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The business-ethics authority

Julianna Fox, EMBA 14
November 6, 2023
By Ursula Leonowicz, BA 97

A woman with long, brown curly hair is wearing a black v-neck shirt and is standing in an office with two windows behind her.

At one of the world’s foremost engineering and professional-services firms, Julianna Fox plays a crucial role in maintaining the highest possible business-ethics standards for some 68,000 employees worldwide.

Appointed chief ethics and compliance officer at WSP Global in 2018 and general counsel of global legal operations in 2021, Fox holds both civil- and common-law degrees, and is a member of the Quebec and New York State bars. She previously worked at Fasken, a major Montreal law firm, and at Air Canada.

Fox is now WSP’s guiding voice of strategic advice on matters relating to business ethics, and also manages a team of professionals managing ethics and compliance, privacy, and legal operations.

Career satisfaction

“It’s extremely rewarding to know that what I do has a direct impact on the work of employees at a large organization like WSP, both through long-term strategic planning and helping solve daily dilemmas.

“By far, my biggest achievement is to have built this team of very solid ethics and compliance professionals across the globe at WSP. They are phenomenal people who believe in the mandate and want to see the company succeed while protecting its reputation.” 

Leading through change

“One of our biggest challenges was to flip the narrative in terms of how the ethics and compliance team serves an organization. We needed employees to understand that we weren’t there to do audits, find gaps in procedures or reprimand them when they did something wrong. Instead, we serve more of a strategic function as business advisors and partners. 

WSP is now recognized globally as having a strong compliance program and that is, in part, because my team is so close to the business and operations.”

The Concordia factor

“The Executive MBA was eye-opening for me, and it was a critical moment in that it made me want to pivot out of a purely legal role into one that was more business, operations and culture related. It also made me want to be part of a leadership team and to drive growth with a group of people that I can count on and move forward with.” 

Passion project

“Supporting the cystic fibrosis community and the access it has to key medications is a cause that’s near and dear to my heart, which is why I volunteer as a government relations advisory panel member at Cystic Fibrosis Canada”.

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