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Networking Central

Billy J. Spears, M.B.A., CIPP/G, and Senior Manager, Privacy & Information Protection, Dell, Inc., will author a new networking feature that will showcase the art of networking - IAPP-style! Look for Spears' occasional features, based on real-life experiences of IAPP members at networking events.

In this business, we all seem to work flawlessly in our own separate worlds. The majority of our interactions, socializations and communications are through electronic means, such as email or telephone calls. We live in a fast-paced environment where issues swirl over our heads like a tornado waiting to make its first contact with the ground. If it weren't for events that draw us into the same room, we would never have a face that matches anyone's emails or voices.

This year at the IAPP Privacy Academy 2006 in Toronto, I experienced a memorable networking interaction with a person I had only talked to through electronic means before this conference. Let me set the scene for you¦

I was attending The Privacy Advisor's networking reception and had just ordered a drink when a woman came up and introduced herself to me. I reciprocated by introducing myself and we shook hands as if it were the first time we had ever spoke. Almost immediately, this woman began asking me questions about why I was not submitting more articles to publish in the Advisor. For whatever reason, I did not hear her name, but I knew I had submitted articles to the editor on several occasions. All I heard was that I wasn't submitting enough copy so …

I responded to this woman by telling her that I had submitted articles to the managing editor of The Privacy Advisor, Ann Donlan, and she would not push my articles through to print. I also stated that I did not understand why she would not publish them and that she must hate me or something. I am serious as a heart attack. Can any of you guess who I was speaking with? Ladies and Gentlemen, I was face to face with none other than Ann Donlan herself. As she and I cleared up the identity and technical issues surrounding my article submissions, we had a great laugh together and have become even better friends. Ann does not hate me and does not have a grudge against my articles.

The moral of the story here is that networking works. It is evident by the relationships we all have made through our interactions with the IAPP. There are more than 1,000 CIPPs worldwide and the numbers are growing stronger. You should be making contacts and networking with as many professionals as you can. You never know who you are talking to unless you get their name first.

The views expressed are Spears' and not necessarily those of Dell, Inc. Spears is a member of The Privacy Advisor's Advisory Board.

Managing Editor's Note: IAPP Members will note that Billy Spears can no longer claim that the Managing Editor blocks his Advisor submissions.

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