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In the Field

Doing the Right Thing

Compliance counsel on the fast track.

Photograph by Mena Hall
Pocket Resumé
Andrea Clavijo ’16: Senior Compliance Counsel and Deputy Human Rights Leader, GE. Making a Run for It: She completed the Boston Marathon in 2018. “Running along the Charles River is my happy place.” Table This: She loves tapping into her Venezuelan roots when crafting cocktails and assembling charcuterie boards. 

When it comes to Andrea Clavijo ’16, it’s hard to imagine a more meteoric rise in a company that lights up the world. From the moment she joined GE as a Heineman Compliance Fellow in 2016 to her March 2021 promotion to senior compliance counsel and deputy human rights leader, Clavijo has been working at breakneck speed to help the multinational conglomerate do the right thing. 

“My fellowship was designed as a one-year experience to get my feet wet in day-to-day compliance operations,” explains Clavijo. “By week three, I was traveling to Par- is and working on investigations. GE supported and empowered me from day one, so I promised myself that I would give it my all that year in the hopes of securing a full-time job.” 

Clavijo achieved that goal and more. She received the job offer during a time when GE was experiencing a number of senior-level transitions and historic changes to its business portfolio. “The changes meant that I inherited and absorbed more seasoned work,” recalls Clavijo. “I was determined about proving my worth and value during a period of transformation.” 

At the top of Clavijo’s priority list was the company’s code of conduct and compliance policies. Heavy on legalese and overly wordy, they needed a serious overhaul. With an undergraduate degree in journalism, Clavijo felt strongly that words matter and that the company needed to make it as easy as possible for employees to make ethical choices. She became the driving force behind the latest version of “The Spirit & the Letter,” GE’s global code of conduct, which both requires and inspires employees to act ethically at all times. 

“We have key policy summaries and resources for all types of learners, and we use the simplest language possible,” says Clavijo. “We have found that people want to do the right thing, but it needs to be easy for them to understand how to comply.” 

The policies apply not only to employees but also to GE’s partners, suppliers, and subcon- tractors. Wearing her hat as the company’s No. 2 human rights leader, Clavijo is part of a team that provides daily advice on how to implement human rights norms. 

“We have made operationalizing human rights a top priority,” says Clavijo. “We operate in 170 countries. Each of those locations carries different human rights risks. We are involved in a lot of construction work, building power stations, wind farms, and life-saving healthcare equipment. We want to make sure that workers down the supply chain are safe, supported, and paid adequately.” 

Clavijo also puts doing the right thing at the top of her personal agenda. For the past five years, she has volunteered as a legal mentor for Discovering Justice, a Boston-based nonprofit that provides civic education programs for youth in the Commonwealth. Clavijo teaches middle schoolers how to prepare for mock trials, which are held at the Moakley US Courthouse in Boston. She’s also involved in the Hispanic National Bar Association, the BC Law GOLD Committee, and the Boston Bar Association Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Steering Committee. “I just turned thirty and bought my first home,” says Clavijo. “I know the best is yet to come.”