Where Are They Now? FPF Trains a New Generation of Privacy Leaders



FPF offers up-and-coming privacy professionals fellowship opportunities, often giving new graduates experience in the privacy world. In this post, we will take a look at some of FPF’s former employees who have gone on to successful privacy careers.

Kenesa Ahmad

Formerly: Legal and Policy Fellow, Future of Privacy Forum

Currently: Partner, Aleada Consulting LLC

Kenesa Ahmad is a partner at Aleada Consulting LLC, one of the first boutique privacy and data protection consulting firms in Silicon Valley. She is also the Chair and Co-Founder of Women in Security and Privacy (WISP) which is a nonprofit organization that aims to advance women in the privacy and security industries. “We [Kenesa and 7 other women] started the organization three years ago because we recognized the converging fields of privacy and security,” said Kenesa. “We want to ensure that there is diversity in this converging field.”

Additionally, Kenesa acts as a Security & Privacy Committee Member for Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing. Previously, she worked for over four years with the Promontory Financial Group, LLC as a Privacy Associate. Kenesa says, “I was very fortunate to get a job with Promontory. I received invaluable experience from a mix of individuals who were just really smart, kind people who set me up for my job now.”

However, prior to her extensive work in these companies and committees, Kenesa received her JD from Ohio State University and LL.M. from Northwestern University. This led to her experience at FPF as a Legal and Policy Fellow for nearly two years. During her time with FPF, she worked closely with Peter Swire on various topics, including government surveillance, encryption, mobile applications, and more. In fact, she was awarded “Privacy Papers for Policy Makers 2012” for her essay “Going Dark vs. the Golden Age of Surveillance.”

“I’m so fortunate because at the time, FPF was much smaller and did not bring on many fellows. They gave me experience that I would not have gotten anywhere else. They gave me a very strong foundation in privacy,” said Kenesa. “I didn’t know it at the time, but FPF really changed my life.”

Heather Federman

Formerly: Legal and Policy Fellow, Future of Privacy Forum

Currently: Director of Enterprise Management & Privacy, Macy’s

Heather Federman attained her JD from Brooklyn Law School before she worked for FPF as a Legal and Policy Fellow from 2012-13. Since then, she has worked at Online Trust Alliance (OTA), American Express (Amex), and Macy’s in positions related to privacy. She reflects on her time at FPF, saying,

“It was a pretty exciting time for mobile privacy – the NTIA was undergoing its multistakeholder mobile app transparency process, the FTC was updating COPPA, and the California AG was tweeting at companies that their apps needed privacy policies. As a FPF Fellow, I had the opportunity to be involved in these efforts as well as our own internal initiatives like Mobile Location Analytics.”

After FPF, Heather became the Public Policy Director for OTA, which advocates for best practices to enhance the protection of security, privacy, and identity, while educating businesses, policymakers, and stakeholders. She met her boss at OTA through her work at FPF.

Heather then proceeded to work in the corporate world for Amex as the Senior Privacy Manager for over a year. At Amex, she focused on Global Branding, Marketing, and Digital Partnerships. She has mentioned that her connections at FPF helped position her for this job at Amex as well. “Sometimes the role of a privacy professional is weighing the benefits vs the risks when it comes to the organization’s data processing activities,” says Heather. “FPF is great because it really tries to walk that middle ground on issues.”

Heather is currently working as the Director of Enterprise Information Management & Privacy (EIM/P) at Macy’s. She is responsible for EIMP’s Policies, Programs, Communications and Training. Once again, Heather acknowledges that her work with FPF, specifically her involvement with the Mobile Location Analytics working group, allowed her to meet some influential people, including her current boss at Macy’s.

Now, approximately five years after her time as a Legal and Policy Fellow, Heather says, “FPF is great in that it has a mixture of policy, advocacy, and academia. Even today, I rely on FPF to keep me up to date on the latest and greatest of research.”

Joseph Jerome

Formerly: Policy Counsel, Future of Privacy Forum

Currently: Policy Counsel, Center for Democracy & Technology

Joseph Jerome, who received his JD from New York University, is working as a Policy Counsel for the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT). He focuses specifically on the legal and ethical issues that surround smart technologies and big data. Joe also has particular interest in transparency and accountability mechanisms and procedures involved in the use of data. “The best thing about CDT and being in privacy in general is that there is so much variety,” said Joe.

Before CDT, Joe worked as an associate at WilmerHale, focusing on cybersecurity and privacy practice. He dealt with advertising technologies and privacy compliance in the health and financial sectors.

However, before those impressive positions, Joe worked for almost 3 years at FPF as a Policy Counsel.  Joe reflected on his time at FPF, saying, “I started there very early in my career, and when you deal with so many companies, people, and issues, you realize how little you know about everything.” Joe worked in several different issues at FPF, including big data, de-identification, geolocation, and much more.

“FPF was a really great launching pad,” said Joe. “Privacy is a pretty small community, and it seems like everybody knows everybody. Being at FPF was a really great way for me to make connections.”

Joe claims that it is unlikely he would have gotten his positions at WilmerHale and then CDT without the experience and connections he got at FPF.

Joe Newman

Formerly: Legal and Policy Fellow, Future of Privacy Forum

Currently: Senior Legal Counsel, Ubisoft

Joe Newman joined Ubisoft (a creator, publisher, and distributor of interactive entertainment) as a Senior Legal Counsel specializing in the field of Privacy. He will be focusing on North and South American privacy issues as well as the integration of European privacy laws and practices in Western society.

Before Ubisoft, Joe worked at Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) where he was a Privacy and Consumer Protection Attorney in California. There, Joe provided guidance to game development teams and central EA services, assisting with contract negotiation and resolving disputes. He focused on issues related to children’s privacy, government data requests, data governance, sweepstakes and promotions, international privacy compliance, e-commerce, advertising law, e-sports and competitive gaming, accessibility, end user-facing legal agreements, and data security.

In 2013-14, after obtaining his Juris Doctorate from George Washington University, Joe worked for FPF as a Legal and Policy Fellow. He focused on cutting-edge privacy issues, such as Do Not Track standards, international data transfer through the US-EU Safe Harbor, third-party vendor management, and tracking in modern videogames.

When reflecting on his time as a Legal and Policy Fellow, Joe said, “There was a lot of really exciting stuff going on that is still happening. My favorite project, and by far the most relevant to what I’m currently doing, was a white paper that Joe Jerome and I worked on together about data and privacy in video games. It was called ‘Press Start to Track: New Privacy Problems Raised by Video Game Technology.’” Joe cites that paper, which studied the tracking and usage of consumer data in videogames, as a major contributor to getting his job at EA.

He also values the unique standpoint from which FPF operates, which is “very much about finding real solutions that satisfy both industry and privacy needs.” He says,

“They position themselves in the middle of the road as a neutral party, as opposed to other places that are locked into a specific agenda. This makes a fellowship at FPF particularly good training for in-house work, which is all about finding good compromises.”

According to Joe, FPF helped him become familiar with the landscape, the technology, and the players involved in the industry, which was critical to his privacy career.