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Ellen Hunt remembers being an in-house counsel at a health care company in Illinois about 15 years ago when her organization pleaded guilty to fraud and was required to create the new position of compliance officer.

“So it was, ‘Hey, Ellen, will you do it?’” she recalls, then laughs. “I suspect that’s a pretty typical path for compliance officers.”

Today Hunt is chief ethics and compliance officer, and senior vice president for audit, at AARP in Washington, D.C., where she has worked for nine years. And she is one of a growing number of women who, either by choice or by request, are carving out successful careers in the compliance field.

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