Where do you see yourself in five years time? It’s a common question asked at job interviews and many of us have the answer - a series of goals that we want to achieve across our careers. But Monash alumna Deborah Glass OBE (BA 1980, LLB 1982) has done things a little differently.
"Some people plan their careers. Mine was never planned, more of a series of twists and turns," Deborah said.
It’s a move that has led to a 30-year career in law and order and seen her recently awarded with The Order of the British Empire – Officer (OBE). Deborah received the honour for her work as deputy chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in London. The IPCC investigates complaints and allegations of misconduct against the police in England and Wales. She has held the deputy chair position since 2008.
After graduating from Monash, Deborah practiced as a lawyer in Melbourne before joining a US investment bank in Switzerland. She then worked at the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission where she moved through the ranks to become senior director.
Deborah relocated to London in 1998 to take on the role of Chief Executive of the Investment Management Regulatory Organisation. She was an Independent Custody Visitor to police stations in her London borough from 1999 to 2005, chairing the local panel for two years.
From 2001 to 2004 she was a member of the Police Complaints Authority before being appointed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. As well as being its deputy chair, Deborah oversees the Metropolitan Police Service and the City of London Police. Her role takes responsibility for all IPCC investigations, casework, as well as promoting public confidence in the system. Deborah is also the lead on police use of firearms.
Deborah said when she left Monash law school in 1981 she never could have anticipated being honoured for services to law and order 30 years later.
"After briefly practising law in Melbourne I left on a one-way ticket to Europe without any plan other than that I did not want to be a lawyer in Melbourne, and the move to financial services, working for Citicorp in Switzerland, was entirely by chance," she said.
"But after Citicorp the driving force was to do something that made a difference - whether that meant writing new Codes of Conduct for fund managers in Hong Kong or dealing with allegations of police corruption in the UK."
Deborah said her current role at the Independent Police Complaints Commission was at times a thankless one.
"We deal with high profile, controversial cases which usually means that at least one, and sometimes all, parties involved in a case are unhappy with an outcome that does not support their version of events," she said.
"But what continues to motivate me is the feeling that it is better to be fair than popular, and that ultimately justice is the best reward."
Deborah said her legal education stood her in good stead despite the brevity of her legal career.
"I carry with me a strong set of values focussed on integrity and the public interest that I believe were nurtured at Monash," she said.
"I remember afternoons spent at the Monash legal centre in Springvale advising unsuspecting members of the public, and inspiring teachers like Ron McCallum and Louis Waller, to name but two.
“They helped to lay the foundations for what I am today."