15 DECEMBER 2022
Leadership that empowers you… Made possible by Gaynor Evans
Pokerstars vision is to form the future of entertainment; creating a world of difference where our customers and our team are empowered to make decisions and be the best they can be.
Our Leadership team are vital to making PokerStars a place where, wherever we are, when we win, we all win together. They guide our teams across the globe and ensure our colleagues make that world of difference we strive for.
Head of Anti-Bribery, Corruption (ABC) and Sanctions, Gaynor Evans, is responsible for ensuring the ABC control framework at PokerStars is, robust and fit for purpose. As part of our “Inside the Leadership team” series, Gaynor sat down with us to discuss her time with PokerStars, joining the business and her career to date.
Where it all began
‘After A Levels, I joined the Police force in the UK, and spent 22 years predominantly as a Senior Detective Officer investigating Financial Crime. Six years of that were spent on secondment to what is now known as the National Crime Agency, specialising in the investigation of serious and organised crime. From there I jumped to my first corporate role, joining Royal Dutch Shell, the global oil company, as an Investigations Manager in 2005, two days after running the London marathon, and I remember asking if I could start on a Tuesday and potentially wear trainers, just in case I was struggling to walk! With Shell I travelled extensively, leading investigations into allegations of corruption, staff fraud against the company, and managing the whistleblower hotline. I started in Shells London office but spent 6 years living in the Netherlands with them. It was in Holland that my son was born.'
'I moved to the Isle of Man (IOM) in 2011, a move driven by my husband’s work. I remained with Shell, working remotely, and travelling on and off the IOM until the travel simply became too much with a young child. My IOM based roles have included Head of Compliance, Risk and Audit and MLRO (Money Laundering Reporting Officer) for the IOM Post Office, sometime in the insurance sector, and a period as a consultant working on projects for clients including the IOM Government. During this consultancy time, I invested personal time in completing my Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Level 7 in Strategic Management and Leadership and the International Compliance Association (ICA) joint International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) Audit qualification for auditing Anti Bribery and Compliance Management Systems, essentially obtaining some recognized accreditation around my careers work. Then in 2018 I came to Pokerstars.'
A World of Difference
At PokerStars, we continuously aim to be the Champions of Empowerment. Our colleagues experience a welcoming, open, and truly collaborative team that work across the world, and Gaynor has already experienced just what it’s like to be welcomed into the PokerStars family.
‘PokerStars is a very friendly and welcoming place to work. It’s very diverse and inclusive. The Compliance department are often seen as the ‘fun police’, or ‘business disablers’, but here I find the business approachable and responsive to changes in controls and procedures especially when I and my team are able to communicate the purpose as protecting the company and themselves. I have the most amazing team. They are all fellow ABC enthusiasts that roll out the controls we must have in the Company, but in a sensible and business friendly way.’
An inspirational character
In her management role, Gaynor leads a team to help create the future of entertainment in a legal and compliant manner, that works across the whole of our international division. They’re responsible for embedding a detailed control framework including Anti bribery and sanctions risk assessment, training and communications, the Whistleblower line and the monitoring and assurance of those controls. But Gaynor’s commitment to her team and the wider Pokerstars family is not limited to her formal role; outside of work there is much more to this determined and dynamic leader too.
‘Outside of my role as Head of ABC & Sanctions, I’m a mental health first aider, a mentor and I lead one of the Lean in Circles. Supporting PokerStars people through these avenues are all things that I have a passion for through my ABC work. Outside of work, I am a wife and mum to an ever-growing rugby mad teenager; and de-stress by swimming, cycling, and running. I have raced triathlons since 1993, representing Great Britain (for my age-group) at European and World Championship events; but after 3 years out battling breast cancer, made the start-line in September for my most important race ever. Triathlon is said to be an individual sport, but I know for certain I would not have got to this particular start line without the support of friends, family and the Pokerstars team – the result, a very respectable third in my age-group.
To read more of our ‘Inside the Leadership team’, click here.