The 2016 Top 25 Consultants: Ellen Zimiles


Ellen Zimiles Navigant Excellence in Leadership 

Ellen Zimiles followed an exceptional 10-year legal career in regulatory enforcement by founding a consulting firm and then rising to segment leader of Navigant’s Financial Services Advisory and Compliance segment, while also retaining leadership of Navigant’s Global Investigations and Compliance practice.

Zimiles has more than 25 years of litigation and investigation experience. She joined Navigant in 2010 through the acquisition of Daylight Forensic & Advisory, an international consulting firm where she was founder and CEO. “Starting my own firm was a highlight of my private sector career,” she says. “The process of securing venture capital funding and running a successful business was both a challenging and rewarding leadership experience.”

“When I was named the leader of Navigant’s Financial Services Advisory and Compliance segment, one of the first things I accomplished was realigning our segment’s services and professionals based on our clients’ needs and our specializations,” Zimiles says. “We are now better positioned to deliver a broad range of solutions that can be tailored to our clients’ unique requirements.”

During her tenure, Navigant has become a go-to resource for global banks confronting the post-Dodd-Frank regulatory environment as well as a partner to governments seeking monitors to ensure compliance with consent decrees. “I love a good challenge, so being able to solve complex problems is a huge motivator,” Zimiles says. “I’m also inspired when I can analyze a situation or data and identify patterns or anomalies that lead to insights, interpretations, and clarity on what needs to be done.

She has developed anti-money laundering programs, corporate governance, regulatory and corporate compliance, fraud control, and public corruption matters.

“I’ve never been afraid to think outside the box,” she says. “Some of my most successful ventures were created by looking at situations from different perspectives, questioning traditional ways of thinking, learning from trial and error, and listening carefully to others.”

Zimiles says she loves working with her team to help clients solve thorny problems. “It’s amazing how collectively we can bring together ways to address complicated scenarios and enable our clients to succeed and be proud of the outcomes,” Zimiles says.

She’s also proud of establishing an Autism work program at both Daylight and Navigant. “As the parent of a son on the autism spectrum, I realized the vital role that our nation’s special needs population can play in the workforce,” she says. “When I was in a position to make hiring, I’ve offered career opportunities to persons with developmental disabilities. We’ve learned that hiring people with developmental disabilities is a strong business strategy.”

What does winning the award mean to you, your firm and your clients?

“It is rewarding to receive this award particularly in the Leadership category. I am humbled that the firm sought to nominate me for this.”