My name is Mel Pardoe and I'm the group Data Protection Officer for BDO Jersey, which includes C5 Alliance, BDO Greenlight, BDO Sator and ALX Training.
What my job involves
I am the internal Data Protection Officer for the BDO group and I also deliver outsourced Data Protection Officer services and advise about data security for our clients. I also provide advise around information security, policy and governance and design and deliver bespoke training.
How I got into this profession
I badly injured my back in my first job. While recovering, I taught myself Photoshop and got into graphic design. This ended up morphing into an online electronics mail-order business when I realised that selling Macs was easier than working on them!
After I had my daughter I got a job as a Scrutiny Officer. I was then seconded to Education as a project manager working on a data protection project. This resulted in me becoming Data Protection Officer and Head of Governance for Education.
I had overarching responsibility for policy, and also for online safety and information security for schools teams. From there, I was promoted to be Data Protection Officer for the government before moving to BDO two years ago.
Being a woman in tech
Working in a male dominated industry has its challenges at times. In the past I've had my fair share of being mistaken for the assistant / secretary when I've been chairing the meeting, but thankfully the old attitudes appear to be dying out.
My biggest piece of advice to any woman starting out is not to be put off by any negative comments or attitudes, just brush it off and carry on!
I have a 12 year old daughter who keeps me busy and I also love horses, so I get out riding and much as I can. We recently moved house and I'm enjoying renovating and gardening.
What I enjoy most about my job
I've been called 'the troubleshooter' on several occasions and this is what I like best- finding a solution to a problem and giving concise and useful advice.
Similarly with training, I really enjoy finding ways of articulating complex theory in a pragmatic way. My other nickname is 'P.I. Pardoe'! I really enjoy putting the pieces together from different areas to see the 'bigger picture' and thinking laterally to get to a solution. Every day is different and I learn something every day.
In Education I rolled out a technical protocol for schools so they can monitor the internet activity of the pupils, for safeguarding and anti-radicalisation reasons, which was a challenging but rewarding project. For government I was involved in preparing the public sector for the inception of GDPR, which involved a range of work from policy drafting to technical projects and media comms.
For BDO, recently I co-designed a technology platform 'Robus' which allows companies to manage their information governance requirements. It's now being marketed globally which is really exciting.