Lights, Action, Compliance! Steve Harris Brings a Passion for Performance to Ethics and Compliance

“You may see it clear as day, but if the feedback you are getting is that the audience just isn’t there, then maybe you have to adapt your strategies...”

Steve Harris

In this episode of the Principled podcast, Stephen Harris, senior vice president and chief ethics and compliance officer with Lincoln Financial Group talks with LRN’s Dr. Marsha Ershaghi Hames. Harris shares how his unique performance background, in both theater and music, enriches his work in ethics and compliance. 

The two discuss the importance of partnering with middle management, tailoring messaging to the particular audience, and live role-based training strategies. Harris explains how central communications are to an E&C strategy, and how content must be distributed across various platforms, above and beyond email. 



Headshot of guest, Steve Harris

Steve is an experienced ethics and compliance leader with a reputation for building exceptional ethics and compliance programs. He is known for critical and strategic thinking, creativity, careful listening and practical problem solving, all of which have contributed to his success at building strong partnerships with business leaders and regulators. 

Steve is Senior Vice President, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer at Lincoln Financial Group. Lincoln is a Fortune 250 financial services company founded in 1905. In this role, Steve has ultimate accountability for the effectiveness of the compliance programs covering all of the company’s businesses and functions, which include Life Insurance, Annuities, Retirement Plans, Group Protection and Mutual Funds. Prior to joining Lincoln, Steve worked at The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. for 12 years, including 6 years as Vice President, Corporate Chief Compliance Officer. During Steve’s tenure leading the corporate compliance program, The Hartford was designated as one of the World’s Most Ethical CompaniesTM six times by the Ethisphere Institute. Prior to becoming an ethics and compliance officer, Steve was an employment lawyer for 25 years. 

Steve has been a frequent speaker at national and regional conferences on ethics and compliance, and was featured in an interview in the Wall Street Journal’s Risk & Compliance Journal. He is also the principal author of the legal treatise Connecticut Employment Law (Thomson-West), originally published in 2005 and supplemented annually, as part of the well- known Connecticut Practice Book Series. Steve is a member of the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) and the Ethics & Compliance Initiative (ECI) and is a Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP). In 2017, Steve was elected an Executive Fellow at the Hoffman Center for Business Ethics at Bentley University. 



  • [0:53] What was his career path into ethics and compliance?

  • [3:56] How much does he think listening is teachable or coachable?

  • [7:03] How does he harmonize messaging through the organization, and how did he engage with the middle?

  • [8:56] Harris shares a little bit on his approach to creating and facilitating live E&C training for senior executives?

  • [12:44] How heavily is he involved in the communications and marketing of the programs?

  • [14:56] What is one of the more rewarding aspects of this role?


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