Lauren Reid, CIPM, CIPP/US, has started her own consulting firm, appropriately dubbed “The Privacy Pro.”
Its alliterative moniker works because it speaks to the heart of Reid’s privacy experience. Formerly of KPMG and Nymity, where she worked on the latter's Attestor tool, privacy has dominated her professional life, “from every angle,” she said. She’s been an advisor, done in-house work and served as a solutions provider.
These experiences helped her zero in on her personal career drive, ultimately inspiring her to start her own firm. They’re also what makes her practice so unique.
“I took some time to think about what made me happy, and the thing that made me happiest out of all the things I had done before was consulting, problem-solving,” she said. “I wanted to get back to sitting down with a client and a blank piece of paper and saying, ‘Ok, how are we going to solve this problem?’"
Reid opened The Privacy Pro in December. While she acknowledged that the holiday season is a difficult time to do something new – especially by oneself – she was bolstered by a robust network that spans the globe.
Reid’s firm was met with enthusiasm from her peers in part because it debuted at a time where consultants are sorely needed.
“A lot of companies are in need of help right now, especially with the [General Data Protection Regulation],” she said.
Those needs span continents, she added. There’s the obvious focus on compliance from EU companies, but there’s North American need for insight as the regulation requires compliance from organizations with European data. Some of her clients know what they need to do to comply with the new regulation, but have no idea where to begin, she said.
“They just need help building momentum,” she continued. “They're the client who’s developed a roadmap, and they just need help getting it started."
Then there are those companies who are “relatively stable,” compliance-wise, she said. “They’re not struggling right now, but they’re wanting to be proactive.” Their work is already ahead of the compliance curve, and they want it to stay that way.
Despite needing some help, Reid said most of her clients are closer to the mark with GDPR than they first though.
“Most people are happy by how close they are when they take a look at what they have and what they need," she said.
Looking ahead, of course eventually the GDPR buzz will die down. What then?
“Five years from now, I predict the type of work we’ll be doing won’t be in the privacy department,” she said. “When we look at analytics and data, the privacy community is on the verge of shifting as a business issue.” The line between data analytics, ethics and privacy will also blur, she believes.
Reid hopes to be a part of that.
“Around analytics is where I plan to be going, out of the compliance space and into the business strategy space," she said. "I want to take my business and bring it there.”
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