Push projects to completion by overseeing people, budgets, and schedules.
It’s kind of like listening to a foreign speaker: Lawmakers do the talking, but in a language most people don’t understand. The Regulatory Affairs Director, therefore, plays the role of Interpreter, explaining to his or her employer what’s being said.
If you’re a Regulatory Affairs Director, you work in an industry that’s regulated by state and federal governments because of its potential to harm consumers, whether physically or economically. Commonly regulated industries, for instance, are health care, foodservice, construction, and financial services. In those industries, regulations serve as government-mandated rules. As a Regulatory Affairs Director, you make sure your company follows them in order to avoid hefty fines and expensive penalties.
To do that, you follow three steps. First is research: You study new and existing regulations to find out what they mean, whether they affect your company, and how. Next is compliance: You create processes and procedures that help your company obey the rules. Third is maintenance: You oversee internal audits to ensure continued compliance with government requirements.
In a large corporation in a heavily regulated industry, you’re your company’s senior-most regulatory expert, overseeing and coordinating an entire department of Regulatory Affairs Managers, who basically do the same job as you, but at a lower level. Often, they’re project-based, which means they manage a single toe on a single foot. You, on the other hand, manage the entire leg.
Really, though, the differences are mostly semantic. “Manager” or “Director,” you don’t create rules; you enforce them!