Hi, my name is Jamal Ahmed and I'd like to invite you to listen to this special episode of the #1 ranked Data Privacy podcast.
In this episode, we're joined by Siobhan Solberg, privacy consultant and renowned marketing expert. Siobhan shares her experience on the Privacy Pros Accelerator programme, her journey from marketing to Privacy and tips for a successful career.
Get inspired to take your career to the next level!
She stops privacy from messing with company growth. Empowering marketing teams with the strategies they need to scale ethically, sustainably, and with respect for their customers. With over a decade in optimization and measurement, Siobhan knows a thing or two about growth and created the course on personalization for CXL. She’s also known to rock a stage and has shared her knowledge at conferences such as Superweek and The Copywriter Club, delivering harsh truths with characteristic candor.
When not pushing the boundaries of privacy and marketing, Siobhan loves to test her own physical limits. And can often be found cold water swimming and training for her next Ironman or building lego.
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A lot of people joke and they say, I'm like the translator that sits in the middle because I'm translating from one to another. And it does feel like that a lot of times when I'm having a conversation. The legal team and the privacy team want exactly the same thing as the marketing team. They just see different ways of getting there, and it's just miscommunication and not understanding because everyone uses different terms. Now I wake up in the morning, I'm excited to figure out what's new, and I am the type of person that needs a constant challenge. After I sat for the CIPM, I realized that even though I passed them in flying colours, I didn't really learn much. I read the book, I studied, I got done, and I was missing a little bit of that practical knowledge that I wanted.Intro:
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Welcome to the Privacy Pros Academy podcast by Kazient Privacy Experts, the podcast to launch progress and excel your career as a privacy pro.Intro:
Hear about the latest news and developments in the world of privacy. Discover fascinating insights from leading global privacy professionals, and hear real stories and top tips from the people who've been where you want to get to.
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We've trained people in over 137 countries and counting.Intro:
So whether you're thinking about starting a career in data privacy or you're an experienced professional, this is the podcast for you.Jamal:
I have an amazing guest with me today. And today's guest is one of my favourite marketers. In fact, she's not just one of my favourite marketers, she's one of the best at what she does in the world, and that is none other than Siobhan Solberg. Siobhan is the protector of privacy and marketing. She's a consultant and the founder of Raze. She's also the host of an amazing podcast, Marketing Unfucked. She stops privacy from messing with company growth, empowering marketing teams with the strategies they need to scale, ethically, sustainably, and with respect for their customers. With over a decade in optimization and measurement, Siobhan knows a thing or two about growth and created the course on personalization for CXL. She's also known to rock a stage and has shared her knowledge at conferences such as that Super Week, the Copywriter Club, delivering harsh truth with characteristic candour. When not pushing the boundaries of privacy. And Martin Sioux loves to test her own physical limits and can often be found cold water swimming and training for her next iron person or building Lego because she finds that difficult but very satisfying. Siobhan. Welcome to the Privacy Pros Podcast.Siobhan:
Thank you for having me, Jamal. It's a pleasure.Jamal:
It is an absolute pleasure. All right, Siobhan, we always start off with an interesting question. So if your last week was a song, what song would it be?Siobhan:
Oh, my, that's a good one. I knew there was going to be an icebreaker. I couldn't have guessed this one. What would my song be? I'll go with a really corny 80s ballad, don't stop believing. I've had a rough week that tested me a little bit, but in a good way. And I think sometimes just remembering and believing in yourself is what gets you through those weeks and they make you stronger. So yeah, I think I'll go with that song.Jamal:
Siobhan, you're great at marketing, and now you have an interest in privacy as well. In fact, we've spent almost four months together over the course of the last six months learning more about privacy. But I want to know what piqued your interest in privacy?Siobhan: really ended up that when in: Jamal:
And you speak about the intersection of privacy and marketing, and you said you are playing or people messing with people's personal data. What was it about those two things coming together that was like, you know what, that's where I want to dedicate the next 5,10 years of my life and be greater?Siobhan: it's not new, right? We're in: Jamal:
Wow, awesome. Sounds like you have super fun conversations and you know, you have a very unique skill set and a very unique approach because marketing, most people without dealing with marketing, they understand marketing, they understand the cookies, they understand the analytics, they understand how the data works and how to really drive that data to get results. Then the privacy will come in and say, well, from a legal point of view, we can't really do that. And have you thought about complying with this and have you ticked this box off and have you completed this template and yada yada And the marketing team is like, those guys, forget about it. And then you've got legal in the corner there which is all about, hey, I'm here to protect the interest of the company and legally you can't do this. I'm legal counsel, go away. Right? But you've come in and you’re like the triangle and bringing it together. You’re like the centre of all those three things coming together, which is super powerful because you can speak to marketers and be cool like them because you were a cool marketer, and you understand their language so you can have fun with them. You can go to privacy; you can speak the lingo with privacy. In fact, you could probably educate privacy on a thing or two. And you also understand the legal complications of that because of all of the efforts that you've been putting in and how much you've taken an have an avid interest in building that legal knowledge up as well. Why do you think that is such a powerful skill set to have? And how have you seen new overcoming challenges that maybe sometimes the privacy or legal on their own couldn't solve?Siobhan:
I think there’s a simple one word answer as to why that's so powerful and it's enabling communication, right? It's all about communication. And ultimately when various teams talk to each other and that might include privacy, legal and marketing and they have communication and they understand each other, they'll end up realizing they're on the same page. A lot of people joke and they say, I'm like the translator that sits in the middle because I'm translating from one to another. And it does feel like that a lot of times when I'm having a conversation. The legal team and the privacy team want exactly the same thing as the marketing team. They just see different ways of getting there and it's just miscommunication and not understanding because everyone uses different terms and naturally we have egos. So it's harder for us to say, I don't understand, please explain. It is easier to go to a consultant like me and say she's going to be here and translate for us. Everyone's ego stay intact, everyone's happy in their department and I get to facilitate that conversation. Obviously my goal is to leave right, and have them all talking to each other. Because if privacy sits in with marketing from the beginning, if marketing includes them from the beginning, there are so many less bottlenecks and they can get things done. Concerns can be raised quite quickly, you can address them. It's almost like a mini privacy by design project, right? If you come in at the beginning of the campaign as privacy, you can ask questions right away. That allows marketing to also try and fix the solution instead of going in at the very end when you're saying I need your approval now and the easiest thing to say is no, especially if you don't understand it. And no one's kidding when cookies, analytics, this stuff is not fun to understand and it is not necessarily the legal team's job to understand it. It's their job to understand the laws, right? So this is a little bit where I have that sweet spot and I don't understand everything in legal either. But what is nice is that I don't have that ego because I'm not invested in one specific department. So I can say I'm not quite sure I understand you here, but let's talk this through and it allows me this beautiful intersection there.Jamal:
That's great. And I love how you're mentioning it's all about understanding the objectives because at the end of the day, even though they're different departments in the business, the company is still the same company that will have the same overall objective. And as privacy professionals, one of the things that we both know is we need to understand what are the objectives of the other areas of the business and how can we go and support those, help them to do what they want to do whilst we do that in a way that is ethical, in a way that is compliant and in a way that is not going to risk the reputation of the business in a way that's not going to risk all of that trust that we work so hard to build up. And actually it's going to help us to inspire more confidence so we can actually attract more clients and customers and win more business. And it's when you become a world class privacy professional and you have the understanding, you have the ability to translate with marketing, with legal, with different other areas of the business, you really become truly valuable. And you've demonstrated that you can take that value to another level by adding that world class expertise from your marketing analytics and cookies that legal would no way understand. They saw higgledy piggeldy and when they go and speak to legal and they start regurgitating article, it's a lot more higgledy piggeldy. So you've managed to make, you've got all of these crazy ingredients together and you manage to make an amazing dish and people just can't get enough of it.Siobhan:
It's fun. I think it's essential though. I think ultimately privacy and the legal bit of things do have to start going out into the real world a little bit more. I feel that people need to understand what is regulating their data, if they're working with their data on a basic level. So yes, I work with clients and I go translate everything and I help them with their data structures and privacy elements. But really what I think I enjoy the most, like just educating and not just educating, but talking about it and talking to people at conferences, talking to people online, mentoring and showing that other side. I've talked to so many marketers now, my whole network where they're starting to ask questions and they're starting to get answers from me who's trying to explain it in plain marketing terms and it allows them to really grasp it. And that's when you have these, everyone has these AHA moments like oh, that's what this is about. It's not actually trying to just shut me down and that's where I really thrive. I really get my pleasure from that right, because it allows them to see it. And that's when privacy will start winning, that's when our customers, ultimately users will start winning is when everyone starts thinking on those terms.Jamal:
I agree, absolutely. Now one of the things that we love to often talk about is getting that balance right between the risk and the value to the business. Not blocking but actually enabling. Talk to us more about that because that is something that you're super passionate about.Siobhan:
Yeah, I'm really passionate about balancing risk and I always ask people like, what's your appetite for risk? And I think it really comes out of the organization what kind of balance they're going to strike. But I do think it's really important to find a balance because you don't want to stop a company from growing. Because I don't think ever anyone thought when GDPR came out, they didn't think we're going to shut down businesses, they didn't think we're going to make it so hard that you can't make money. That was not their purpose. And I think if we look at the principles of the GDPR and the overarching kind of message of the GDPR and apply that to how we run our business, we'd already met so much and then the little laws, this specific regulation, et cetera, can be addressed. But I think for a company, it's really helpful to look at the overall picture, the principles, the meaning of it, adjust themselves a little bit accordingly, which will not hinder growth. It's just going to make you ask those hard questions. It's going to start making you ask, what data do I really need to grow? Instead of collecting everything under the sun, which is the easiest thing to do and also the most satisfying thing to do, you start collecting what you actually need to make decisions off of. None of that has ever hindered your growth. You've just had to make that hard decision and think what you needed. Yeah, there's a balance and sometimes you do need to look at the regulations and say, okay, I'm not so sure. Maybe I need to take a little risk here because I need to keep my business alive and growing. But I don't think you have to break the law to grow. It's a matter of dotting your I's and crossing your T's and making sure you're writing down your processes, you're really thinking about what it is you need and then finding that balance. But no, I definitely don't agree with those that are privacy, privacy, privacy, and nothing else. I really think that it is essential for a business to grow. And if the business doesn't grow, then we don't have any personal data we're going to collect and take advantage of anyway. It's a tough one. I know that a lot of people don't agree with me, but what I would say is respect your user, respect their data, and make sure you still can make money.Jamal:
Great. I love that. And if you're listening 100%, do not break the law. We never encourage anyone to break any laws. We should be compliant with rule laws. And Siobhan wasn't saying, hey, break the law, or allow businesses to break the law or bend it or go into the grey area. What Siobhan is saying is if you're going to come to a business with a templated approach and you're going to say, this is the template I bought online or I've created or someone's given me in some random training I've done. And this is the truth. This is the one way, the only way, and the way we're going to do everything. And I do this everywhere, and I've done this for the last 30 years in all companies. That's not going to work. Every single business is unique. Every single business is different. Every single business has their own unique way of doing it. So you need to take those templates, rip them up, shred them in the bin, and never think about them again. Because you're doing not just yourself a disservice, not just the entire industry a disservice, but you're doing your employer or your client, the one who's paying your bills, the one who's funding you to have the lifestyle that you want, that's funding you to feed your family, that's funding you to take care of yourself. You're doing them a massive disservice because you're stopping them from growing. You're stopping them from thriving not because it's the right thing to do, but because in your mind, you think that's the only way of doing things. And you're absolutely wrong. Right? This is the one thing that makes me mad the most is when clients get on the phone to me and say, hey, our internal DPO or has said this, you heard you speak about something different in the past, can you have a look at it? It's because they take this very narrow tunnel vision approach and they forget about the pragmatic picture. And you're absolutely right, Siobhan. Privacy absolutists get on my nerves a little bit because we live in a real world, we have real challenges. Not every single business is in a position to be absolute. Yes, we should work towards that, but we have to come in with that pragmatic point of view and we have to meet the business. We have to meet the different areas of the business where they are, educate them, kindly empower them, and then start moving in the right direction. And along the way, we're not going to get everything right 100% of the time. But even the law doesn't require you to get everything right 100% of the time. It requires you to take reasonable measures on a balance of probabilities. And so this pragmatic approach where you say, we have to understand where they are, what their objectives are, and we have to understand what the law says and come up with a pragmatic solution in the middle, I am 100% all for that.Siobhan:
Yeah, I couldn't agree more. I think it's so important to just look at the unique situation from everywhere, but everyone needs to start somewhere. So if a template helps you understand that's, great. But then you need to start looking at the business and say, now, how do I need to adjust that? How do I need to make, what do I need to consider? I started with templates. I remember you showing us some templates and I've learned over the time to adjust them and make them work for me or have them as a guide to make them work for various clients and companies. So they're not bad and they're a really great learning tool and they're a really great way to step into the business. But yes, you need to look at every situation as its unique situation. And I don't think you could have said it better.Jamal:
Thank you. And just on the note of templates. I'm not saying that templates don't work and you shouldn't use templates. I'm saying you should have frameworks. The template there is a tool, it's an idea, it's a guide. You take that tool, you take the idea, you take that guide and then you develop it. You see how much of it matches, what you need, how much of it doesn't, and then you build up your own toolkit, just a bit like Siobhan has been doing. And we'll get into the program in a minute Siobhan. One of the things you mentioned was respect for user, respect for the data subject, respect for everything that you do. And you also mentioned the word ethics earlier. I want to ask you a question as a marketer, let's put your marketing hat on now and then balance that with your privacy. Can Ad tech ever be ethical?Siobhan:
Oh, that's a good one. Marketers will kill me if I say no, but I think that's probably the truth. Meaning ad tech, the way most people think of ad tech I don't think can be ethical. I think there are people trying very hard to find ways around it that would serve the same solution, let's say, in a more ethical way, and there are ways you can be compliant. I think the industry got into, dug themselves into a pretty nasty hole and everyone thinks of it as very unethical and what they do is not good and they're trying to take advantage and they're spamming you. But ultimately the concept, the whole idea of ad tech and what it really does, it can be ethical and it can be also good. So if you take that away from the reputation that they have, I think it is possible. But it needs work. It needs work and I think mostly it needs a change of mindset within that industry for it to get there.Jamal:
What do you think needs to happen for us to see that huge shift in mindset?Siobhan:
I think it's probably slowly happening. There are a couple of people in companies who are trying to reinvent the wheel, let's say, and they have shifted that mindset a bit. And also with all the privacy laws everywhere in the world coming into play, it's sort of forcing a hand, right? It's saying that things aren't okay and they're going to need to be taken a look at and there are always going to be people trying to find a way around it, right, find that loophole or whatever. But I think because privacy and privacy laws are becoming so prevalent everywhere, they don't have a choice anymore to really start looking at that. And that's going to force a mindset shift. It's being forced externally by regulation and slowly they'll adjust. And I dare say that the way ad tech feels is the way marketing feels. I think that they tend to lump themselves together and marketing feels that their hands are tied in the same way. And you can see a lot of marketers now trying to make adjustments in how they think about things and really just get away from being that lazy marketer that it allowed us to be. Because everything was just being done, we didn't really have to think much to do it and because there was no regulation. And now suddenly we have to think again, like, what's important? How are we talking to our customers? What's the voice? What do they really want? User interviews? So we had to get back down to the foundations of marketing. And I personally think that this is a really great thing for marketing and the ad tech industry that we have to think again what was our original purpose, what are the foundations and how can we move through with that while staying compliant?Jamal:
I completely agree. And you know, I'm so happy, I'm so pleased that we have someone like you there, one of the influencers thought leaders of all of that brilliant marketing stuff, actually saying, hey, we need to really have another think about what we're doing here. We need to think about the bigger picture. It's not about, hey, how many leads can we target today with the data that we have? It's how many of these people's trust can we cultivate so that we have them for a longer term? We can learn from them and they don't all start turning all of their cookies off and say they want nothing to do with us ever again. Because that's what we're going to see, unfortunately, is if marketers don't get things right, people will just find ways of saying, hey, I don't want to give any of my data and we don't want that either, right? Because when I go online, when I'm getting adverts, when I'm seeing things, I want those things to be customized to me. I want to see things that I would be interested in. But at the same time, I want my experience of how I experience the internet world or the online digital world. I want to have freedom for that. I don't want someone to decide for me what the reality of my digital world is going to be like because the more time we spend in the digital world, the more and more what is really out there is being shaped by the cookies that we've left behind. So that's what scares me and that's what also makes me so happy to know that we've got people like you making sure that you're doing the right thing by people, because we want people to make sure that they have the freedom over their experience of the world. And when it comes to cookies, when it comes to the spending of things online, when it comes to someone's online reality, which then is going to internalize in their mind and present themselves back in the physical reality, in the real world, it could all become very, very skewed. And we've seen things like Cambridge Analytica and other things that I'm not going to get into in this podcast, which have had a massive impact on the way it shaped society, democracy, and the kind of things it's led onto.Siobhan:
Definitely 100%. It's an interesting space because it's in the privacy space that is just starting to shift, and it's really interesting to watch. And anyone who's in privacy, if they want something entertaining and interesting and exciting to watch within privacy, that is definitely one of them, right? I mean, there's also the whole concept of AI that's obviously also an exciting space to watch, but there’s space that’s developing because of the rules and the regulation and the way it's changing. And there's also a lot of influence you can still have in the solution, which is a great space for some people who want to innovate more.Jamal:
Okay, great. And before you started searching for a solution, before you came across us, what were you kind of trying to do on your own? And what were some of your frustrations from those attempts?Siobhan:
I wasn't actually trying anything at that point. I realized there was a need for somebody with my skill set to have an understanding of privacy, and my clients pretty much demanded it at that point. So I was very lucky to have clients who had an extreme interest in getting things right, but they were small enough that they couldn't hire a DPO, let's say. And that obviously got me to the CIPM. And then after the CIPM, a lot more people started reaching out to me with privacy questions. And then there were a lot of Google Analytics cases coming up. Oh, Google Analytics is illegal, it's banned, et cetera. Which it isn't, but it's okay. Questions like this were coming up, obviously, in my day to day, because this is what I worked with. I worked with data, I worked with marketing teams. So I started realizing I needed to have an understanding. And those questions after my CIPM became more intense, more, what do we do here? Do we have to adjust our privacy notice? What do we have to do? How are the opt outs work? What’s soft opt in? What can we do? So I realized I needed a little bit more than just a CIPM. It wasn't data management at that point. It wasn't data protection management. It was really hands on. And that was really my frustration. I couldn't answer those questions. And when you went online, you have a lot of contradicting information, which is a bit surprising, but you essentially have everyone pushing their own product and making up their own interpretation. And that was frustrating me because I needed to get to the point where I had an understanding. I had actually signed up to take the CIPPE before I reached out to you, so I was already signed up to take it. I realized I needed that knowledge. I just also know myself well enough to know that I needed something a little bit more practical. That's really what drove me to get to you, that frustration of meeting client demand.Jamal:
So essentially you wanted to be more valuable to the clients, the people you were serving, they were more demanding of you. They were asking you questions, and you didn't feel equipped to be able to answer those in a way where you had confidence in yourself that, yes, this is the right answer, and I'm doing justice by giving you this answer. So you went on a quest to empower yourself, educate yourself so you can actually come back more valuable to the clients and say, yes, I can help you with that. I can help you with that. I can actually help you with that, too, now. So they get the answers that they need to meet their objectives whilst doing it in a way that's actually compliant and in keeping with trusting, user trusting, creating that trust and confidence. And before you came across us, you were searching online, you came across lots of different articles, guides, stuff. And you read something and you said one thing and you read something and you read another thing. And then there must have been other stuff that you've read which everyone always tells me about, and they had no idea how credible something was or wasn't and in fact, overwhelms you and makes you even more confused than when you first started. And all you wanted was that clarity. So you can be confident and be credible in front of your clients. Does that sound about rightSiobhan:
That's exactly right.Jamal:
So you join the program. We spent an amazing time together, as well as some of the other people on our cohort. Shout out to Somu, shout out to Ayat, shout out to Alberta and of course, Sylvester with his new bundle of joy. What results did you achieve over your time on the program?Siobhan:
It was quite interesting because the very beginning of the program obviously focused a lot more on mindset and how we have to approach things, which, even though it's something I've always been really interested in, was really nice to review, and it was really nice to also hear a different take on it. And it immediately changed a few things on how I viewed things. And it also allowed me to find the clarity in where I wanted to go with privacy, because even before you, I was unsure. And, you know, we've had these conversations, I've had these conversations with my little core group about should I try to get a position somewhere? Should I go back to school? There were so many should I's? And that allowed me the clarity, to really first focus and hone in on where I wanted to be. And that was the big first win that I had. And then going through everything that involves a CIPPE, but not just studying the articles. It was really digging into cases, getting examples from you, listening to interviews with people and understanding what data they are processing or not, reviewing and analysing privacy notices. What did we like, what did we not like? All of this kind of work, what it did for me really is just build my confidence and it was one of those unique situations where you never felt like you didn't actually know it.Siobhan:
That’s not true. When it came to the employment stuff, I didn't know it because I had no interest in ever learning it. But it was more this case of I took information I knew and I grasped it in a whole other way, I ingrained it in myself and I got to work through examples that allowed me to process my thoughts about things. And I would say this is a very safe space, which was really nice. So I would question things, I would give suggestions, and I would have a group of six people say, oh, that's a good idea actually no, not that and people challenging me and that was really great. I think that really allowed me to take my knowledge of the GDPR to a whole other level and of the requirements ultimately. And by the end, I started gaining clients during the course, you know about this. And I started working a lot more on the privacy front of things. I have within that course, kind of transitioned from being a marketing consultant to a privacy consultant who happens to also own a marketing agency. So it's kind of that transition happened. And now I really work mostly privacy. So it's mostly I work with DPOs, right? And I get to help them with the privacy element because I got that confidence from the course, but also bring in all that marketing and data expertise that they need because they don't necessarily have it. So there are a lot of wins for me there. And I do have to say though, my biggest win would probably be the core group. That is something else. I mean, everyone in that group Roberta, Ayat, Sylvester, Somu, everyone. It was just like we formed such a close bond and we didn't fear challenging each other and asking each other questions and learning from each other. And I think that that has done so much in that learning journey that you facilitated.Jamal:
You have some amazing results and all credit is due to you and every single one of you who come to join the industry, because it's you that actually puts the effort in. It's you that shows up. It's you that goes away and does the work. And I just did the guidance. I'm so happy to hear and for you to be able to share it with everyone I know you’ve shared it with me personally about how much success you've had in your career, but I want to ask you, you've had career success, but what kind of an impact has that had on your life? How has your life improved as a result?Siobhan:
For me in my personal life, it's just given me a little bit more clarity. I am a marketer by accident. I'm a data person by accident. I did not go to school for any of this. I was a professional musician for years. It was all accidental. And when you fall into a career, what happens is it means it chose you. You never chose it. And there are bits of marketing and data that I love, but I didn't know that it was not something I wanted to necessarily pursue. My marketing agency is something I love because I like the managing bit of things. So that is really nice and I like the client interactions and those challenges. And privacy was something I chose, which for me is really rewarding. Now I wake up in the morning, I'm excited to figure out what's new. And I am the type of person that needs a constant challenge, that wants nothing to be. I want my life, my personal life to be very routine. I wake up at the same time every morning, but I want my work life to be non-routine at all. I don't want to be doing the same thing over and over again. I want to have a general framework for things and then work with that and get challenged and pushed. And privacy, especially right now, because things are changing so quickly and new laws are being implemented so quickly, that gives me that and that gives me the satisfaction of going through my work day every day.
I love that. And this is one of the things I love most about what I do as well. It's very fascinating. No two days are the same. And even if you're doing the same kind of work because I mean, look, that there is, there is a finite amount of challenges or solutions that we're currently working on right now, but no two businesses are the same, no stakeholders are the same, no way of doing things are the same. So it's always so much fun, it's always a great challenge to see, okay, how can we help them overcome the challenge today? And what I love most is working with internal DPOs and internal legal counsel because they have this very skewed way of looking at it. And they take that I've been over there for the last 5,10, 15 years and here’s these consultants who haven't even been to law school coming and they think they're going to teach us a thing or two. And then you go in and usually in the first meeting they're a little bit like this, because it's not them that hires me in, it's never them that has mean, it's always marketing, it's always ops, it's always product, it's always a different area of the business. That brings me, they’re like, well, we're here, why do you need this guy? We go in and we listen and we start asking them questions. We get their buy in and usually by the second meeting they're wanting to have coffee and it's like, whoa, where did that come from? It's because firstly, they feel like they're being undermined by us coming in when it's their role to do those things. And then, secondly, they also feel a little bit threatened because they know they've been a bit stagnant where they are. And they know that consultants, especially when someone, people look up my LinkedIn profile, they get a little bit intimidated, think I'm coming in to show them up, or I'm coming in to undermine them, and they feel a little bit under threat. But the moment I start speaking to them. showing them, I'm here to understand, I'm here to make sure that the business, the rest of the business understands what they're concerned. I want to facilitate that a little bit like what you said, translate that. You become very popular, but it's not about popular, it's about seeing that you can actually help this business who couldn't see eye to eye, the departments couldn't have conversation. You're now bringing them all together and they're having great fun talking about it. They're laughing, they're cheerful, and they're all looking forward to the future and they're coming up with some great ideas. These ideas are going to benefit the company, it’s going to benefit the people who use them. Sometimes it even has a great benefit on society. And it's all because you've managed to understand them so that they can understand you. Bring them all together and read it right. And that's one of the things that you've been sharing with me that you've been doing very well during the program and from when you've finished program. Now, one of the other things I want to ask you about is during the program, what did you find most challenging and how did you overcome it?Siobhan:
I think being open to it for me personally was most challenging, having already a really solid career like everyone else in the group, so I'm not quite sure why it held me back. And I was a bit hesitant going into a group which of what I thought were going to be a bunch of privacy professionals, which they were. They're all great privacy professionals in their own right. I think it made me a bit hesitant that I was going to be in this lawyer speak group. And I'm not a lawyer by any means. I think I just came at it from a different angle and that was a challenge for me in the beginning and I definitely shut down a bit in the beginning. It didn't participate as much as I should have. That very quickly within a few weeks, changed and just flipped the other way when I started realizing that everyone else in the group was also so eager to get my take on things and that not everyone in the group was a lawyer. And it was so interesting also to get their take on things. So once you realize that everyone's just there to support each other, I think then it was fine. So really, it was about where my head was at. That was probably the hardest to get into. And I think that is probably the hardest for a lot of people going into privacy if they're not lawyers, is that hesitancy. And there are a lot of people that have reached out to me, especially within the analytics community, or, like, we'd like to get into privacy, but we're not a lawyer. We're not this. And I think there's still this conception that people need to be lawyers to be in privacy, and I'm happy to be out there not being a lawyer in privacy. And I think that it's actually privacy will really benefit from getting people from various industries into the space and getting an understanding of it because they'll be able to help with all the new things that are happening as well.Jamal:
Okay, great. And all of the value that you got through the program, all of the things that you learned, all of the confidence and clarity that you gain, how do you think that's going to help you over the next year?Siobhan:
I think it's just going to catapult me into where I want to be. I'm already in a really good space. I have made some really great gains. I work with amazing clients and amazing DPOs who really take that challenge of having a consultant come in and grab it by the horns and just go for the ride. It's been an amazing journey with some amazing clients. I'm really hoping that this will now push me into the next level of also how I think about privacy and allow me some space and confidence to develop some of my own thoughts around some things. Until now, it's been very much taking in a lot of learning and taking in a lot of what everyone else has to say. And I'm getting to that point now where I want to start voicing my own opinions a little bit more, and I want to develop my own thoughts a little bit more. Not because I think I'm so great, but I think it's mostly because I think there is some value there coming from a different industry to put those thoughts out there, if for nothing else to challenge someone else in their beliefs and for others to challenge me and for me to grow further. So that's where I'm headed. I'm also going back to school. I am going to get a law degree. Well, an LLM that's going to be a big step in my journey, but it's a part time degree, so it's fine, I can still work. So there's a lot of exciting things happening. And I do think that taking the course, getting my certifications, and having the knowledge I have now has given me the confidence to take this to a level that I didn't think I would, and that I'm very excited to be going to.Jamal:
Next question, in what area do you think you got the most value?Siobhan:
I think it's really with the practical things and the way that you challenged us to really deep dive. You gave really great examples. You gave us stuff to work with, interviews to work with, whatever it might be, and expecting us to do the work, and then talking about the work we did, it wasn't just, here's your homework, it was, here's your homework. And then you're going to be prepared to talk a whole class about your homework and the challenges. And I think that was really, for me, that it had the most value, because not only was I learning how to do the work, or how to analyse a privacy notice or how to do a DPIA, it was about hearing how five other people in the group were doing the same thing. And that was priceless because it opened you up to, you told us how you did it, then we came and did it our way and then suddenly you have all these different ways that you can think about something, and there are definitely elements and then I look at my notes, I'm like, oh, Jamal is this way, I like this way. And I'm like, oh, Batsy did this. I like this part. There are notes in there. It has everyone's name there too. I could do a whole book on the credits. It's just someone else had another way of approaching something that I didn't realise, or I didn't think of, and that ultimately has become part of my process. And I think that was probably the biggest value, going through those experiences together and doing the work and then learning from each other and everyone else's experiences through that work.Jamal:
Yeah, I agree. I take every opportunity to learn from other people as much as I can, because my experience is limited to my experience of what I've done, my vision of the world, my upbringing, my environment. Someone else is going to come in with different industry experience, different cultural background, different ways of looking at things, different training, and someone else will come in, and someone else will come in. And that's one of the reasons why I recreated those privacy pros communities, the one with the elites on Signal, and also the ones where we're all actually learning and growing. How helpful and beneficial have you have you found being in those communities?Siobhan:
I think that they're quite helpful and they're each in their own way. So I'm in a few of them because I have, of course, the accelerator community, which is a lot more friendly and poking fun at each other and pushing each other a little bit more. And then there's everything in between. And then there's the signal community of all the pros of the pros kind of thing, the privacy legends, where you learn a lot and you get to also challenge each other's thoughts, but in different ways. So there are some of the communities, I learn more, I speak a little less. And then there are some of the communities where you get to be a little bit more of a mentor and you get to help a little bit more. So I think they each serve their part, and I think all of them are quite important in someone's journey, regardless of where you are and regardless how good you are and how far into your journey you are. Because they all enable us to still learn from each other and ask for feedback and build a support around you that's essential.Jamal:
All right, last question before I give you an opportunity to ask me a question is, if someone's listening to the podcast right now and they're thinking about joining the program and a little bit on the fence, what would you say to them?Siobhan:
I would ask them to reflect on why they are on the fence. And if they're on the fence because there is some fear or they're scared or their head's getting in the way, then to jump and do it, because that's exactly what they need to get over it. If they're scared for reasons like, is this going to make me pass my CIPPE, then I don't think you're really in the right position to be going into the course because the course is about so much more. But for most people, I think it's fear that's holding them back. And if you can overcome that, then just go, because this will just, it'll build your confidence and you'll overcome that fear. And by week two, you'll wonder what you were thinking about, even thinking about not going to the course.Jamal:
Awesome. Thank you. So I'm going to let that sit. Now finally you have the opportunity to ask me a question, just like all our guests do.Siobhan:
No, but I'd love to know what your big plans are for the next year. Like, is there a big one that all of us are going to be excited about? You don't have to tell us. You can just tease it.Jamal:
I do have some really big plans for next year. I'm basically trying to outsource or hire people in. Not outsource, like outsource, delegate. A lot of the stuff that keeps me busy from producing more educational content, more educational resources, more educational guides. So I'm working really hard right now on building a high impact, high performance team, a very close knit team that can come and absorb a lot of the stuff that I do behind the scenes that no one sees. So then it frees me up to create more of those easy peasy resources and guides because that's what I love to do. And that's where I'm really bringing value to people. And when I do manage to get to create something, people love it and they always ask me for more. And there's this thing we're working on right now. The Data Protection Impact Assessment Guide. People have been asking me about that for a long time. So I put something together, it's gone out for feedback and the feedback has come back, has been absolutely amazing. Something this didn't take me a long time, but I had the ability to focus and come up with it. And then I wanted to actually do some recorded trainings and then create a live training for it. But I don't want to just do that for data protection impact assessments. I want to do that for ROPAs. I want to do that for subject access rights. I want to do that for privacy notice. I want to do that for understanding how to identify what's the appropriate lawful basis. I didn't realize so many privacy professionals actually struggle with identifying the appropriate lawful basis by having that holistic approach rather than just thinking, that will do. Well, that sounds about right. Without thinking how the impact that's going to have when they make that choice and how that's going to impact the rights and how that might limit me or restrict the business as well. So there's so many areas that I can explore and I just want to make things easy peasy so it becomes easier for privacy pros to really thrive at their roles. Because when privacy pros do well in their roles, it means that the people whose data that we're looking after, the custodians that we are of that trust, is actually being upheld. And we move closer to our goal, closer to our vision of making sure that every woman, every man and every child on this planet has control and freedom over their personal information wherever they are.Siobhan:
Nice. I'm looking forward to it. Sounds exciting.Jamal:
I'm going to bring you in, so I’m going to bring you I would ask you for your views and yeah, I've enjoyed working with you over the time that we've been on the program. The conversations that we've had are great. You bring so much insight into it from your perspective, from your journey in life, from your journey in your career, from that huge amount of knowledge that you have, from that technical side. It's great when I see your contributions in the community and I know we're all learning from each other. So it's been an absolute pleasure getting to know you, and I look forward to extending that relationship as we progress and we do some amazing things together. Siobhan it's been an absolutely amazing podcast. We spoke about the intersection of privacy and marketing. We spoke about ethics. We spoke about having that risk. We spoke about balancing the risks of being able to actually allow the business to do what they want to do. I don't know if we slated lawyers who want to take the template approach or not. It feels a little bit like we did. But hey, if you're listening and you took that to offense, then don't get mad at me and don't get mad at Siobhan. Get mad that you've been stuck doing things that way. And when you want to break out of that and you want some help on some guidance, we've got a whole community. I'm here, Siobhan's here. There's hundreds of us across the world in our community that are ready to extend our hand and welcome you in. And we'd love to help you. We'd love to work with you, we'd love to learn from you, because there's so many things we can learn from you as well. So it's a collaborative approach. So I welcome all of you that are listening to reach out, message me, don’t WhatsApp me like Siobhan did, I still don't know how she got my number, but reach out to me on LinkedIn, drop us an email, let's have a chat. You don't have to sign up to anything. We can just have a chat and we can say, hey, how can you help me? Or this is where I'm stuck in my career, this is where I'm frustrated. What would you recommend I do? And for anyone who has already been speaking on LinkedIn, you can see that I'm always sharing resources that I've created. I'm always asking you for stuff. And oftentimes when people give out stuff, they ask you for your email address. You might not pay with dollars, but you pay with data, right? I don't even ask you for that. So feel free to reach out. I am genuinely here to help and I want to see every single person do well. Siobhan, it's been an absolute pleasure having you here. Thank you so much. Are there any last words you'd love to leave the Privacy Pros listeners with?Siobhan:
No other than thank you, Jamal, for really pushing me through to where I am now. I couldn't have done it without you. And the only thing I will leave everyone with is don't forget how valuable a good mentor can be at any point in your career. Thanks again for having me. It's been an immense pleasure.Outro:
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Thank you so much for listening. I hope you're leaving with some great things that will add value on your journey as a world class Privacy pro.Outro:
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Until next time. Peace be with you.