Spotlight on: Chrissie Thayre
March 7, 2023
Name: Chrissie Thayre
Position: Group Head of Data Protection
I come from a Portuguese family. I was encouraged to travel and see how amazing the world is. I was very fortunate to be able to go to university and qualify as a lawyer. I have completed a couple of masters so am academically inclined and I am a classic literature fan. What does this tell you? Introverted, likes wine and kind of boring.
In no more than 200 words, tell us your personal background, who you are and what drives you?
Prior to First Central I worked in criminal defence where my love of social justice (and serial killers) i.e protecting the rights of people came alive. Which is why the topic of privacy appealed to me. I enjoy championing privacy rights and helping organisations to find the value in it.
I believe acting with integrity is important. I value loyalty and openness. I can be very direct. I love words over numbers. I can’t stand when common sense doesn’t prevail, and I believe that kindness should be valued more.
What drives me… well most mornings its coffee…. but I would say it’s never knowing what the day will bring. New challenges which keep you interested, learning, moving forward and evolving.
It sounds corny but really my mum. She was a nurse who supported people with mental health for 45+ years before mental health was really even a topic. She taught me the value in finding a career that would help people and would always keep me learning so that I would never hate going to work. Additionally the value of being independent, choosing a career where you know there will always be work and you can stand on your two feet.
Who has been most inspiring to your career and why?
I certainly never saw it as a barrier to my career aspirations. I wanted to ensure I didn't lose myself trying to "fit in" or "play up" to the fact that it is a male dominated sector. I actively fought against the stereotypes they had for women who wanted to succeed, i.e dressing the part or using their femininity to win men over. Not playing that role has hurt me in my career as I have seen women progress over me because of such behaviour. There are sectors and specialisms which are always more male dominated, and I think a big part of changing this is breaking that mould for women at a young age. Teaching them they can do anything.
What’s been your experience as a woman in a male dominated sector?
I am most proud of the fact that I was given the opportunity to build something from the ground up. It’s not perfect but it’s a structure that can continue to be built on to support First Central in data privacy as the organisation grows. The biggest challenge with this is continuing to bring our colleagues on the journey with us and to demonstrate how there is opportunity within privacy to think in new ways that can support more inclusivity and fairness in our products and services breaking the misconceptions of privacy being a barrier to growth.
What are you most proud of to date and what challenges did you overcome to get there?
From a data perspective equal opportunities is no longer enough because the data that everyone in society is using in inherently bias in some way. As we march toward machine learning and AI capabilities for everyday use the data is recycling and will continue to produce the same outcomes. It continues to learn from historic data carrying on the cycle. To be more equitable in society we need to stop collecting certain data about people in our recruitment, in our products etc, and just see the human this will lead to more equitable outcomes toward a more equitable society.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #EmbraceEquity. Why are equal opportunities no longer enough and what can we do to create a more equitable society?
I think First Central is now more inclusive then ever. We are certainly using some basic practices to help with that during recruitment etc. I have quite a diverse and inclusive team. It helps that we can recruit from anywhere so we are not hindered by regional biases.
Do you think First Central is an inclusive employer? What have your experiences been internally?
Be authentic. Be kind to others and yourself. Be a leader that wants everyone to succeed. Never be a leader who thinks they know everything and understands everybody. It’s okay to learn new things and to say I don't understand or I would like to know more. Makes sure you know how your role fits into the wider outcomes that your team, or pillar etc are working toward.
What advice do you have to any aspiring female leaders?