Woman in Corporate Law — Sarah Dodds Brown

Talking Trends
3 min readJun 23, 2022
Image from Unsplash by Mikhail Pavstyuk

When it comes to data privacy, it is important to be transparent with consumers about how their data is to be used and protected. In our day-to-day lives, we often input information online and quickly agree to whatever terms and conditions are shown to us as long as we are able to quickly move forward to the next page. But what we may not realize is that, within those terms and conditions that we blindly agree to, there may be uses of our data beyond what we might expect, like selling our information to third party companies to mine for insights or sell products to us.

“We should be discerning and have high expectations of the companies who we trust to protect our information and only use it in ways that we would expect given our relationship with them.”

In the spring of 2019, I was honored to be featured in the ALI Reporter membership newsletter (Volume 41 Number 2, page 12). I talked about what it is like working in an ever-changing industry alongside a team of excellent individuals who are equally passionate about our company’s business and
mission to make a difference in our customers’ lives in ways that
matter most to them. I thrive when I can serve as a strategic adviser and currently lead the Global Enterprise Services legal team in American Express, where I lead a team that supports many strategic and cross-functional initiatives and provides legal expertise and advice across a range of subject matter and regulatory areas, including digital transactions, technology, cybersecurity, intellectual property, antitrust, bank regulatory, advertising and marketing, and privacy and data law.

The world of electronic data and security is ever-changing and our society has to regularly adapt to this constant flood of new information regularly. “​​I spend a fair amount of time looking to understand, and personally use and be a consumer of, new technologies and services that leverage data.” It is important to be up to date with trends and the ever-evolving expectations and behaviors of our customers and the different types of competitors who are participating in our industry, from traditional banks and large, established
technology companies to start-up fintechs.

Earlier in my career at American Express, our then general counsel, entrusted me to lead the company’s privacy legal function in addition to my business support responsibilities. Taking on this enterprise role, it gave me room to innovate and help evolve how the company thought about data privacy.

Participating as an Adviser on the ALI Principles of Law, Data Privacy project was an important experience. I was able to interact with lawyers, jurists, and academics from a range of backgrounds who shared their opinions about the issues relating to the protection of personal information. “It enriches our discussions internally [at American Express] and helps to inform our own principles as we pressure test our thinking.”

“The Principles of a Data Economy project is more recent and has generated a lot of excitement within my team. It is an ambitious project that looks to tackle many of the ambiguities in the law that exist with respect to data, but it is also a validation of a lot of work and thinking that we have been doing internally as we strive as a company to become more essential in our customers’ digital lives.”

How a company thinks about and protects our data is an important representation of how the company thinks about and treats its consumers.

Click here to read the full interview, please scroll to page 12

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