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Dr. Rebecca Wynn

Dr. Rebecca Wynn

Executive, Global CISO, Privacy & Risk Officer – author, keynote speaker, consultant

Named a Top 100 Women in Technology 2021 – IBM, Women in Technology Business Role Model of the Year 2018, 2017 Cybersecurity Professional of the Year – Cybersecurity Excellence Awards, Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) SC Magazine, and Global Privacy and Security by Design (GPSbyDesign) International Council Member

Dr. Rebecca Wynn is lauded as a “game-changer who is ten steps ahead in developing and enforcing cybersecurity and privacy best practices and policies.” She is a “big picture” thinker who brings over 20 years of experience in information security, assurance, and technology. Well known for leading the information security, privacy, and compliance pre-acquisition, acquisition, and post-acquisition of LearnVest, Inc. to Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – a Fortune 100 company; leading the global security/privacy/compliance Paradigm Shift: redefining engagement of [24] through AI Technology – Technology Magazine December 2020; and the HITRUST certification of Matrix Medical Network & subsidiaries.

Hailed for being a gifted polymath, having deep understanding of current cyber security challenges and privacy issues. Award winning track record of taking companies to the next level of excellence in many sectors including government, financial services, fintech, healthcare, information technology, legal, semiconductors, and retail.

What attracted you to data management or IT, and why did you choose to pursue this career?

I am not quite sure, maybe it was because I was captain of the Mathletes team in high school. In college, I started off as a chemistry major, so I was always doing qualitative and quantitative analysis, as well as being super sharp in statistics for which I was teaching assistant. I also excelled at programming and being a valuation engineer from a pen tester standpoint. Being a well-known polymath, it just took me awhile to find my true career niche as a strong technical business minded expert in my field (I had a successful career before this in financial services.) Now, I am doing what I love. Life is too short to do otherwise.

What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far, and why has it been important to your career?

I have been fortunate to have success and great accomplishments for each corporation I have worked. 2020 was a huge challenge as I had to think through new privacy regulations, contractual requirements, PCI, CCPA, GDPR, EU Privacy Shield, world-wide business continuity/ incident response / disaster recovery / pandemic response in moving 10,000 global employees to their homes / other residences safely and while at the same time maintain client and consumer trust. To do that for a corporation that was not working from home and needing to do so almost overnight for multiple divisions including a global 24×7 call center operations was a tremendous accomplish. Additionally, was proactive in meeting with current clients, new clients, marketing, and legal to foster resiliency for the company. Any accomplishment does take a team to make all the pieces fit together.

What are the two or three biggest challenges you face as a data management professional / CDO and how can we address them?

There are many evolving technologies that will continue to transform our thinking about the use of information and the protections it may deserve. Technology is going faster than legislation and best practices frameworks. Being able to properly tag data as it enters and as it leaves the organization is critical. Companies really must be better at future thinking that the “right to be forgotten” and “opt out” is going to be expanding not contracting.

Historically, we have seen that companies think that they own users and many times client’s data. Clients and users both believe they own data that is created on their behalf. With all the new privacy and similar regulations over the past couple of years, revamped ones, and new ones just issued, there is a STORM coming.

From a business standpoint, you can expect to see successful CDO’s continue to struggle with providing measurable business outcomes e.g., how to reduce customer churn as well as deliver specific outcomes such as data quality; balancing tactical and strategic initiatives especially when it comes to technology implementation (CDOs should leave implementation to the CIO and Chief Technology Officer (CTO); lastly, they need sandbox environments in order to experiment with digital emerging technologies in order to look for the best use cases to develop past the pilot stage.

How do you see data management / the role of the CDO / IT changing in the next 2 – 3 years?

The Chief Data Officer (CDO) has been increasingly clashing with CISO, Chief Privacy Officer (CPO), and Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) as they scrutinize company data to find new data streams. They must transform into being strong collaborators and getting direction. You increasingly are seeing that CISO’s are forced to be the “watchdogs” of ambiguous CDO’s. That is also why I belief there is a sharp upward trend to hire CISO’s like myself who can quickly bridge that gap and help to drive revenue while maintaining contractual obligation, compliance, and data privacy. Hence the rise of CISO’s like myself becoming Chief Trust Officers (CTrO), Chief Innovation Security Officer (CinSO / CISO) and Chief Product Security Officer (CPSO).

Do you have any planned next steps for your career?

I am currently looking for the best company fit for me going forward. Really enjoy companies in the transformation stage and not complacent in yesteryear thinking. Additionally, currently interviewing sponsors for my upcoming podcast, and my book should be coming out June 2022.

What is the single best piece of advice you have received in your data management / IT career so far?  Why has it been so important to you?

Breathe – take a beat. When looking back over my life and career, as well as reading technology stories, it is easy to see that many missteps / griefs were the result of not either given the issue enough thought before making a decision or having all necessary information.

Can you share something about yourself as a person that people wouldn’t know about you?

I actively play trombone in groups such as South Mountain Latin Jazz Big Band and Scottsdale Concert Band. Both are awarding winning and highly praised groups in the industry. Additionally, I am a photographer (normally nature and landscapes). To quickly decompress and get focused I as well like to juggle

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