Debra Sabatini Hennelly

Founder and President, Resiliti

Debra Sabatini Hennelly helps executives and boards create cultures of integrity and inclusion, which are essential to organizational resilience and the resilience of their people. She uses stakeholder-focused frameworks for managing compliance, ethical and ESG risks and opportunities and helps integrate them into operations and culture. She also coaches ethics and compliance professionals, helping them lead effectively and develop strategies for personal resilience. 

For more than 25 years, Professor Hennelly has been creating innovative approaches to managing compliance and fostering ethical leadership—from boardrooms to break rooms—with organizations ranging from small entities to some of the largest multinationals. Her expertise is rooted in her multi-disciplinary training, cultivated through the insights and lessons learned from her decades of in-house leadership and consulting roles. Her passions for learning, teaching and “connecting the dots” fuel her ability to inspire authenticity, engagement and accountability. 

Professor Hennelly founded Resiliti in 2004 (originally, as Compliance & Ethics Solutions), to provide consulting services and experiential learning, with a focus on values-based codes of conduct and holistic risk management. With her talented colleagues and comprehensive suite of services, they help bring to life organizational values and a culture that supports the ideas, perspectives, courage and dignity of each individual in a team and across an organization. 

Professor Hennelly has served as adjunct faculty for BP, facilitating small-group workshops in ethical leadership, as well as leading interactive learning for other organizations with their employees, managers, senior executives and board directors. 

Professor Hennelly has also served as general counsel and chief compliance officer for two chemical companies, Sonneborn and PeroxyChem, reporting to their CEOs and meeting quarterly with their Boards of Directors. Earlier in her career, Professor Hennelly spent more than ten years in legal and compliance leadership roles in AT&T, Lucent Technologies, Avaya, BP and Avon Products. Her experience holding senior in-house roles in public and private companies, as well as working in two ethics and compliance service providers, has enabled her to acquire an uncommon perspective from both sides of the client/vendor relationship. 

Prior to her corporate experience, Professor Hennelly practiced law with two major law firms in Washington, DC, and New Jersey. Before practicing law, she was a civil and environmental engineer, supervising construction for Exxon. 

Professor Hennelly is a member of the Society of Human Resource Management and the Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics. She frequently speaks at conferences (SCCE, ECI, NSCP, PLI, NACD, others) and writes on several platforms.

Professor Hennelly earned her B.S.E. in Civil/Environmental Engineering from Duke University and her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.