September 28, 2020
For Gina Jurva, the journey over the past nearly 15 years to become an attorney, journalist, public speaker and fincrime compliance thought leader started with an unlikely beginning – a courtroom of her own creation fueled by her imagination.
Along the way she would find herself, her inspiration, her voice, her calling – and even love.
As a child growing up in the neon-soaked decade of the 1980s, the California resident always had an “ingrained sense of justice and the rule of law,” even though she didn’t see many woman attorneys holding court on television.
That absence sparked curiosity, the question of why?
Finding the answer would be Jurva’s first steps on a quest in her life to champion more diversity in courtrooms, boardrooms and classrooms – the foundation of learning and representation for the next generation, culminating in Jurva landing her “dream job” at Thomson Reuters, a multi-billion dollar media company.
So without a powerful, independent female figure in the courtroom to turn to on television, Jurva created her own fuzzy, stuffed version of “Law and Order.” Before her age was even in double digits, Jurva acted out the roles of prosecutors and judges with her family and toys as the accused.
“My grandmother was regularly found not guilty, but my stuffed animals usually received ‘life in prison,’” Jurva said, joking that, “Hey, as an only child you must be creative!”
Little did she realize that later in life, she would replace prosecution, defense strategies and closing arguments for family members for members of illicit criminal groups.
“I knew from a very young age I wanted to be a criminal prosecutor, tackling some of the worst crimes both against persons but also financial crimes,” Jurva said.
She has been immersed in the crime-fighting world since earning her bar license in 2006 and becoming a deputy district attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jurva eventually opened her own law practice defending clients in criminal matters at both the trial and appellate level.
After several years as a litigator, she decided to “flip the script,” and transition out of her Perry Masonesque existence, forging a new path into the land of journalism and writing.
She held positions as editor-in- chief of a San Francisco-based print magazine, managing editor of a SF-based newspaper, and as a freelancer for the Bay Area’s NPR-affiliate, KQED.
Since joining Thomson Reuters more than seven years ago, she has served as Senior Legal Writer and Editor and currently serves as Manager, Market Intelligence & Enterprise Content-Corporates & Governments for the Thomson Reuters Institute (TRI).
In that role, Jurva leads content and multi-media activities to highlight solutions to some of the world’s most pressing risk, regulatory compliance and public and private sector challenges including anti-money laundering (AML) and e-commerce fraud.
She also frequently writes, speaks and contributes as a co-host to a Thomson Reuters-branded podcast, talking about the latest fraud and financial crime trends.
More recently, she graduated from the Campaign School at Yale University and is looking to further service the public trust by potentially running for office in the future.
It was her desire to help others less fortunate and devote herself to a higher cause that also led to love – and some very sore quads.
Jurva has participated in a seven day, 545-mile charity bike ride for HIV/AIDS awareness twice as a cyclist and once as a roadie.
“The bike ride is from San Francisco to Los Angeles (the AIDS/LifeCycle), requiring each cyclist to raise a minimum of $3,000,” she said. “As I was training for the ride, I met and fell in love with my (now) wife.”
The lessons of sharing, caring, kindness and giving your all to a singular purpose is an apt comparison to the knowledge, focus and continuous learning needed to be successful in the field of financial crime and compliance.
One of the best pieces of advice was given to her by a former supervisor who said: “Make yourself indispensable to your organization. Be the best at what you do. Know your craft well and excel in it.”
Part and parcel of excellence as a professional is growth as a person – and a ruthless commitment to do what is right and just.
“Reputation is everything,” Jurva said. “If you damage it, it can take a lifetime to regain. But if you always act with integrity and fairness, no matter whom you are dealing with, you will succeed and thrive.”
Jurva was kind enough to share some of her insight in our latest ACFCS Member Spotlight. Here is an edited version of that conversation.