anderson failed spectacularly in its duties, preventing a conflict of interest with Enron. The SOX & Internal Controls Professional Group is a community of professionals who work with Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) compliance, internal controls and internal audit processes, which include documenting, evaluating and testing internal controls. But Watkins does not want to be remembered solely for her whistleblowing activities, being the ”Enron whistleblower.’ Her 2nd act was as a corporate whistleblower on the speaking tour, and Watkins hopes for a 3rd act in life that will put some spiritual truth into the world. Sherron Watkins is the Enron vice president who wrote a letter to chairman Kenneth Lay in the summer of 2001 warning him that the company’s methods of accounting were improper. In Tomball, when something needed to be done, the townspeople took action and did it. CHICAGO - Sept. 17, 2020 --The SOX & Internal Controls Professionals Group today announces Sherron Watkins, the former Enron vice president who exposed the company’s corporate misconduct and paved the way for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), will lead a discussion on ethics and finding your voice at the group’s annual summit, to be held virtually on Sept. 29, 2020, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Sherron Watkins displayed a low concern for her self-interests and a high concern for the interests of others by jeopardizing her job as the Vice President of Corporate Development in order to protect the interests of the lower-level employees at Enron. If you don’t want it on the front page of the media, don’t do it. ET. Watkins feels the term of whistleblower is a “loaded’ term. Years later, Turner would win a historic decision for all FBI whistleblowers, when the court held that Ms. Turner set forth sufficient facts to justify a trial by a jury. who wrote a famous memo to Ken Lay warning him about the scandalous chickens coming home to roost, and she was recently called to testify against her former boss, who is now being tried for his role in the epic corporate mess that unraveled in 2002. Watkins took a risk with her faith and felt that “God had her back.” Watkins mentioned the parable of the wealthy master from the Bible, who went on a trip and gave his servants talents. Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity of hearing Sherron Watkins speak at a special lecture she presented on Leadership Ethics that was sponsored by the … Peavler will also highlight some of the more than 30,000 whistleblower complaints his office has received that he believes are evidence of an effective, deterrent program. Therefore, when we influence, we have an effect on others, meaning we need to pay attention to our values. The Newspaper/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. She was viewed as a hero and as the standard for ethics. Workiva is a national sponsor of the SOX & Internal Controls Professional Group. Sometimes employees, including managers, face an ethical dilemma that they seek to address from within rather than becoming a whistleblower. ... Fastow appeared before the Board of Directors and received an exemption from Enron’s code of ethics … But from a spiritual perspective, it has been a life changing event. Sherron Watkins. She grew up in a Houston suburb called Tomball, the daughter of two secondary school teachers, and graduated from the University of Texas. When Watkins blew the whistle, she felt naive and optimistic, expecting the evidence would be enough, and Enron would do the right thing. She graduated from the University of Texas in Business Administration and later earned a Master’s in Professional Accounting. ET. The results: improved efficiency, greater transparency and less risk. Learn more at, Build Trust in the Age of Financial Transformation, How to Close the Books Virtually When Working from Home, SOX & Internal Controls Professionals Group. Whistleblower Network News is an independent online newspaper providing our readers with up-to-date information on whistleblowing. Sherron Watkins, Enron's sentinel, describes the debacle's details and warns that it could happen again. As Watkins unraveled it, she realized she was in a unique position, as Arthur Anderson was also involved, and she had career experience in both companies. Sign up for daily whistleblower email and social notifications from the, Power Failure, the Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron, Russian Whistleblower Prompts Revaluation Of Siberian Oil Spill, Opinion: German Whistleblowers Help Make Millions for the US; Germany Goes Away Empty-Handed, Whistleblower Network News Hosts FOIA Webinar, House of Representatives Passes Bill Establishing Protections for Antitrust Whistleblowers, Malaysian Company Executive Criminally Charged with Whistleblower Retaliation, Opinion: The memo that brought down Enron, Candidate’s Position on Increased Whistleblower Protections Influences 44% of Likely Voters. Dec. 3, 2001. ET. Enron might have survived if Lay had not dismissed Watkins as one lone voice. She felt that the executives wanted her to go in and see what Lay would do. CHICAGO - Sept. 17, 2020 -- The SOX & Internal Controls Professionals Group today announces Sherron Watkins, the former Enron vice president who exposed the company’s corporate misconduct and paved the way for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), will lead a discussion on ethics and finding your voice at the group’s annual summit, to be held virtually on Sept. 29, 2020, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. SOX & Internal Controls Professionals Group 2020 Summit Attendees will: Registration is open now. She was a sorority girl. She walks with contentment, less anxiety, and worry. She felt like she was telling the captain to head down to the hull and check the damage and have everyone man the lifeboats. Lay wanted Arthur Anderson to signal everything was alright, and they were not sinking. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Turner also successfully challenged her retaliation in federal court and obtained the largest compensatory damage award permitted under the law for federal employees. After it was mentioned, Enron filed for a massive bankruptcy claim. (2016). She was acting under the code of ethics that says that committing accounting fraud is not ethical business behavior. "I don't think Enron is that unusual," she … She was the Enron V.P. Watkins’ book, Power Failure, the Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron, is available on Amazon. If you do, beg for a second chance, and youll get one. He just wanted to be assured that the ship was unsinkable. She decided to write an anonymous memo, and stayed up a few nights, trying to decide what to put on paper in summing up the problems facing Enron. Enron was the cat’s meow up until 2001. Leadership is not a process that can be demonstrated without showing our values. Start studying UNIT 6: ETHICS The corporate conscience Sherron Watkins, Enron whistleblower. During this time, Enron’s auditor firm, Arthur Anderson, had been given over 50 million dollars by Enron, 25 million in audit fees, and 27 million in consulting fees. On the other hand, other people said, “How dare you call yourself a whistleblower when you did not go outside your company.” The whistleblower label was very toxic because when you try to stop something wrong, it turns out your “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” When you are in the news for being courageous, people say you are such a media hog, and you did it because you wanted attention. This chapter will explore professional ethics by analyzing the actions of Sherron Watkins during the Enron Scandal. Cases in Corporate Ethics 2.3: Sherron Watkins, Vice president and CPA at Enron, found a massive accounting discrepancy at Enron in the year 2001. Sherron Watkins Known internationally as the Enron whistleblower, Sherron speaks around the globe to a broad range of audiences about ethics and leadership, and the lessons to be learned from the collapse of Enron, where she served in a variety of executive positions for 8 over years. Sherron Watkins believes that God put her whistleblowing days on her path, and she. Sherron Watkins had the good moral character to stand up and blow the whistle on unethical executives. She got time to stay home with her daughter, and she knows she is one of those very few whistleblowers with a good story. Even to this day, Watkins has enemies who try to marginalize and diminish her whistleblowing. Workiva Inc. (NYSE: WK) simplifies complex work for thousands of organizations worldwide. “We are very excited to welcome Ms. Watkins to our 2020 Summit,” said Camille Kearns Rudy, National Director of the SOX & Internal Controls Professionals Group. 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