Keri Halperin, an assistant general counsel at international technology and digital transformation consulting firm CapGemini, focuses her work on the company’s heartbeat: its people. Having acquired more than eighteen years of experience in employment litigation, Halperin has established herself as a leader in the field.
Increasingly, as is the case with many in-house employment lawyers, Halperin serves as her company’s ultimate check, confirming that it’s complying with all regulatory laws and upholding a high standard of ethics. And her work is making an impact.
CapGemini’s ethics and compliance program is the company’s guiding force; it informs decision-making, ensures proper checks and balances, and verifies adherence to internal and external regulations. This program has allowed the company to be among the most trusted and well respected in the world. Indeed, the Ethisphere Institute recognized it as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies seven years in a row.
Employment law presents “an opportunity to be better than the floor,” Halperin says. CapGemini employs 20,000 people in North America, and in the United States specifically, Halperin serves as CapGemini’s moral compass—its ethics manager. As a high-level executive with so many employees under her ethics purview, Halperin is challenged with a host of competing priorities. Nevertheless, Halperin thrives amid such challenges because the ethics component of her work is aspirational in nature: there are always higher standards to meet and new goals to reach.
According to CapGemini’s website, the company’s seven core values— honesty, boldness, trust, freedom, fun, modesty, and team spirit—set the company apart from its competition. Together, these values serve as the foundation of CapGemini’s internal operations and external partnerships. CapGemini’s website holds that the values are “not only rules of behavior but also guiding principles” that shape the ethical culture and produce “a shared mind-set that keeps ethics at the heart of our decisions and actions.” Halperin strives to uphold these values in her work.
CapGemini also has a robust corporate social responsibility program called Architects of Positive Futures, which is dedicated to the pillars of diversity, digital inclusion, and environmental sustainability. The multifaceted program consists of various partnerships across the globe, impacting many of the countries in which CapGemini operates.
In the last fiscal year, CapGemini, founded in 1967, generated nearly $15 billion. It currently employs more than 200,000 people in 40 different countries, and the company’s international nature has led Halperin to abandon a purely American-centric mind-set. Halperin acknowledges that the American perspective toward business operations is only one perspective and standard business practices vary by country. This has afforded Halperin an opportunity to expand her business repertoire and given her an understanding of various cultural nuances that she applies to her work in ethics.
Halperin was featured in the Chicago Tribune in 2017 as part of its Shout Out series, a weekly feature in which readers are introduced to community members residing in the Chicago suburbs. Halperin told the Tribune that, growing up, she wanted to be an actor, but pivoted to the law after realizing that she “didn’t want to be a waitress for the rest of my life.”
Aside from baby-sitting gigs, Halperin’s first real job was working for Cook County Clerk David Orr right out of college, which eventually led her to apply for law school and attend the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. After bouncing around to a few different law firms, Halperin eventually landed at Accenture, where she spent six years as a senior counsel in employment law, followed by two years as their director of employment litigation. Halperin then spent four years as the head of employment for Wipro Limited before starting her career at CapGemini.
According to the Tribune, Halperin has a host of pet peeves, including slow drivers in passing lanes and dog owners who think there are “poop fairies” who clean up after their dogs. But above all, Halperin can’t stand lying and dishonesty—a good pet peeve for someone who has built a career in ethics.