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Meet our people: Chantal Gewers
19 June 2019
Chantal is our Senior Ethics and Compliance Manager
What made you choose OUP as a place to work?
I didn’t choose OUP—OUP chose me! I was living in Johannesburg at the time, and was contacted about a position in OUP’s Compliance team. Although it meant relocating with my five-year-old son, I was drawn to the OUP brand and the association with Oxford. After all, we have all grown up with the Oxford Dictionary!
Before OUP, I worked in banking, investigating terrorist financing and preventing money laundering, so moving into publishing was a whole new world and experience.
Tell us about your current role
Last year, after four years in our South African office, I relocated to the UK for my current role—Senior Ethics and Compliance Manager. I now head up Compliance in the UK part of our Oxford Education division, and manage a team of two.
Compliance—and ensuring we operate ethically at all times—is a big part of how we achieve our mission. I see myself as the extra layer of protection; the fence around the playground telling you not to play in the street. But I also try and take a practical approach to compliance. I want to make it simpler and more user friendly, rather than it being seen as an unnecessary evil. It’s a challenge, but I love it.
A few people have told me that I was brave to move from Cape Town to Oxford. I would never use that word to describe myself, so I feel humble when people say that. I’m really honoured to be here, and to be part of this organization.
What opportunities have you had while working here?
I’ve been able to work on some brilliant projects, such as helping the South Africa office become the first to digitise its due diligence processes. I’ve also attended some brilliant training courses, which have enabled me to become a certified Ethics Officer and a trained Forensic Auditor specializing in financial crime. I don’t see my learning ending there though. I’d like to learn more about fighting piracy, as I see it as an insult to the talented people who create our products.
What do you like most about working for OUP?
If you are willing to learn, you’ll find someone who is willing to teach you, no matter what part of the business you’re in. No one is ever too busy to help you.
I also really value our ongoing commitment to helping people. I feel proud to walk into a bookshop and see our products, because our products make a difference to people’s lives. And last year, we turned a shipping container into a library to support a primary school in Cape Town, which was an amazing project to be part of.
Finally, I love our commitment to being ethical. A lot of organizations aren’t as rigorous in their compliance activities, and OUP is certainly leading the way here.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about applying for a role with OUP?
Don’t worry if you don’t have all of the necessary skills, or a background in publishing. We have a learning culture at OUP. People here are willing to help, and we can teach you.
Is there anything that has surprised you about working at OUP?
I’m always surprised about how passionate everyone is to be here. I haven’t experienced this same level of passion in any other organization. There’s a real passion for the brand too, that you see not just among our staff, but also among our customers.