Influential Women in Privacy: Tash Whitaker

Welcome to our video interview series: Privacy Leaders! We interview the best and the brightest minds in the privacy space to get their insights on all things privacy and regulation including the infamous EU General Data Protection Regulation, California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the future of privacy, how to automate your privacy program and more.

Today, in honour of International Women’s Day, we have Tash Whitaker, Global Data Compliance Director at Whitaker Solutions.

Read on to see Tash’s insights and advice, or if you prefer video you can watch the highlights video below.

How has the GDPR influenced the Privacy landscape?

It has certainly brought data protection to the forefront of people’s minds. It has also become the gold standard of data protection for other countries to use as a template in shaping their regulations.

Why is privacy the place to be for women in tech?

I actually wouldn’t say it is in tech. Many, many successful female privacy practitioners are not technical. Privacy is not always a technical role, it is about understanding the business, understanding the regulation and its application.

Understanding tech is useful, but I find it’s more important to have a network of people who know more about the tech than you that you can call on.

What does a typical day in the life of a privacy Professional look like?

There is no typical day. You try and plan a typical day and you will get blindsided with queries that you weren’t expecting that mean you need to drop everything and any plans you may have had and do that instead.  

Generally, I have about 4 hours of scheduled meetings a day, about 50 slack questions and queries from different people and then write-ups and project work in the evenings. Plus a good dose of procrastination.

Tash Whitaker

What advice do you have for women interested in a career in Privacy?

Just do it. Learn as much as you can about the theory and then throw yourself in. 

Tash Whitaker

What are your top tips for success?

I’m still looking for those! At the moment my general tips are: 

1) it’s ok to say “I don’t know” and then go and research it.

2) Surround yourself with a network of supportive data protection professionals that you can use as a sounding board

3) Be prepared to work long hours if you are to stay up to date with learning everything as it happens

4) You have to love what you do. Once you lose that passion, you need to stop.

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