The International Association of Privacy Professionals has named Bojana Bellamy, CIPP/E, its 2019 winner of the IAPP Vanguard Award. Bellamy accepted the honor today at the IAPP’s Global Privacy Summit in Washington.
Recipients of the IAPP Vanguard Award are recognized as privacy professionals “who show exceptional leadership, knowledge and creativity in the field of privacy and data protection, whether through spearheading projects or programs that positively impact the profession or through achievements over the course of an entire tenure or career.”
Bellamy currently serves as president of Hunton Andrews Kurth’s Centre for Information Policy Leadership, a leading global information policy think tank based out of Washington and London. Prior to her current post, Bellamy spent 12 years as the global director of data privacy at Accenture, crafting the company’s data privacy and compliance programs from scratch and developing a global data privacy team. She was also an IAPP board member from 2008 to 2013 and served as board chairman from 2011 to 2012.
“Once you stop thinking about the excitement, you just feel hugely proud for something like this,” Bellamy said of her award. “I’m proud of the job I’ve done and what I have achieved, but I’m also proud of what I’ve achieved as part of the institution for which I work. What I and my career have been about has a real impact and purpose. Having that feeling really drives me as I come to work each day.”
One of the more gratifying memories Bellamy has relating to her work came after an IAPP Privacy Perspectives post she wrote last May that lauded the tireless efforts of data protection officers during the implementation of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
“A chief privacy officer that I did not know wrote me on LinkedIn,” Bellamy said. “This man said, ‘I am at an airport at 5 a.m. and kind of wondering why I’m here. And then I go and read your blog and it made my day.’ I responded to say that he made my day too.
“The fact that my impact made this man do something better or different, or made him think about the value of a person, that meant everything to me.”
IAPP President and CEO J. Trevor Hughes, CIPP, is also thankful for Bellamy’s dedication to her craft. Hughes views Bellamy as a “tremendous asset” to the companies she serves and the global privacy community in general.
“Bojana Bellamy is a unique and powerful leader in the field of data protection and privacy around the world. Full stop,” Hughes said. “Her energy, dynamic nature, intelligence and sophistication all make her an absolutely phenomenal choice for our Vanguard Award. Bojana checks every single box on a checklist of the qualities you look for in a fantastic privacy professional.”
Bellamy’s sparkling resume did not come together without its share of challenges. The time spent at Accenture marked one of Bellamy’s most trying and tedious experiences, but it was one that she needed.
“I felt I was well known and had privacy knowledge, but in fact, I was nobody and one of 75,000 employees,” Bellamy said. “There was nobody to help me or a single boss that understood what I was doing when I joined. The company was very different when I left, with an established privacy program and many working in roles related to privacy. They soon realized you have to fight for what you believe in and explain why it’s important to the leadership.”
While Bellamy’s efforts and advocacy are worthy of recognition, she and her privacy colleagues are looking forward to growing their impact as the global privacy and data protection plots continue to thicken.
“Never are we more wanted and needed in this world,” Bellamy said. “The technology is just galloping in front of us and we need critical thinking and emphasis. Privacy professionals can say, ‘Hang on. Just stop and think.’ It’s actually exciting because, for those of us in the profession, we see our time has come.”
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