Isn’t work something everyone does just to make a living? An obligation. Something you begrudgingly do? Something that drains your energy and makes you grumpy at night. I mean, who is actually excited to go to work these days?
Recently, at work, we were going through our first employee survey and my lead asked, “On a scale of 1-5, 5 completely agree, 1 completely disagree, how do you feel about this sentence:
I’m really enthusiastic about Salv’s mission.
“5,” I blurted out. I completely agree — I didn’t even have to think.
He looked a little stunned. “Why?”
It took me a long time to explain my reasons why and, afterward, he asked me to write down my thoughts.
Believe it or not, this whole thing about a “mission” is something I’ve thought about many, many times over my last year working at Salv. Our mission at Salv is vital and it is big — beat financial crime.
Until recently, I didn’t really get the whole “mission thing”
Before I joined Salv, money laundering, well, wasn’t something I really thought about. It didn’t affect my everyday life with my husband or my kids, so, well, I didn’t really care. Why should I?
But when I started helping out Taavi as a friend (back when Salv was called Dataminer), I started taking in information on Anti-Money laundering in bits and pieces. And the more I heard, the more I started thinking about it. How the problem is huge. How money laundering is so destructive.
Money laundering is a massive issue
I really had no idea when I started. Now, I think about the stats.
For example, according to the UK’s Financial Crime Agency (FCA), in only 7 days:
- Over $6.1 billion will be generated through the sale of illicit drugs. (1)
- Over $70 million will be raised to finance terrorism. (1)
- An estimated 15,384 people will be trafficked into slavery around the globe. (1)
- 385 African elephants will be killed for their ivory.
The numbers are not only frightening but knowing that less than 1% of the money laundered is actually caught and stopped (2) — it breaks my heart.
This is huge. And I have to be a part of stopping it.
Before, I was just doing my daily job, organizing adult educational courses. I enjoyed it. But, well, something was different. Now, at Salv, I can feel myself propelled along by a deep desire to make a difference.
I’ve been reading an Estonian book on money laundering called “Pestud Miljonid” or “Washed Millions” and, as I read story after story, I feel my body tense up in frustration. How could we let all of this happen? How can corrupt leaders stand by? How can they live with themselves at night when they enable this level of dishonesty?
From example after example, it seems far too easy to launder money, and far too hard to stop it — or even prevent it. If I think about it too long, I start feeling hopeless. Can we really do anything? Who are we to think we can make a difference in this global epidemic?
Can Salv really help with such a huge problem?
I sometimes feel like it’s too big. There’s no way we can do anything to help.
But, then, Taavi.
Taavi, an old dear friend. Taavi the dreamer. Taavi the maths guy. Taavi the builder. Taavi the CEO.
If you ask him, “Can we do it? Can we make a difference?” He is just as firm in his response as I was when my lead asked me about our mission.
He has no doubt. At all. He can see the future — a future where criminals are on the run and where technology has done miracles in helping the good guys get ahead. A future where it’s not that we catch less than 1% of global money laundering, a future where we catch more like 99% of money laundering.
And when I look at Taavi, when I listen to Taavi, my doubts begin to thaw and my hope begins to rise. If he’s been working in finance for over 15 years, has seen the ugly inside of compliance and banking, has met with regulators and politicians all over the world, knows our team and our product inside and out, and yet still believes we can beat financial crime? Then I can believe it, too.
If Salv can even be a tiny help in helping more companies beat financial crime, then I can sleep easier at night that I’m helping be a part of something great. And, not only that, but I can also do my part at home.
Before I came to work for Salv, I didn’t really take my work “home.” But now, I do. I’ve started teaching my kids about money laundering. Like showing them a simple video on how money laundering works (4). I tell them, proudly, that I’m a part of a company that’s fighting to save elephants from being killed for their ivory tusks. That my work helps save little kids from bad lives. And that they can help make sure their lives also make a difference — by even just recycling. Or being kind.
I feel proud to work for Salv. I feel proud to be making a difference.
Crime-fighting newbie and Proud Salver,