Day in the Life: Fermeen Fazal

Fermeen Fazal

Fermeen Fazal

Vice President, Chief Counsel, and Director of Compliance

UniversalPegasus International

Houston, Texas

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5:45 am

Wake up to my iPhone alarm playing American Authors’ “Best Day of My Life.” Brush teeth, put in my contacts, and then snuggle for a moment with my third grade daughter as she wakes up.

6:15 am

Pack lunches while reviewing my daughter’s spelling words. I sign my sixth grade son’s math test and then give him a pep talk for an upcoming debate tournament. Remind my husband about the afternoon pickup schedule, and then conduct a routine Outlook calendar check.

6:45 am

Leave for work. I alternate between listening to the “90s on 9” and NPR XM radio channels. Pull into garage, grateful for my short commute in an otherwise sprawling Houston.

7:00 am

Login to my work computer. I immediately read the daily Skimm and Lexology emails waiting for me. Saudi Arabia is cracking down on corruption and the Aramco public offering is on track. Make a note to include the story in my next quarterly Compliance Council meeting.

7:30 am

Because of the time difference, the first thing I do is reply to emails from the UK office. They are considering responding to a bid tender, so I ask my paralegal to run a denied party screening and due diligence search on the proposed client. I redline the terms and conditions in the proposed contract.

8:30 am

Attend a business development and operations joint meeting to understand opportunities being chased. We are seeking new survey work from a client with whom we have an existing engineering services agreement. Make a note to check the warranty, indemnity, and limitation of liability provisions in the contract, and, if acceptable for this scope, suggest using the contract already in place.

9:15 am

Leave the meeting early to give code of ethics and business conduct training at our new hire orientation. Stress the importance of confidentiality and the availability of the OpenLine, our whistleblower system. I explain that acting with integrity is part of our corporate culture.

10:00 am

Attend a senior management team meeting, which means engaging in a roundtable discussion with heads of IT, HR, business development, operations, and finance. I provide training on insider trading to the group.

11:00 am

Proofread company newsletter articles on cybersecurity and retaliation. Then I check language in two new work orders and a confidentiality agreement. Approve work orders for signature, send back redlines on the confidentiality agreement.

11:30 am

Lunch with engineering colleagues at the Project Management Forum. I give a 15-minute talk on the difference between direct damages and consequential damages.

1:00 pm

Schedule a call with the supply chain contact for an important client to discuss renewal of engineering services agreement scheduled to expire. I summarize key revisions in new agreement for the president.

1:30 pm

Call with compliance director at our parent company to discuss approval of new third-party representative. Discuss how audit rights and the compensation scheme mitigate the risk of working in a red flag country.

2:15 pm

Draft an update for a weekly report. While prepping for call with HR to advise on course of action related to background check waiver, an engineer stops by and I answer his question about the effect of a change order.

3:30 pm

Review applications for three suppliers seeking to be added to Procurement’s approved vendor list and confirm they will follow our supplier code of conduct. Follow up with a call with IT to ensure compliance with export control rules when we ship a computer to the Trinidad office.

4:00 pm

Blocked time to quietly work on tasks. Draft contract amendment, review certificate of insurance from subcontractor. Redline a right of way access agreement. Approve outside counsel invoice, make notes for tomorrow’s contract negotiation.

5:30 pm

Head home; call my husband to make dinner plans. Easy! He’s picking up pizza tonight.

6:30 pm

Family time. We each take turns sharing the best, worst, and funniest parts of our day. Negotiations for a post-dinner piece of candy begin in earnest, and tickles and teasing ensue.

8:30 pm

Bedtime for the kids, then I check work emails and talk to my husband as he loads dishes. I straighten up clutter.

9:30 pm

Review an agreement to determine when title transfer takes place for procured goods with the TV on in the background. Tonight it’s a rerun of The Big Bang Theory.

10:30 pm

Shower and bedtime!