Follow ACC Docket Online:  

2019 Top 10 30-Something: Fernanda Beraldi

Top Ten 30 Somethings

Fernanda Beraldi never imagined herself in Indiana or as a lawyer. Born in São Paulo, she initially studied medicine, but when she couldn’t bear the thought of losing a patient, she turned to law, lured by being involved in the “blueprint of making things.”

Beraldi has always been attracted to large industrial projects — her first in-house job was with Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer (now Boeing Brasil) — because she loves the sense of accomplishment she feels when the complex machines leave the factory. Beraldi knew she needed to broaden her job prospects outside of her native country and applied for various LLM programs in the United States.

With her characteristic candor, Beraldi says her decision to move to Indiana was motivated by the full ride she received to Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney LLM program. She also realized that a Brazilian woman would be an oddity among the cornfields. “I wanted to bring my own diverse experience and background to a space where I knew it would be an asset,” she explains. “I banked on it and double banked on it.”

Beraldi’s long shot paid off. Cummins, an industrial engine manufacturer with more than 62,000 employees serving customers in more than 190 countries and territories, was one of the companies that offered her a position in its ethics and compliance function — a field in which she had had prior exposure, but was not her main background.

In her four years at Cummins, Fernanda has led several efforts to improve the company’s ethics and compliance program. In her current role as senior director, she and her global team have been implementing regional ethics and compliance programs across the globe for the company’s employees and operations, as well as for the company’s 60 joint ventures, 600 distributor locations, and approximately 7,600 dealers.

One of her main initiatives is the education of regional business counterparts on acceptable practices and how one can, unknowingly, potentially violate anti-bribery laws by offering business courtesies in certain countries. Fernanda was also a driving force behind the company’s implementation of a human rights policy to meet a growing number of supply-chain transparency regulations and ensure compliance with the Cummins Supplier Code of Conduct.

Trade restrictions also apply to the company. To make sure third-party sellers in high-risk regions understand that they cannot sell a Cummins product in a sanctioned country, for example, Beraldi supported the creation of a training system that is separate from Cummins’ employee training — it is specifically tailored to third parties and what they see day-to-day.

Beraldi is realistic that violations may occur despite the team’s commitment to ethics and compliance. But Beraldi insists that Cummins’ overall commitment to integrity is very strong. “At Cummins, integrity in doing business and in everything we do is taken very seriously. We have history of that: For example, in 1981, in a stand against apartheid, Cummins turned down a solicitation to build a potentially profitable diesel engine plant in South Africa when the government said the company would not be allowed to have a fully integrated workforce,” she points out.

In addition to her ethics and compliance position, Beraldi has a desire to drive meaningful change. With her Indianapolis-based ethics and compliance cohorts, this led her to co-found Business Ethics Indiana. The initiative, based at Marian University in Indianapolis, now has members from more than 30 companies. Her ethics and compliance peers, who came from all different fields, realized they had a single thing in common: “We had never taken a single ethics and compliance course during our college or graduate classes.”

A local businessman was so taken with the idea that he bankrolled Marian University with a gift of approximately US$9 million dollars to create the Frank Walker Center of Applied Ethics. The center’s vision is to steer more people into the ethics and compliance space and create a compliance certificate or degree, among other initiatives.

It may not even be five years after she moved to Indiana, but Beraldi has already had a major influence on the community — and Cummins’ operations around the world.

More 2019 Top 10 30-Somethings

Brian Buckham

Thomas Cluderay

Lewis Dolezal

April A. Goff

Sadeq M. Kahn

William K. Piotrowski

Melissa Reiter

Alana C. St. Aude

Erin K. Stewart

About the Author

Joshua H. shields is the managing editor of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

The information in any resource collected in this virtual library should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on specific facts and should not be considered representative of the views of its authors, its sponsors, and/or ACC. These resources are not intended as a definitive statement on the subject addressed. Rather, they are intended to serve as a tool providing practical advice and references for the busy in-house practitioner and other readers.