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The Privacy Advisor | IAPP's first-ever Fellows of Information Privacy make the grade Related reading: IAPP launches new credential: Fellow of Information Privacy

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The International Association of Privacy Professionals has recognized its first round of Fellows of Information Privacy, or FIPs.

The more than 200 privacy professionals recognized represents applicants who've obtained both a CIPP designation paired with either CIPM or a CIPT; a demonstrated three years of work experience, in which at least 25 percent of their job relates directly to privacy, and the recommendation of three peers.

For privacy pros, the award symbolizes extraordinary achievement in the field, said IAPP Director of Certification Doug Forman, adding it's also a way to show appreciation for those whose work enriches the privacy field.

“We wanted to create a way to recognize our members that have achieved a certain milestone in their careers,” Forman said. “They’ve done the hard work of training and certifying in the two main areas of privacy, and we wanted to find a way to recognize how dynamic they are.”

The credential doesn’t require additional fees, as the team at IAPP who reviewed applications wanted a designation that simply recognized achievement. 

Forman said a significant amount of work went into ensuring that the FIP both translated the objective weightiness of the precedent set by other fellowships while also fitting the unique privacy world itself. The development team spoke with IAPP members, the IAPP’s credentialing consultant, and IAPP board members for input.

“We kind of personalized it for our members and privacy people in an intelligent way,” he said. “We created a triangle of sorts. Law, management, technology,” all in one. That trinity is reflected in the FIP’s logo, a triangle color-dipped with a different shade on each edge, signifying each element of the field.

The announcement of the FIP was met a strong response, Forman said. That's evident in the fact that the recipients span demographics; not only storied privacy pros, but also industry newcomers, fresh out of college. Forman said it's as if privacy is luring pioneers. 

Like many of the freshly-minted FIPs, Ever Bank Chief Privacy Officer Ron Whitworth, CIPM, CIPP/C, CIPP/E, CIPP/US, viewed his certification as a “launching pad” for his professional life when he first obtained a CIPP/US early on. So, when the IAPP announced the FIP designation, applying for it seemed like a “no-brainer,” he said.

“I have a real appreciation to the IAPP and the credential program to me and my career … [and] the FIP was the next valuable step.”

It’s not just breadth of applicants looking to take that next step, but depth, too, Forman said. Requiring recommendations from applicants' peers allows each privacy pro to present themselves as a whole person, and not just an application full of stats. Reading through the recommendations, “I’m immediately struck by the accomplishments these people have,” he said. “They’re a great snapshot of how these people are maturing ... how excited these people are to be in privacy.”

McKesson Global Privacy Leader and Vice President Faith Myers, CIPM, CIPP/E, CIPP/US, is one of those people. She recalled her introduction to the privacy field as a long-time health care lawyer who felt that the subject only fit in “this really tiny box,” she said. That perspective changed.

“The depth of privacy issues, as innovation develops worldwide ... the IAPP exposes you to the reach of so many upcoming privacy issues that you would not be aware of otherwise.” The journey to becoming FIP certified, via certification trainings, also provides exposure to other privacy professionals “at the top of their game” who “stretch and grow” you, she said. She added the trainings provide information that Myers herself found practical and helpful in her day-to-day.

The increased profile a FIP provides was another selling point for some applicants. “[IAPP] credentials are very much valued by employers and regulators,” Whitworth said. “They’re really making people feel confident that you are educated in various areas of privacy and adds credibility.”

For Return Path Chief Privacy and Security Officer Dennis Dayman, CIPP/E, CIPP/US, CIPT, earning his FIP was also a way to enhance the existing privacy community through mentorship, an achievement that highlighted “what I’ve accomplished for myself and for what I can teach for others,” he said.

“Privacy is everyone’s responsibility,” he continued, urging privacy pros to pursue opportunities like the FIP to proactively bolster the community. “Don’t just leave this up to the legal beagles — you have this ability to go out and learn this sort of stuff,” he said. “Anybody has the ability to be CIPP certified and get the FIP and give back. It really takes a village.”   

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