“You’re on the frontlines, grappling with some of the meatiest and morally complex issues of our time."
Such was the opening to Julie Hanna’s keynote address to help close out last week’s IAPP Privacy Academy and CSA Congress. The chair of micro-lending firm Kiva, and longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur, did not mince words:
“The way I see it, you’re being called on to lead,” she said, in a deliberate and forceful presentation, "not just to execute on policy, not just to determine what can legally be done but what should be done.”
She offered by way of inspiration her own story—what she called “data with soul”—of leaving a war-torn Egypt with her family as a young child, discovering pity and shame. Vowing to never to feel pitied or ashamed again.
Through successes like the founding of what would become WebMD and Netscape Mail, she found herself wondering about the impact of the many breaks she received along the way, the access she was afforded.
“It’s probably the most important difference between us as human beings,” she said. “Talent is universal, but opportunity is not.”
Thus her founding of Kiva, part of her mission to make the Internet a democratizing force, to level the playing field and enable fair access.
Her service connects normal people with money to lend with other normal people across the globe that wouldn’t otherwise have access to institutional capital. Some $600 million has already changed hands, with a payback rate of 99 percent.
“When we marry the power of business and marketplace principles with aims that serve society and the higher side of our nature, we can really move the human ecosystem in powerful ways,” she said, “and profit becomes the result and not the aim.”
“If we want to bring humanity to business, to work, society and government, we have to begin by getting in touch with our own humanity,” she argued. “Only then can we lead in a way that’s in service to ourselves and our most deeply held values and beliefs.”
“What’s your story?” she asked the collected privacy and security pros. “What’s your data with a soul? What values, beliefs and mores have been etched into you? How has this led you to this work? I’d love to know. But more importantly, the world needs to know.”
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