#5QsforCPOs: Pat Manzo – EVP, Global Customer Service & Chief Privacy Officer @ Monster

In our #5QsForCPOs blog series, OneTrust conducts short, informative interviews with CPOs and senior-level privacy pros to uncover insights about their organization’s privacy practices, and to gain further understanding of their thought processes as a privacy team leader.

1. What career experience best prepared you to become EVP, Global Customer Service & Chief Privacy Officer of Monster?

This is really my third career –– my first career was as a naval officer, where I was involved in communications security, and served as my introduction to data security issues. Military service teaches you to think about things in a structured, goal-oriented way, which is of obvious use in a leadership role. My second career was as a practicing attorney –– a mix of corporate work and commercial litigation. Understand the legal aspects of privacy as well as the objective- and goal-oriented side of the business have been very helpful.

2. What has been your number one privacy priority at Monster this year and why?

We’ve had two or three top priorities for the last several years. I limit us to three, because if everything is considered important, then nothing’s truly important. Our first priority is to make sure we’re complying with the laws and regulations in every place we’re doing business, but, more importantly, to make sure we’re acting consistently with the reasonable expectations of our job seekers. Our second priority is to be transparent and provide job seekers with meaningful choices regarding how their data is collected, stored, transferred, and used. Our third priority is to identify ways to make privacy a competitive differentiator. I believe that consumers will make more and more choices in the future based on which companies they think are trustworthy, and part of earning trust is properly handling personal information and providing value in exchange for the use of that information.

3. What do you feel are Monster’s biggest privacy strengths and weaknesses?

We do a good job of understanding our data flows at the company. That is critically important, because if you don’t understand how data moves, you can’t be sure you’re managing the privacy and security of that data. We’re also very transparent and provide our customers with meaningful choices. There’s always room for improvement, of course, and this is an area where will continue to focus our attention and efforts.

In terms of challenges, ours are similar to others, and largely revolve around the rapidly changing landscape of regulations, particularly those in of Europe. There isn’t as much guidance – and it’s not as clear as I’d like it to be – on how we should be evolving our privacy practices to meet both the letter and the spirit of these regulations, and how we can do this in a way that allows us to grow and deliver what I think are important services: helping people find great jobs, and helping companies find great employees.

4. Which privacy subjects are you most passionate about and why?

Professionally speaking, it’s really simple: avoiding surprises. If we surprise our customers, that means we’ve failed in our mission of being transparent and offering meaningful choices. I want Monster to be a responsible steward of the information that our job seekers entrust to us, within the context of why we were entrusted with that information. Looking more broadly, beyond our industry, everybody ought to be concerned about the fact that, as a society, we’re collecting massive amounts of data about everyone, everywhere, and we’re keeping it forever, and we don’t always have a good reason to collect all that data. We might have a use for it at some point in the future. For instance, collecting lots of health information could accelerate the progress of medical research, and allow us to better treat disease. Conversely, it could also be used to deny people insurance coverage or employment opportunities, so we need to look at the uses of that information carefully.

5. What’s a quirky thing or a funny story that your privacy team doesn’t know about you… yet?

My team has often commented on my frequent use of analogies. This is probably a holdover from when I did litigation, as it’s a great way to explain complicated things. I tend to favor either football of automobile analogies –– for some reason, those seem to fit well within the context of our business.