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.


If you want to comment on this post, you need to login.


Board of Directors

See the esteemed group of leaders shaping the future of the IAPP.

Contact Us

Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you.

IAPP Staff

Looking for someone specific? Visit the staff directory.

Learn more about the IAPP»

Daily Dashboard

The day’s top stories from around the world

Privacy Perspectives

Where the real conversations in privacy happen

The Privacy Advisor

Original reporting and feature articles on the latest privacy developments

Privacy Tracker

Alerts and legal analysis of legislative trends

Privacy Tech

Exploring the technology of privacy

Canada Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top Canadian privacy news

Europe Data Protection Digest

A roundup of the top European data protection news

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from the Asia-Pacific region

Latin America Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from Latin America

IAPP Westin Research Center

Original works. Groundbreaking research. Emerging scholars.

Get more News »

IAPP Communities

Meet locally with privacy pros, dive deep into specialized topics or connect over common interests. Find your Community in KnowledgeNet Chapters, Sections and Affinity Groups.

IAPP Job Board

Looking for a new challenge, or need to hire your next privacy pro? The IAPP Job Board is the answer.

Join the Privacy List

Have ideas? Need advice? Subscribe to the Privacy List. It’s crowdsourcing, with an exceptional crowd.

Find a KnowledgeNet Chapter Near You

Talk privacy and network with local members at IAPP KnowledgeNet Chapter meetings, taking place worldwide.

Find more ways to Connect »

Find a Privacy Training Class

Two-day privacy training classes are held around the world. See the complete schedule now.

The Privacy Core™ Library Has Evolved

Privacy Core™ e-learning essentials just expanded to include seven new units for marketers. Keep your data safe and your staff in the know!

Online Privacy Training

Build your knowledge. The privacy know-how you need is just a click away.

Upcoming Web Conferences

See our list of upcoming web conferences. Just log on, listen in and learn!

Train Your Team

Get your team up to speed on privacy by bringing IAPP training to your organization.

Let’s Get You DPO Ready

There’s no better time to train than right now! We have all the resources you need to meet the challenges of the GDPR.

Learn more »

CIPP Certification

The global standard for the go-to person for privacy laws, regulations and frameworks

CIPM Certification

The first and only privacy certification for professionals who manage day-to-day operations

CIPT Certification

The industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements

FIP Designation

Recognizing the advanced knowledge and issue-spotting skills a privacy pro must attain in today’s complex world of data privacy.

Certify Your Staff

Find out how you can bring the world’s only globally recognized privacy certification to a group in your organization.


The IAPP’S CIPP/E and CIPM are the ANSI/ISO-accredited, industry-recognized combination for DPO readiness. Learn more today.

Learn more about IAPP certification »

IAPP-OneTrust Website Scanning & Cookie Compliance Tool

Scan your website for cookies, tags, forms and policies and create a custom, dynamically updated cookie policy based on the results of your scans.

Are You Ready for the GDPR?

Check out the IAPP's EU Data Protection Reform page for all the tools and resources you need.

Privacy Vendor List

Find a privacy vendor to meet your needs with our filterable list of global service providers.

IAPP Communities

Meet locally with privacy pros, dive deep into specialized topics or connect over common interests. Find your Community in KnowledgeNet Chapters, Sections and Affinity Groups.

More Resources »

Global Privacy Summit 2017

The world’s premier privacy conference returns with the sharpest minds and unparalleled programs—plus a whole new spin on Active Learning!

Canada Privacy Symposium 2017

The Symposium returns to Toronto! Take advantage of Early Bird rates before March 31 and join your fellow privacy pros for a stellar program.

The Privacy Bar Section Forum 2017

The Privacy Bar Section Forum is SOLD OUT and the wait list is closed. If you got on the wait list, we'll keep in touch about your status. Good luck!

Asia Privacy Forum 2017

Join us in Singapore for exclusive networking and intensive education on data protection trends and challenges in the Asia Pacific region.

Privacy. Security. Risk. 2017

We're bringing the best of the best in privacy and infosecurity to sunny San Diego. Early registration for P.S.R. opens in May.

Europe Data Protection Congress 2017

Your source for European policy debate, multi-level strategic thinking and thought-provoking discussion. Registration opens in early June.

Sponsor an Event

Increase visibility for your organization—check out sponsorship opportunities today.

More Conferences »

Become a Member

Start taking advantage of the many IAPP member benefits today

Corporate Members

See our list of high-profile corporate members—and find out why you should become one, too

Renew Your Membership

Don’t miss out for a minute—continue accessing your benefits

Join the IAPP»