This past weekend, approximately 100 Cultural and Professional Mentors joined the Emerging Leaders in Washington, DC for special events and meetings to conclude the 2013 TechWomen program. After a weekend of sightseeing and exploring the nation’s capital with Emerging Leaders, the TechWomen Mentors visited the U.S. Department of State to meet with Sheila Casey, Deputy Director at the Office of Citizen Exchanges, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) in the UN-style Loy Henderson Auditorium.
Casey extended a warm welcome to the Mentors, thanked them for their contributions, and shared news of tremendous support for the TechWomen program not only at the Department of State in Washington, DC, but at embassies and consulates all around the world. She also emphasized the success and importance of the ECA’s partnership with the Institute of International Education, and introduced several of the hundreds of programs managed by the ECA, the Department of State’s largest bureau.
Following Casey’s welcome, the Mentors participated in a stimulating discussion with Lesley Fair, Senior Attorney at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), about consumer protection in the technological space, from both the consumer and business perspectives. In addition to the FTC’s strategies to protect consumers while encouraging innovation and entrepreneurialism, Fair also shared sound practices to ensure privacy and data security in an increasingly connect world. With topics ranging from mobile app and mobile payment regulations, to digital marketing blunders, to protecting kids’ privacy online, the discussion was fascinating and particularly relevant for many of the Mentor entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley professionals in attendance.
In closing, Leslie made a few key recommendations to the group:
- Don’t just assume consumer information is yours to do with as you wish.
- Don’t collect information if you don’t have a sound business reason for it in the first place.
- Explain to consumers what you’re collecting and how you intend to use it.
- Live up to your privacy and security promises.
- While data is in your possession, take reasonable steps to keep it secure.
- Safely dispose of information when you no longer need it.
Next up for the program: the group will return to the Department of State with the Emerging Leaders for a full day of events, including a luncheon featuring a panel discussion moderated by Dee Dee Myers and a program debrief with Lee Satterfield, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.