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María Lobato | Director | Data Protection, Privacy | Cybersecurity and AI, LEXAVY LLC

From Learning to Leading: Maria Lobato’s Nexus at Legal Theory, Risk Management and Cybersecurity

María Lobato is a seasoned Director, Data Protection, Privacy, Cybersecurity and AI at LEXAVY LLC, bringing a wealth of experience and qualifications that set her apart in the legal landscape. María transcends the role of a mere legal professional—she is a fully qualified Spanish Lawyer and English Solicitor with a master’s degree in juridical practice, boasting over 19 years of international legal expertise. Additionally, she holds an LPC qualification and is recognized as a Data and Privacy Specialist accredited by the Council of Europe.

María’s influence extends far beyond her role as Director; she is a distinguished Speaker at legal conferences on Data Protection and Privacy. Her commitment and impact have garnered recognition among the top 200 individuals in Europe who have significantly contributed to the privacy and security sectors, acknowledged by the DPO 200 in association with the GDPR Institute. The European Data Protection Summit editorial team considered various factors, including social media impact, knowledge sharing and community support, in compiling this prestigious list.

Further enhancing her accolades, María was honored as the Top In-House Lawyer by The Conference Gorilla in February 2022 for her outstanding contributions at LEXAVY LLC. This recognition underscores her exceptional ability to navigate the complex legal landscape.

Let’s dive into the narrative of a legal luminary, a speaker influencing conferences and an esteemed professional recognized across Europe for her significant contributions to privacy and security!

Pivotal Reflections

Maria’s journey into the realm of data protection, privacy and cybersecurity commenced in 2008, sparked by a friend’s introduction to Facebook. In her words, “It was a platform for connecting with friends and sharing pictures.” This introduction triggered a profound reflection on the destination of shared information and its ownership. This realization became a pivotal moment, steering Maria’s legal career towards the burgeoning fields of data, privacy and cybersecurity.

Understanding the imminent digital shift, Maria decided to specialize in these crucial areas. As she aptly puts it, “I recognized the future’s inevitable shift towards digitalization.” Now, Maria is at the forefront of legal expertise, navigating the intricate landscapes of data protection, privacy and cybersecurity anticipating as well as addressing the challenges of the digital era.

Positive Perspectives

Maria acknowledges the challenges in her field emphasizing their positive aspect. In her words, “There are many challenges but not in a negative way.” She highlights the rapid evolution and dynamism of technology and cyber threats, framing them as opportunities for professionals to stay ahead.

Maria’s global roles since 2015 have equipped her to navigate diverse international laws. One of her rewarding challenges involves finding commercially available solutions for cross-border data transfers in the business landscape. She finds fulfillment in educating stakeholders, asserting, “Educating stakeholders and making them realize we are not the enemy but someone willing to help is another rewarding challenge.” Maria’s perspective offers a positive outlook on navigating the complexities of data and cybersecurity.

Witnessing Implications

Maria is an adept professional immersed in tracking technologies dealing with vast personal data and she emphasizes the importance of understanding and managing data protection. In her own words, “Working in the realm of tracking technologies, which process vast amounts of personal data, I recognized the importance of understanding and managing data protection.” Her commitment led her to obtain certification as a data protection specialist through a course with the European Council. With experience spanning technology, retail, events, and telecommunications, Maria’s diverse exposure has afforded her a comprehensive understanding of the intricate impact of company actions on individual privacy.

For Maria, specializing in data and privacy isn’t just a career choice, but a response to the evolving demands of the digital age. Witnessing firsthand the implications of data handling and privacy in various sectors fuels Maria’s passion for ensuring compliance and safeguarding privacy making her a vital advocate in the ever-changing landscape of data protection.

Proactive Strategies and Collaborative Synergy

Being an adaptable legal professional, Maria shares her journey of seamlessly transitioning across industries and legal challenges while prioritizing continuous learning. This adaptability proved crucial when she shifted from a traditional law firm to an in-house role in a tech company, showcasing her ability to navigate diverse sectors.

Maria emphasizes the importance of proactive legal strategies, stating, “Developing proactive legal strategies that anticipate potential legal issues and address them before they escalate is always a principle to live by.” Her collaborative approach shines as she stresses the significance of working closely with other departments to seamlessly integrate legal considerations into business processes. This collaborative synergy, as Maria puts it, “encourages innovative solutions that are legally sound and business-friendly,” making her a dynamic force in circumnavigating legal challenges across industries.

Decoding Data Laws

An expert in Data Protection and Privacy, Maria strives to simplify these intricate subjects by breaking down legal complexities into more digestible concepts. Maria focuses on connecting theoretical aspects of data protection and privacy laws to real-world scenarios, using case studies and sharing experiences from her professional journey. She provides valuable insights into how these laws impact businesses and individuals in everyday contexts.

Emphasizing the ethical responsibility tied to handling personal data, Maria stresses, “It’s crucial for legal professionals and businesses to understand that data protection is not just about compliance with lawsit’s also about respecting individual rights and maintaining public trust.” Her perspective encourages a holistic approach to data privacy, extending beyond legal compliance and fostering a deeper understanding of the ethical dimensions for professionals and businesses alike.

Informed and Proactive

Maria highlights the significance of networking and continuous learning. She actively engages with a community of cybersecurity experts, legal peers and industry leaders finding immense value in sharing knowledge and exploring innovative solutions. Maria underlines the importance of staying informed through dedicated reading, stating, “I dedicate time to reading industry publications, journals and online resources.” This commitment ensures she remains abreast of recent case studies, research findings and expert analyses facilitating a deeper understanding of evolving cybersecurity trends and their legal implications.

The impact of Maria’s continuous learning is substantial, enhancing her ability to provide informed and relevant legal advice. As she puts it, “My knowledge of the latest cybersecurity trends and threats allows me to offer more informed and relevant legal advice.” Maria’s proactive approach involves understanding emerging cybersecurity trends enabling her to anticipate regulatory changes and advise on compliance measures.

Maria’s strategy for staying current in the dynamic cybersecurity field revolves around a combination of education, networking, diligent research, and technology adoption. Her holistic approach ensures she remains a valuable asset in navigating the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity.

Maria accentuates a culture of continuous learning, stating, “This involves regular training sessions, workshops and encouraging attendance at relevant conferences and webinars.” In her work environments, Maria ensures team members feel comfortable sharing ideas, challenges and insights fostering a collaborative and innovative atmosphere.

Fostering Connections

Maria highlights her active involvement in multiple professional associations. Through these platforms, Maria engages in discussions, attends conferences and occasionally conducts workshops or training sessions. Actively participating in online forums and social media dedicated to legal and cybersecurity topics, Maria stays connected with industry peers.

For Maria, fostering these connections is paramount. She states, “Being part of a community allows for the exchange of the latest information, strategies and best practices.” This active engagement ensures that Maria remains abreast of industry trends and developments.

Additionally, being part of a supportive professional network offers opportunities for collaborative projects, problem-solving and innovation. Maria’s commitment to building strong relationships within these communities reflects her dedication to staying informed, fostering professional growth and contributing to the ongoing evolution of legal and cybersecurity practices.

Bridging Theory and Practice

Maria’s academic background forms a robust theoretical foundation in legal principles and frameworks. In her daily work, Maria seamlessly applies this theoretical understanding to practical situations. Specifically, she excels in interpreting how legal theories and principles relate to concrete scenarios like data breaches, compliance with data protection laws, or contractual obligations in technology agreements.

Within the realm of data protection, privacy and cybersecurity, Maria adeptly navigates the intersection of legal theory and risk management. Leveraging her comprehensive legal knowledge, Maria assesses potential risks in cybersecurity practices and offers strategic advice on mitigation. This includes evaluating the legal implications of security measures, data handling practices and incident response plans making Maria an invaluable asset in terms of legal considerations in the digital age.

Thriving in Dynamic Fields

Maria shares insightful advice for individuals aspiring to excel in these dynamic fields:

  • Embrace Continuous Learning: Maria underscores the importance of committing to lifelong learning, stating, “The fields of law and cybersecurity are constantly evolving, so it’s crucial to commit to lifelong learning.”
  • Develop a Strong Foundation: For legal professionals, Maria emphasizes the necessity of a solid grounding in legal principles. Similarly, she notes that cybersecurity enthusiasts should possess a robust understanding of technical fundamentals.
  • Specialize, but Remain Versatile: While specialization is valuable, Maria suggests being versatile to adapt to interdisciplinary challenges.
  • Cultivate Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills: Both fields demand critical thinking and problem-solving. Maria advises engaging in real-world scenarios through internships, simulations, or case studies to develop these essential skills.
  • Build Your Network: Networking is key for professional growth. Maria encourages connecting with mentors, peers and industry leaders, stating, “These connections can provide valuable learning opportunities and can be crucial for career advancement.”
  • Foster Ethical Awareness: Cultivating a strong sense of ethics is crucial, especially in areas like privacy and data protection. Maria highlights the importance of understanding the broader impact of work on society and individual rights.
  • Engage with Practical Experiences: Maria stresses the value of practical experience advising individuals to seek internships, project work, or pro bono opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world settings.
  • Be Proactive and Curious: Maria encourages initiative, urging individuals to seek out new challenges, ask questions and delve deeper into intriguing subjects.
  • Contribute to the Community: Sharing knowledge through blogs, articles, or speaking engagements is vital, according to Maria. She notes, “Contributing to the community not only helps others but also establishes you as a knowledgeable and engaged professional.”

Maria’s succinct guidance provides a comprehensive roadmap for individuals navigating the dynamic landscapes of law and cybersecurity.