The finalists for WashingtonExec’s Chief Officer Awards were announced March 25, and we’ll be highlighting some of them until the event takes place live, in-person May 11 at the The Ritz-Carlton in McLean, Virginia.
Next is CEO (Public) finalist Steve Rubley, CEO of Thomson Reuters Special Services and president of government at Thomson Reuters. Here, he talks key recent achievements, career turning points, career advice and more.
What key achievements did you have in 2021/2022?
The Thomson Reuters Government business is guided by its mission, which is to provide trusted information that helps customers make critical decisions which keep organizations, communities and people safe and thriving.
This mission became all the more important since the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’d like to highlight our achievements in helping our government customers maintain their provision of public services so they could ensure that their constituents were able to get the support they need.
For example, the pandemic dramatically accelerated the need for our government legal customers to navigate a more digital way of working in the form of virtual courts and digital evidence management systems where we are uniquely equipped to help. We worked with multiple courts and legal stakeholders across the U.S. to roll out a variety of tools to expedite their digital transformation, helping them to eliminate backlogs and bringing in changes which will far outlive the pandemic, including facilitating access to justice.
This is supported by a recent Thomson Reuters Institute survey of over 200 judges and courts professionals which found that 42% felt that access to justice has increased with the use of virtual hearings, due to convenience, more participation and better access.
What are you most proud of having been a part of in your current organization?
At Thomson Reuters, we understand and recognize the unprecedented challenges governments are facing at the federal, state and local levels. I’m incredibly proud of the way that our solutions — Thomson Reuters products, partnerships and people — help agencies prevent and investigate fraud, enable more effective and efficient governance and support law enforcement agencies in maintaining safer communities.
For example, through our risk and fraud solutions, we help government customers investigate and prevent fraud, waste and abuse in public programs, saving billions of dollars. At the moment, we’re working at federal level and with over 25 state employment departments, to support the greater use of technology in preventing and detecting unemployment fraud.
This includes leveraging our tools to quickly analyze backlogs and identify low risk claims so legitimate claims can be paid more quickly. Ultimately, this helps ensure public funds go to those in need and not into the pockets of criminals. To date, we have helped over 25 states prevent tens of billions of fraud by bad actors.
Another example is the work our analysts and data scientists do in partnership with law enforcement to support their efforts to investigate and tackle human trafficking. This includes working as part of Operation Reclaim led by Californian law enforcement to tackle trafficking associated with the Super Bowl. It led to 182 arrests for solicitation and 30 arrests for suspected trafficking and exploitation, as well as the rescue of 65 adult victims and seven victims who were minors. Each trafficker may have hundreds of victims and each arrest could lead to many other traffickers down the road as law enforcement continues to carry out their investigations within each of their networks.
These are just two examples of what makes me so proud to be part of Thomson Reuters.
What has made you successful in your current role?
Thomson Reuters is a purpose-driven organization and our role is to serve our customers, pursuing justice, truth and transparency. When I think about what makes me successful in my current role, it comes down to the strength of my team and their tireless commitment to delivering on this purpose. We need leaders and colleagues who are committed to our customers’ missions and authentically driven by the positive impact we and our customers make in local and global society.
This focus provides the foundation of my success as we work together to grow our business and solve complex challenges for our customers.
What was a turning point or inflection point in your career?
What started as an interest in serving government customers and supporting the work they do gradually became one of the key drivers in shaping my career. Starting in sales, I had to balance short-term sales targets as a key part of my role.
Then the Sept. 11 terrorist attack happened, and it was a turning point for me in my career. It meant I started working day and night with several government customers in charge of investigating both who was responsible and other potential threats as a result. This gave me a much deeper appreciation of both the constraints the U.S. government faces as well as the importance of public/private partnerships to better protect our communities.
Today, at Thomson Reuters, this also includes working with other private sector companies in order to bring the best overall solutions to help our government customers in new innovative ways. This has guided my thinking to this day.
What’s your best career advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
I think the best advice I can give is to ensure you have a deep commitment to the work you do helping the government deliver their commitments to citizens and legislators. Be authentic in how you assemble your team both in who the leaders are and what you expect of them. Keep the focus on winning customer trust and call people out if they deviate from this north star.
We all have short-term and longer-term financial goals in the private sector. But if leaders have employees who have built this needed trust with customers and are vocal internally in how a company needs to invest in order to stay current with delivering on customer challenges, the financial results speak for themselves, particularly over a six to 12 month view.
Finally, ongoing communication with teams and employees, beyond emails, is incredibly important to retain key employees.