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Get Your Foot In The Door
Episode 716th March 2021 • Privacy Pros Podcast • The King of Data Protection - Jamal Ahmed
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You Don't Need A Legal Background To Get Into Data Privacy!

Recently appointed Data Privacy Advisor, Emma Godfree, is living proof that you don't need a legal background to change your career and make it as a PrivacyPro.

Emma shares how she secured her first role in Data Privacy with a leading UK estate agent despite having no previous experience and no legal background, whilst dealing with the pandemic and being made redundant!

She shares how a career in Data Privacy has finally provided a meaningful and rewarding career, where she is respected as a Privacy professional!

Emma reveals how she overcame her biggest challenges and shares her top tips for anyone thinking about a career in the Privacy sector and really tells it as it is.

If you want to make it as a successful Privacy Pro and take your career to a new level - You can't afford to miss out on this episode!

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Connect with Emma on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emma-godfree-cipp-e-340796106/

Connect with Jamal on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kmjahmed/


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Transcripts

Emma 0:00

Foot in the door to the actual privacy world, which was all I cared about as long as I could get my foot in the door. You can go anywhere.

Jamal 0:08

Are you ready to know what you don't know about Privacy Pros, then you're in the right place.

Rahena 0:14

Welcome to the PrivacyPros Academy podcast by Kazient Privacy Experts, the podcast to launch, progress and accelerate your career as a PrivacyPro.

Jamal 0:24

Hear about the latest news and developments in the world of Privacy.

Rahena 0:29

Discover fascinating insights from Leading Global Privacy Professionals

Jamal 0:34

and hear real stories and top tips from the people who've been where you want to get to

Rahena 0:40

We are an official IAPP training partner.

Jamal 0:43

We've currently trained people in over 137 countries and counting.

Rahena 0:48

So whether you're thinking about starting a career in Data Privacy, or you're an experienced Professional, this is the podcast for you.

Rahena 1:03

e been with the company since:

Jamal 1:46

Hi everyone. I'm so happy to be here again today.

Rahena 1:50

Our lovely guest today is Emma Godfrey. Emma is a data protection adviser for a leading estate agent in England. Emma brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role from her past experience. She was a foster carer and has worked for the Royal Military Police and one of the largest insurance companies in the United Kingdom. She recently started on her journey as a privacy pro and learns something new every day. Emma has learned to harmonise her passion for privacy with her passion for Star Trek. While studying she applied the GDPR to the fictional Corporation Starfleet. Welcome, Emma,

Jamal 2:27

thank you so much for coming on the show Emma.

Emma 2:30

Hi, nice to be here.

Jamal 2:32

Before we even get started, there's a question I really want to ask you. While you were doing your studying, can you tell me what was the name of the supervisory authority in the Klingon Empire?

Emma 2:45

He didn't get that far. Unfortunately, my main focus was Earth. So I didn't get as far as Klingon, I stuck to what I knew at the time. So

Jamal 2:55

when you discover it do share with us and i'll send an email to the European Data Protection Board to make sure we're including your place to them as well.

Emma 3:02

Absolutely them and everybody else that comes along with the Federation.

Rahena 3:07

As always, we start with an ice breaker. If a movie was made of your life, what genre would it be? And who would play you?

Emma 3:19

I was thinking about this earlier today, I was watching a programme where somebody asked the exact same question to somebody and I genuinely thought I have no idea. The trouble I have with my life is that I've been all over the world. My father was part of the armed forces. I've been everywhere all over the world. And actually, nothing really happened. I think if it was gonna be a genre, probably a drama, because there was a lot of that at some point as to who would play me, I would have loved someone like a young Judi Dench to play somebody like me because she's phenomenal. She's had an amazing career. But also she's not too over the top. She's not the what you would classify as a standard in the Hollywood area. So for me, someone like that would be really at least down to earth, which I think is probably what I need. Very interesting.

Unknown Speaker 4:11

It's interesting how much of a coincidence it is that you actually see and had a chance to think about it.

Emma 4:18

it's not something I generally think of because my life isn't all that interesting, but actually somebody's quite down to earth I think would probably be best.

Rahena 4:26

Emma, I must admit, I am rather curious, and I am sure a lot of people are thinking the same thing to you have this fantastic wealth of experience, a very interesting background, travelling the world family that have served in the armed forces and yourself being with the Metro police and a background of being a foster carer. How did you get into data privacy?

Emma 4:52

So I've always had an interest in privacy because of where I've been and where I've come from. My family is quite a private family. You know, my mother and my father. They were both in the armed forces. So whenever we went to foreign countries, it was paramount to have that privacy because it was for your own safety. Then when I started working for an insurance company, as you can imagine, it's all very built in and from the moment you enter the doors, you know, it's something that they drill into you day and night, you know, our customers, privacy is paramount, you need to keep that to yourself. And everything that you discuss, you discuss within these walls and no further. And obviously, as a foster carer for given, you know, it's something that you have to have ingrained in you. You can't talk about these cases outside of your own home and actually outside of your own immediate family. And some of the things you see are very sensitive.

Emma 5:40

So for me, I almost grew up with it to the point where actually, when I started to sort of realise that my career wasn't really going in the way that I wanted, I was lucky enough to be part of the customer relations team, which has complaints effectively, I ended up with a data protection officer who had just come into the company I worked for, and was overhauling their privacy and overhauling their Data Protection Policy. And he was kind enough to sort of teach me the basics, point me in the right direction as to where I wanted to go, I started off with data subject access requests. And I loved every minute of it, I loved being able to decide what people got and what they didn't get and what they were allowed and what they weren't allowed. And for me, sounds a bit like a power trip, which I guess it kind of is, but I love being able to have that control where in a lot of other places, I don't have that control. And actually, he really pointed me in that direction, and really gave me the opportunity to start doing what I knew was going to be something I wanted to do in the future. And then COVID came along, and I was on furlough. So I started studying properly. And it just kind of snowballed from there really. And I was very, very lucky to have somebody noticed my LinkedIn profile through somebody else, and actually offered me a very junior role, but something which I can learn from, alright, I

Jamal 7:13

don't want to talk about your experiences in fostering as well.

Rahena 7:18

years ago, I would assess potential foster parents, everything in that line of work was special category data and the welfare, the well being of that child was paramount safeguarding came into it a lot. And data protection, actually goes hand in hand with that data protection is a safeguard to that child from potential harm, there's so much they can transfer over,

Emma 7:42

it is very similar to something like complaints handling, and you wouldn't think the two and two would marry together. But you think in foster care, you are dealing with very volatile situations on almost an hourly basis, you know, you have to communicate with, you know, professionals who have been doing their job for, you know, years decades, even, you know, people who know more than you do. And you've got this vulnerable person who's by your side, and you're speaking for them. And there's a lot of conflict management in that. And there's a lot of saying no, when you know that no is the right answer. And actually, in privacy, a lot of the times you are going to have to say the word no. And you're going to have to be very comfortable with saying that word. Because it's surprising how many people aren't comfortable with saying the word no. And you know, really don't feel comfortable with being negative about something. And sometimes it calls for it, the situation will, you know, will sometimes call for a for a No, it's just how it works. And actually, something like foster care is something that can really help with that, because there's a lot of conflict management and trying to solve a potentially potentially dangerous situation. So it's, it's, it's all there. It's all building blocks to where you want to be.

Jamal 8:55

I want to revisit something you said a little bit earlier Emma. So you were explaining in one of your roles, you were a little bit frustrated with where your career was heading. Maybe you were fed up of running the same process over and over again, without having some kind of a meaningful, rewarding job. And when you speak about your new role as a privacy professional, I see you light up and I'm following all of your wonderful posts about your experiences on LinkedIn. What is it about data privacy that you find really so exhilarating, or that you're so passionate about that makes you want to get up out of bed in the morning and do a full day's work?

Emma 9:27

So for me personally, I found that other job roles I've done in the past, with the exception of foster care, you are treated very much as if you are almost a commodity, you're sort of told when you can come to work, you're told what your shift pattern is, you're told what you're doing that day, you're told what training you can do. And if it's outside of that, it's very hard to progress any further. It's very hard to learn those skills that will allow you to not only do your job properly, but potentially progress into other areas of that particular business. And that's something I found with my last role. Now, I wasn't getting the guidance that I wanted, I wasn't getting the training that I wanted.

Emma:

And actually, as soon as I knew that I wanted to go into privacy, I sat my manager down and said, I would really like to learn more about this, is there anything I can do within the company, because I have a very good relationship with our DPO. And they very clearly told me no, and that if I wanted to, I'd have to go and do it myself. That's what I did, I went away. And I did it myself. Because when I sat down, and I thought about the privacy world, and I started looking into it, you're treated not only as an adult, but you're treated as a professional adult, you know, you can decide what you want to learn. And there's so many different areas that you can learn. And there's so many different topics that you can find out more about, you can go into the law side of it, be that technical about it, you can go into the technology side of it, you can go into the incident prevention and response side of it, you know, there's so many different areas. And that, for me was massive. There's so much room for development and for growth, that you'd never run out of possibilities. There's never ever that opportunity to run out. For me. That's huge. That's massive.

Jamal:

Absolutely. Thank you so much for sharing that. I'm gonna delve a little bit into that in just a moment. But before I do that, I just want to pick up on one thing you said, you said the moment I knew I wanted to get into data privacy, I sat down with my manager, talking about the moment that you knew and what led you to knowing data privacy is

Emma:

when I did my first data subject Access Request, I knew I knew instantly, there was no question for me, it was a really simple Access Request, it was I think they were asking for a copy of a phone call, which is you know, an email to it and send them a letter saying we've acknowledged your request. And that's it. That's all you really did until you've got that recording. And then you sent it in the post, it was the most simple thing you could ever imagine. The moment I sat and I did that, and I was typing up the letter, and I was acknowledging this, and I was putting a reference number and doing all the technical things that needed to go in there. I knew I knew then this was something I wanted to do. Ironically, I don't do any subject access requests anymore, but I do everything else. And

Emma:

that's when I knew.

Jamal:

Alright, so you find yourself doing that Subject Access Request. And for some reason, this really resonated with me. And I was like, you know what, this is what I want to spend the rest of my career doing? And then you decided data privacy for me. So what did you do after that question? Okay, is this really for me? What are the kinds of questions that you had, before you took the job to really invest in the training and other additional stuff that comes along with it?

Emma:

Because I had that relationship with our DPO albeit at that point, it was quite a tenuous one, it was an acquaintance rather than anything else, I actually dealt the way we meant I dealt with a data breach within the complaints department, I sort of have to speak to the customer about it, and ask them to do the necessary actions to correct it. And he actually sat down and listened to the phone call and made sure that I was telling them the right thing. And after then, you know, we sort of had a bit of an acquaintance type relationship, it allowed me to gradually become more aware of what he did for a living. So how he became a data protection officer, why he did it, you know, what he was doing in the company, what his job role was, and what that entailed. And for me, the way that he described what he was doing, yeah, breach incident logs, you know, being able to respond to a data breach, and just being able to have the flexibility to do lots of different things at once. That, for me, was a big draw. I hate being idle. I love multitasking, I'm really good at it. You know, I can do lots of things at once. And for me, to keep my brain active, I need to be doing more things at once. So this seemed like a perfect role for me. And over the course of a couple of months, I think I sat down with him. You know, I had the odd question about how he went about doing his studying, you know, how he got into it, how easy it was to get into which path he felt would be best for someone like myself who didn't really have any experience, except what he'd given me, which was very small. You know, it was a very gradual, sort of almost a year's process before I got to the point where I knew what I wanted. which path I wanted to go down.

Jamal:

Thank you for sharing that was really interesting.

Rahena:

What would you say to someone who's interested in a career in data privacy, but worried about a career move into the sector, especially because we're still recovering from this pandemic? Businesses are downsizing, staff have been made redundant. There has been people have been furlough is now a good time. You took that brave leap and you went for it.

Emma:

So last year, I went through all of that. I went through all of that in a period of four months. So I will made redundant by then managed to get this job, King and I now remote work from home permanently. So I'll be going into an office maybe once every couple of weeks. So actually I've been through, I've been through that process in a very short amount of time, when I started becoming more active on LinkedIn, there would jobs all over the place, I wouldn't say there were very many, there are a lot of data protection officer jobs. And there were a lot of technical jobs, which I couldn't obviously apply for. But I knew that eventually that it's something would come up that I could do. And even if it was something that I didn't want to do forever, it was at least a way in and a foot in the door to the actual privacy world, which for me, was all that I cared about, I didn't care about what job I did to start with, as long as I could get my foot in the door, you can go anywhere, once you've been there, you know six months, you can then start to look at other pathways, I would say is a good time to join. Because actually, people are more likely to invest in you in your development in your growth as a professional and as a person because everyone's in the same situation.

Emma:

So everyone has a lot of empathy for the people around them. And actually, a lot of people have potentially been in your situation. So they know how it's going to make somebody feel or at least they have an idea as to how you're feeling. So actually, they might be slightly more willing to give you that time and to give you that training and the development to be able to progress you further within their company, the only thing I would say is that don't be looking for that exact job role, or for that exact fit. The only thing that is going to make life easier for people who want to get into any industry at the moment is to get your foot in the door. I can't tell you how lucky I was and how grateful I was to have my job almost thrown at me. I understood that that wasn't likely to happen. And therefore I was quite willing to accept anything that I could do within that world, just to get me there, so that I could then progress further. I don't know if that answers your

Jamal:

how you're being so honest and transparent about everything. And I think this is what people listening really want to hear. They want to hear real stories about real people or how they made it into the data privacy industry. And if they have some questions about is it for me, is it not? For me, this is really gonna produce so much value for people listening to really find out help them make their mind either one way or the other. I really want to thank you already for sharing all of that. And we have a long way to go yet. This is something I see is data. Privacy is a booming industry, right. I see most people that I'm congratulating are getting a job in data privacy. So that means there's lots of roles, okay, maybe there's not that many entry level roles. People need people to come in and hit the ground running. But there isn't enough people to cater for those demands. And one of the mistakes I see a lot of people making is they think they can go and learn how to pass an exam and become a data privacy professional. What are your thoughts on

Emma:

passing an exam is all well and good. And the theory is all well and good. But nothing beats practical experience. Nothing, nothing beats it, the practical application of that knowledge is so different to being able to memorise facts, I'm not the greatest at retaining information. I've never been very good at taking exams. And it took me two attempts to pass my last exam. So I know where my weakness sits. However, I'm very good at learning as I go, I'm very, very good at finding a job being taught how to do it and just running with it. That's one of my best skills is that I can do that. But you asked me to just give you a fact or give you bits of information. And I have to process that. It's all well and good having that information. But without the practical application, you are going to struggle and there are going to be gaps in your knowledge which you haven't necessarily thought of or haven't occurred to you. Whilst I can understand that passing an exam is great. It's a really great achievement. And people should be really pleased and proud of themselves for doing that. For me, it's a nightmare. I think the practical side of it needs to come along with that as well. But there has to be that passion as well. You can't do a job without liking it. It's hell on us trying to do a job that you hate every day, even working from home getting out of bed and starting work without that passion. I wouldn't want to do it not anymore.

Jamal:

One of the things I love most about my career as a data privacy professional is every day I wake up looking forward to what the day brings. And I know everyday has been different things the last day for as long as I've been in data privacy, and I wake up every day feeling great. Whereas I remember before it used to be a struggle to get out of bed to go and do the same job. Okay, yes, it was a job that were paid well, but still, you're running the same process every day. And at one point you think a robot could actually do this. They don't need me to be here to do this, is this what I imagined for my life and it's not and I think one of the great things about data privacy is it really allows people to come to to work and live with passion, as Robert Baugh said, in his podcast, you get to live with passion. And it's not just running a process or mindlessly, it's, you're actually doing a mean full a rewarding job. It's valued. Like I said, you're treated as a professional, you're not treated like a school kid. Even in some of the big multinational companies, when exposed and are experiencing, they still treat you a little bit like a student or a child that needs to be told and they manage this process for you. Whereas as a privacy professional, you're treated with respect. And it really makes you feel good.

Emma:

I had a gardener asked me what I did. And I went, Oh, I'm in data privacy, and he just glazed over. whatsoever, it was just, Oh, that's nice. And he carried on with what he was doing. So what is that, and I'm like, really you should know what that is by now, but it's the same reaction. That was a better reaction than some of my friends, because some of my friends didn't even say anything, they just went, Okay, I've moved on, you know, is, so it's a very dry subject matter. And if you're not passionate about it, if you don't get up in the morning, and think I'm really looking forward to seeing what I've got in the mailbox today, that's going to stop you in your tracks. There's only so much you can learn before you sit there and think, oh, what did I do in my life to deserve this. And without that passion, it's not going to get any better, you know, you're not going to keep learning, you're not going to try and keep, you know, taking more information about lots of different things and researching everything else that comes along with it. You know, there were times when I would get through some of my study, and I would look at a topic and go, I know nothing about that. And I would veer off and learn something completely new so that I understood this one paragraph in the textbook. And not everybody would do that. Because they don't have that passion of learning. It's almost a requirement, it almost needs to be written into the requirement when you start studying. If you don't have a passion for this subject, you need to just stop now. You know, I have had to give that advice to people before and say if you don't genuinely love this, you are going to find it difficult without a doubt. Absolutely.

Rahena:

Emma, what challenges have you had to overcome in your role so far?

Emma:

Okay, so my biggest challenge, and one that still continues, toning down my complaints training. So I instantly consider the customer's welfare instantly, regardless of what the situation is, that's where my brain goes too fast. And I sit there and think as a customer service point of view, this is what we need to do. And that's not as a data protection officer or a data protection adviser, whoever it is, you're you know you're dealing with, you need to sit in a very specific space to be able to cope with an incident when it does come in. And for me, I'm too quick at giving good customer service before protecting data. And that's only because in the past 20 odd years, my focus in my career has been customer related. It's always been the people that I'm working for that have been, you know, my focus the customers. So for me, the biggest challenge was toning that down, sitting in a data privacy seat and saying, This is what we need to do with the data. And this is what you need to do to protect that data and mitigate these circumstances because this data needs to be protected. And it hasn't been as opposed to this is what you need to say to the customer, because we've messed up, which is where I instantly go to so for me, it is getting better. I mean, I've only been doing it now for seven months. So it is a very slow process, you know, you're talking about sort of 15- 20 years of training being overruled by six months, it's not gonna happen overnight, that's still a work in progress

Jamal:

It's good, you've managed to identify that. So because you've kind of, you've laid the problem out very well, you're always halfway there to solving you're already really noticing that .

Jamal:

It came apart, it became apparent very quickly. That's

Rahena:

where I was sitting. Like in that is sort of ingrained in your previous role where you were a foster carer, and instantly, you're always thinking about your client and putting them first and being an advocate for them. And yeah, that's right, you're instantly putting yourself in their shoes.

Emma:

It's so ingrained, it's really hard to turn off. But it is is getting easier. It's definitely getting easier. And now my first focus is the data and what's happening with that, but I still catch myself especially if I'm talking to the customer relations department. I still find myself getting into those conversations with them and sort of trying to steer them down a route which I know I shouldn't be doing. So you know, eventually I'll sit there and go I shouldn't be telling you this. I'm really sorry. I shouldn't be telling you how to do the job and then back off a little bit and hope they don't hate me for it. Alright,

Jamal:

So when I speak to a lot of people, especially when they've been in privacy for a very short amount of time, and one of the things I hear a lot of people discussing is imposter syndrome. What that basically means is when people first start the career, they feel as if you know, they don't know enough or they don't belong. Can you relate to what I'm talking about?

Emma:

Yes, yeah. I'm one of three in our team. And I've got a DPO and assistant DPO. And then there's me. And yeah, you know, as you've heard, the only training I'd had was the small amount from my previous employer, and then my studies. So I mean, I was the least qualified person, I think of all time to start a job in privacy. So my DPO took a massive risk, you know, hiring somebody that didn't have, really, when you look at it any experience whatsoever. In data privacy, the only experience I've really had was life experience, in the fact that I know how to keep my own data and other people's data safe. Even now I sit at my desk, and I can't believe I'm there. Really, I can't believe that it's happened the way it has. That's the day it's a daily struggle.

Jamal:

Oh, how'd you cope with or to overcome that?

Emma:

The way I deal with it is, I know, I ask probably too many questions. I rely on people slightly too much. Sometimes, when I don't need to say everybody gets like this when you start a new job. And you've got someone there as a helper, who will help train you and things like that, you start to rely on them, even when you know what you're doing. So you'll be answering your own question when you're asking it to them. And you know that you shouldn't be asking them the question and wasting their time you kind of know what the answer is already. What I do is, it's gonna sound ridiculous. I pretend there's nobody else available. So I pretend that everyone's gone home for the day. And I sit there and think to myself, if I was on my own, and I had this come up, and it was just me, how would I deal with this? And then I try as much as I physically can to answer my own questions, before I then reach out for help. And if I get to the point where I mean, I literally can't think of anything, and I'm really struggling. At that point, I will then reach out for help. Because at that point, I know that my knowledge has come to an end. And that actually, there are gaps. And it's okay to have gaps. But you need those gaps filling. So you need to go and ask for help. I try my very best to answer it as best I can. And then if I physically run out of ideas, I will then go and seek help, which gives me the sense that at least I know what I'm doing up to a point. But I also know that there's still things to learn.

Rahena:

I saw a lot of your posts on LinkedIn, but you had to compile a cookie report and present it to the executive board. How was that?

Emma:

So luckily, I was there when it was presented, I must be honest with you, I'm not the greatest at talking to people higher up in the company as of yet, because I haven't had that experience. I'm quite good at having a conversation with somebody but presenting information, especially information that I've compiled, I have a lot of self doubt in the information that I have found. It's just that when I looked at it, I did sort of say pretty sure there will be gaps. But if there are, let me know, and I'll find out. And that's something that is again, ingrained in me there's that self doubt. So I didn't have to present it. I was very nervous about doing it very nervous, because you know, these people are out there, you know, I'm sort of low down in the ranks. I'm sort of, you know, minion number one, if you like, and other people that are looking down at you going, why haven't you done it yet. So I was very nervous. It's just it's just like presenting to anybody. The only differences is they like it quick, concise, and to the point, because you know, they have a lot of things that are on their mind, your report is one of many, it's not going to be the be all and end all of their day, it's just going to be one extra part of their day. So you have to think about it that if you do present it and you know, you do mess up presenting it. It's not the end of the world. But actually, if your report tells them what they need to know, they don't really need to listen to you anyway, they've already got it there in front of them. So what you're saying to them isn't gonna necessarily break their day, if you mess up. Everything's gonna be fine. So then get past that.

Jamal:

And now that you've got that under your belt, how do you feel that helped you to grow as a professional?

Emma:

So from for me, seeing things change as a result of my work has been huge. I never make impact. It doesn't matter where I work. I mean, I make a personal impact because I'll talk to anyone but to have my actual work physically have an effect on not only the company but the company's websites, you know, their cookie banners, their cookie policies. I've written some of their cookies. I've written some of their privacy policies. And to see that on a website, and to see that change that potentially hundreds of 1000s of people are going to see, that's huge for me never happened before. So I came away quite proud and quite smug about the whole situation, because I thought, yeah, you know, at least I'm making a difference. And actually, at least it's happening the way I want it to now, it's not a dream, it's actually reality to just as good. And as you should, the main thing.

Jamal:

I really loved that Emma, and I hear this thing quite often, it's only when you get a job as a privacy professional, that you actually suddenly find that you have a meaningful, rewarding job where you're able to make a real impact, and help hundreds of 1000s of people by doing what you love to do. And a lot of my students come and say, I'm frustrated in my job, I hate my job, I'm doing it, I'm running a process, I don't really need to use my brain, I don't need to think a robot could be doing it is this the reason I went and did all this hard work to do a process. And what they find is when they get themselves a job as a data privacy professional, suddenly, now they wake up with a passion, they wake up with the purpose, and they find this meaning in a rewarding career. Alright, so you've touched on a few things that you really love about your job, what is the single one thing that you most enjoy about your role as a privacy professional,

Emma:

It's hard to pin down one thing, I do love incident response, I will say that that's the biggest part of my role at the moment, and potentially pretty much every day, I love the fact that I can put all of my complaints training into practice, because I have to pick apart the situation. And I love picking apart situations and finding the root cause picking it apart until you get to that one thing that's caused the problem, and then saying, Okay, well, what could have happened, you know, hindsight is 2020, but actually being able to sit there and say, Well, you know, in the future, we need to be doing this, in the future, please don't send yourself information, because that's going to fly up. And that's going to cause me a headache, you know, so that, for me is a massive win, because I can put all of my skills together, and what I love doing, and I didn't think I'd be able to do that, you know, I started my privacy career thinking, I'm gonna have to put it all in a box, stick it under the bed and forget about it. Whereas now, you know, with incidents, I can use that investigation to be able to find out what's happened. And that has come from years and years of training and being able to do it in other roles. And I don't think I would find that as easy if I'd have just been thrown at it and not had that experience in the past. So for me, that's a huge thing to be able to put the two and two together,

Jamal:

You've mentioned a little bit about your past experience. And I do want to come back to this, a lot of people listening might be under some kind of impression, to become a data privacy professional, you need to be a lawyer or you to have some kind of legal background or some kind of legal education, you don't have any legal education. In fact, you have a very creative background. And you have a variety of experience. So you're living proof that that's not the case. Why don't you tell us a little bit more about that?

Emma:

So I had the same question. Probably around April, May time last year, when I knew I was going to be made redundant. And I was studying for my qualification. I sort of got to the point where eventually, you know, I saw all these different lawyers on LinkedIn posting about GDPR. And I thought, Oh, goodness sake, might have to go and you know, get a law degree before I can even get into the world of privacy. So I put it on LinkedIn and said, you know, what, what do people advise, and I can remember who it was that told me to stop worrying. And it was the DPO, of Carnival Cruises. And he said to me, your customer relations background is your biggest strength, you have the ability to not only look at a privacy situation with a fresh set of eyes, but also with the ability to look beyond the obvious. You know, a lot of people are so focused on the data on what's happened, that they can't see, you know how to stop that from happening, or you know, what's best in the bigger picture. They see this is the data, this is what's happened, this is what should have happened. This is what we need to do in the future. They don't see everything around that like the training all the culture of the company. And actually, that sort of put me at my ease and stopped me from worrying and helped me carry on with my studies because without that, I think I probably would have veered off and started a law degree that I didn't want to do that, for me was quite substantial in helping to continue my studies and actually continue my progression onto that room.

Jamal:

So you are living proof that you don't have to have a legal background and you definitely don't need to be a lawyer to succeed as a data privacy professional. Alright, thank goodness. Okay, all right question for you. If you had to go back and give yourself one piece of advice, what would that be? Ah,

Emma:

That's a tough one. Because there's probably quite a few. I'm a real worrier. I worry all the time. So are we talking about like, sort of age five, or like a year? Where would you like to live is a very different set of advice. The advice I would give, draw on your strengths, because actually, I do have a lot of self doubt I always have done and actually sometimes it can be quite debilitating, you know, and there are some days where you get up and you think I'm no good at this, and I don't understand it, and I can't take it in. And actually, you know, retaining this information is impossible. You know, that's why I started doing the Star Trek project, because I wanted to test how much knowledge i'd retained, because I didn't have a gauge as to how well I was doing or how badly I was doing and what the gaps were. So I think, you know, this time last year, I probably would have given myself the advice of start a project, add on to it, help yourself, determine what you're learning and what you're missing. And that will make your journey easier. But at the same time is all a balance, you can't you can't constantly be trying to fill those gaps. But if you're still trying to learn other things, you can't be constantly trying to learn, you know, several different things at once, it just won't go in properly, fine. So properly give is just relax. sure you know what you're learning, make sure you can retain it, make sure you know what you're retaining. Continue with that, because it all works out. In the end, I'd love to be able to tell myself, you know, a year ago, it all works out, everything's fine, just relax.

Jamal:

So many people actually need to hear that. And I meet people all the time, who are overthinking things or always doubting themselves. And one of the things that we start off with the students that come in, through the academy is, we start off with a mindset. So we strip away all of those self limiting decisions or things that are holding themselves back. And we build them up with this positive world class professional privacy mindset. And that really launches everything that's about to come when we go. And we really help them to grasp the theories of the CIPD, the European data protection legislation. And then once we've done that really delve them into master classes. So they don't just have the theory, but they are a subject matter expert by the time they come out of the master classes. And then we give them the practical experience. So you spoke about the importance of practical experience. So we make sure that they have a chance on doing this live or shadowing. So they actually get to apply that knowledge in practice. And so that when it comes to answering questions, or solving those problems, they can really solve it. And finally, we really help them with the personal branding. So you spoke about how you was fortunate because someone in your LinkedIn saw a post, from a networker or a connection of yours, and how that really helped you to get to where you are now. So we put that whole package together. And I remember when I first reached out to you to join PrivacyPros community, you were like I wish I had come across this a year ago. For someone that's thinking or on the verge of deciding whether they should jump in and join the Academy, what would your advice be to them?

Emma:

Go in with an open mind, you may find certain aspects that you really do enjoy, you truly love it, you it will suddenly click and you won't find it as difficult as you think I genuinely thought that I would understand very little, and that I wouldn't get anywhere with it. And actually, I'd end up just giving up. And I surprised myself in the first month of studying with just how much I understood. So it's always going to be easier than you think, you know, you can build it up and build it up. But actually, when you're sat there learning about it, it will be surprisingly easy to understand what the actual process of the academy sounds like a very well thought out process. You know, being able to start with a positive mindset. And being able to start with that is is a great way of doing it. Because actually, there will be people who will be quite nervous about it and will be very worried, you know, like I was about not being able to understand it and actually being able to retain it. But the process sounds like it follows how it should, you know, you should be able to get that theory first and then move on to the practical side. Because as much as sort of hitting the ground running is great. Without that practical, without that theory behind it, you are going to be lost. Okay, so it's a well thought out process.

Jamal:

If you're sat where we're sat and you have to ask yourself a question, what would that question be? And what would your answer be?

Emma:

Why didn't you start doing this three years ago? It never even occurred to me, it never occurred to me that this was something that you could do as a career. I don't know why it just seems like one of those. It's a bit like having a coffee taster for a coffee company. You know, you don't really think that they exist but you know, somewhere that somebody should at least be doing it in the background. And it never occurred to me that this was a career. It never occurred to me that it's just something that people would do for a living, you know, I just thought it was something that everybody did as part of their role, I didn't think there was one person that did all of this. And then, you know, you just kind of helped them along with it to find if known, you know, three, five years ago, that this was an actual job, and that you could do it as a career, I think I'd probably go back and go, you need to start thinking about this. Start doing it now. Because in five years time, you're going to need it. Where do you see your future in data privacy, at the moment, I'd like to get to my year, that would be nice, you know, being in the in the industry for you, it'd be great. I'm just past my probation. So that's a win resolution. I would like to get to the point where I can see myself doing a DPO role in the far future. There's a long way to go before that. For me personally, getting to that point is my ultimate aim. But before then I need to learn how to do you know, records of processing activities, I need to learn, you know how to do DPIA's, I need to learn how to do legitimate interest assessments as a whole range of things that I want to be able to do that, you know, there's courses that I want to be able to go on, there's degrees that I want to go and get. So it's a long process for me, but my next step is to try and find something to really get my teeth into and learn something new.