My path to power has been paved not with gold, but with golden people - people without whom my career would not have been as successful (or enjoyable!). First up are my parents who supported the principles of a strong education, hard work, no limitations for girls and treating others the way you’d like to be treated, principles that have stood me in good stead all my life. Next has to be Hilda Haugh, mother of my great friend Claire. Hilda “nudged” me to study for a degree in Computer Science (at night!). It was tough, but she kept me going with words of encouragement throughout. When I moved from Dublin to London, I was lucky enough to work with and for some data, marketing and data protection gurus who shared and influenced my belief that data really does matter: Arthur Vallance, Carl Fisher, Rosemarie Ghazaros, Rosemary Smith and Stewart Room – take a bow! My friends have been amazingly encouraging and supportive throughout, but above all it’s been my husband, Tony, who has been there as my rock and my mentor at every stage of the journey.
Wow, what should I chose…there have been a few! In terms of key projects that stick in my memory: working with the incredibly talented team at Barclays to bring PingIt, the mobile payment app, to market; launching MyDPO - PwC’s suite of services to support DPOs in the GDPR live environment; launching marketing privacy lifecycle support at PwC and being appointed to co-chair the governance workstream of the open banking working group. And on the awards and recognition front: winning the accolade of Client Data Professional of the Year and my team winning the Grand Prix award in the 2016 DataIQ Awards; getting back onto the DataIQ 100 in 2018; being listed on the top 50 women in Cyber in 2018; and getting a specific mention in the Legal 500 United Kingdom 2018 directory (not bad for a non-lawyer!!).
Be confident, stick to your beliefs and follow your instincts! While we all anticipated that 2018 would be a year of two halves - pre- and post-GDPR - it feels as if the post-GDPR era has been altogether lighter in impact than we expected. There have been many mentions that GDPR has had many similarities to the millennium bug hype, but my instinct is that the real GDPR impact - and benefit - is yet to come.
2019 is going to be a challenging, but a critical period. We should hopefully see some clarity emerging in relating to the ePrivacy Regulations and, of course, here in the UK we have the, as yet unknown, quantities of Brexit to contend with. We will begin to see some of the realities (and benefit) of the GDPR begin to emerge and my anticipation is that the biggest impact will be in the third-party data arena.
PwC always focuses on recruiting and retaining the best talent and our data protection team is no exception. The difference in our data protection team when compared to our competitors is that we recruit from a multi-disciplinary background. This means we have a mix of legal, technical and operational skills, and we work collaboratively with other specialists across our business to provide the best mix of skills for our clients. The practical outcome of this is that the members of our team are learning from each other every day. Added to this, we encourage self and shared learning - for example, we run an internal privacy university for which the topics are chosen and presented by our team members.
I think the industry is finally waking up to the fact that transparency and trust are not words to be feared, but to be embraced. Organisations that recognise this will, in my view, not only survive, but thrive in a world where personal data is the currency of choice. Business and professional services inc. recruitment