As Chief Compliance Officer at Northwestern Mutual, Sarah led multiple efforts with an enterprise-wide impact. Most recently, she oversaw the implementation of an enterprise-wide processes for assessing and monitoring cybersecurity, privacy, compliance and legal risks. She led multiple executive-level special projects with a focus on distribution strategy. She also chaired the Enterprise Compliance Committee, which included responsibility for monitoring external trends and new regulations, quantifying and mitigating enterprise-wide compliance risk, and reporting to the Audit Committee.
Within the enterprise compliance department, Sarah rallied her team of 170 around a shared goal to “grow the business the right way” and provide real time compliance support for the fast-moving digital transformation of the company. During her tenure, the company routinely received “no findings” results on compliance exams by the SEC, FINRA, OCC and state regulators. At the same time, she and her team implemented new technologies and improved processes across the department. These efforts decreased the overall operating cost of the compliance program three years in a row (-10%, -3%, -7.5%).
Sarah understands the importance of employee engagement in order to deliver on a company’s strategy. She was was frequently tapped as a speaker for company-wide change management messages and her compliance department’s employee engagement scores were consistently at or near the top in company-wide engagement surveys. Sarah also orchestrated and implemented successful succession plans for senior leadership roles.
Previously, Sarah served as senior managing director, general counsel and corporate secretary of B.C. Ziegler & Company, then a publicly traded broker-dealer, mutual fund advisor and investment banking firm. She was a trusted advisor to the company’s board of directors and worked with the board to develop and implement a strategy to transition the company to a closely-held ownership structure. She served on the company’s private equity investment committee and peer-review committee for non-investment grade underwriting engagements, assessing both financial and non-financial aspects of new opportunities. She also played a lead role in start up and ongoing risk management oversight for new lines of business, including a financial advisory engagements practice.
Sarah is a board leadership for several organizations. She joined the Lawrence University Board of Trustees in 2013 and currently serves as a member of the Executive, Compensation and Governance Committees as well as Chair of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. Sarah is also President of the Board of Directors for the Milwaukee Jewish Day School. Sarah is a member of the Audit & Compliance Committee of Advocate Aurora Health. Previously, she was a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Ethics in Financial Services at The American College.
- Lawrence University Board of Trustees 2013 – Present
- Vice-Chair of the Board – 2021-Present
- Executive Committee – 2017-Present
- Compensation Committee – 2019-Present
- Chair, Academic and Student Affairs Committee – 2018-2021
- Audit Committee – 2013-2016
- Trustee Governance Committee – 2013-Present
- Milwaukee Jewish Day School Board of Trustees 2019 – Present
- President – 2020-Present
- Executive Committee – 2019-Present
- Chair, Nominating and Governance Committee – 2019-2020
- Advocate Aurora Health, Audit & Compliance Committee – 2020-Present
- Advisory Board, Center for Ethics in Financial Services at The American College 2016 – 2019
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI 2007 – 2019
- Chief Compliance Officer, Vice President and Executive Officer – 2013 – 2019
- Director, Specialty Life Underwriting – 2011 – 2013
- Director, Strategic Alignment & Consulting – 2010 – 2011
- Assistant General Counsel – 2007 – 2010
B.C. Ziegler and Company, Milwaukee, WI 2003 – 2007
- General Counsel, Senior Managing Director, Corporate Secretary – 2006 – 2007
- Assistant General Counsel – 2003 – 2006
Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon, Chicago, IL 2000-2003
- Associate Attorney
- Duke University School of Law — J.D., cum laude — 2000
- Lawrence University — B.A. Geology and Economics, magna cum laude — 1997
- Wisconsin State Bar Association, 2004 – Present
- FINRA Series 7, 24 and 63, 2003 – Present
- Women in Leadership: Cracking through the glass ceiling (Masterclass) at OPEX Week: Business Transformation World Summit 2020, Orlando, FL (January 23, 2020)
- LIMRA Compliance Exchange (2014) – Main stage interview regarding future of regulatory changes.
- Forbes Women’s Tour: The Power of You (2014) – Moderator of panel including Moira Forbes on finding your path and walking it with confidence. Presented in seven cities across the country.
- Northwestern Mutual Annual Meeting: From Advisor to CEO (2015) – Introductory speaker and moderator of panel of four advisors for all-company meeting (5,000+ attendees).
- Multiple presentations at sales offices on company strategy, compliance’s role in helping grow the business and overall company strategy (2013-2019).
- Multiple internal presentations to company leaders regarding culture, leadership and leading change (all company Directors and VPs) (2014-2019).