FIU Business Now Magazine
Taking a Stand for Ethics and Equity

Taking a Stand for Ethics and Equity

By Ellen Forman

Lemar White (BAcc '06) forged his career in corporate compliance back at a time when following those rules was a hard sell. His success brought him to Google, where he now serves as ethics and compliance manager in its anti-bribery division. And his drive to champion community and equity – passions he developed at FIU – has led him to open new opportunities for colleagues and minority students seeking careers in high tech.

White grew up in Barbados and moved to the United States at 17 to attend FIU. After his first job at an accounting firm, in 2004, White moved to Tyco in Princeton, New Jersey as a senior internal auditor. As the firm became embroiled in a massive bribery and ethics scandal, White's role morphed into the emerging field of third party due diligence.

Under the newly-established system, in order to engage with vendors, White said, "you had to go to a central compliance team. It slowed business and folks weren't happy about it." He found himself deeply involved in what he calls "the convincing piece – that we need to have a program, not just because it's a requirement of the law, but because it's in the best interest of the company, and it's the right thing to do things ethically."

In 2014, White moved to Google, leading its anti-bribery and due diligence operations. His team vets potential partners, making sure they follow Google's ethical practices. The compliance function at Google encompasses over 170 people.

Google encourages its employees to get involved in areas outside their core function. For White, that's building Google's racial diversity. "There aren't a lot of Black folks in leadership roles, but in tech, there aren't a lot of Black folks, period, in leadership or anything else," he said.

He plays an active role in the Black Googlers, which builds community among employees and brings issues they face to senior leadership. He has also helped expand the company's diversity recruiting efforts, coming to FIU and other schools to help minority students build complex workplace success skills that are not taught in the classroom.

White is also passionate about education as both student and teacher. In addition to his FIU bachelor's degree, he holds an MBA and master of science degrees in accounting, management information systems and human resource management, as well as a doctorate of education in organizational leadership. As part of his drive to give back to his alma mater, White serves on the FIU Alumni Association board of directors and returns frequently to mentor and teach FIU students.