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The Privacy Advisor | Volunteer Spotlight: A conversation with Tracey Urban Related reading: Volunteer Spotlight: Masayuki Negishi



Tracey Urban, CIPP/US, CIPT, an e-counsel attorney at various law firms, has been with the IAPP since a fateful Google search in 2012. Since then, she’s hosted a Privacy After Hours event and helped work various IAPP conferences. In this edition of Volunteer spotlight, Tracey shares a bit about her work with the association and her various forays into the privacy world.

The Privacy Advisor: What about the privacy field first captured your attention?
Urban: Currently, I just tangentially touch it. In the past, I was working on some privacy projects. It’s a very interesting topic, [impacting] hundreds of different things that we do in our daily lives. It’s interesting to think about. There’s a thousand different questions you can ask about what happens to data.

The Privacy Advisor: How did you hear about the IAPP in the first place?
Urban: I had a done a couple of privacy projects for work. [I Googled agencies that dealt] specifically with privacy, and one of the results that came up was the IAPP.

The Privacy Advisor: What inspired you to volunteer?
Urban: I decided I wanted to be more involved with the IAPP, and I thought volunteering would probably be a good way to do that and give me a better chance to connect with other people in the IAPP. It gave me a better understanding of what the IAPP does. I’ve volunteered at the Summit, and it’s fun meeting the other people from the IAPP and other conference goers.  

The Privacy Advisor: What would you say to other professionals who were interested in privacy, but weren’t quite sure where to start?
Urban: I would say privacy is like a big tent. That there’s a policy side to this, and that you can create policy and train people to protect their or their company’s personal information; that even if you’re not a technical person, there are opportunities available to you. And if you are interested in the technical side, there are a lot of places you can develop your technical skills … there’s a bunch of places you can learn to code for relatively cheap. It doesn’t preclude you from a career in privacy if you’re not technically proficient.

The Privacy Advisor: What fictional character do you identify with the most?
Urban: I feel like Dr. Watson from Sherlock Holmes. I think that it’s interesting being around someone who’s was super-smart even though you’re not quite there … he kind of follows along and chronicles all these exploits and has insight of his own. I’m kind of more the sidekick than like primary hero.

The Privacy Advisor: What element of your job makes you the most excited to get out of bed in the morning?
Urban: Currently, I’m doing a lot of e-discovery; some days it’s really hard to get out of bed. It tangentially touches on the privacy field, just looking at different data that’s discovered for these e-discovery projects … looking at how to protect people’s PII.

The Privacy Advisor: What’s a skill you wish you had?
Urban: I wish I could read other people’s minds. That seems like a fun skill. I wish I knew how to code and understand computers a little bit better. I studied a little bit in college, and that was a long time ago, and the languages have changed a bit. HTML, CISS … they’re newer languages.

The Privacy Advisor: Best advice you ever received?
Urban: It’s just very general: a law professor said one time, “do what you’re interested in, and the money will follow.” I think he meant, if you show enough interest in something, jobs and all that kind of stuff will come along, regardless of whether you thought it’s profitable or not. I think it’s better to do something you’re interested in, whether or not you’re just slugging along. 

The Privacy Advisor: You get the last word. Anything I missed that you’d like to share?
Urban: I am looking for other opportunities that are full-time in the privacy field. I really am interested in privacy. When I do those conferences and I do talk to other people, I always find the subject matter really interesting. I really have learned a lot from the IAPP, and I want to be able to put what I’ve learned and gotten from the IAPP to use on a daily basis. I really love privacy and I want a job that I love to come to everyday.


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