Alumni: Sharon Anolik


Sharon Anolik


Founder and President, Privacy Panacea

Passionate About Privacy

As we go about our daily lives, we provide companies with a lot of information about ourselves, especially online. “What’s happening with my data?” alumna Sharon Anolik wants to know. “In my role as a patient, consumer, customer, and parent,” she says, “I provide data, whether I know it or not.” As the Founder and President of Privacy Panacea, Anolik uses this concern (“and a healthy dose of cynicism and paranoia”) to guide her as she works with clients, from small startups and nonprofits to billion-dollar businesses. She helps them understand and comply with privacy laws, as well as build programs that determine how our data is collected, used, and protected.

Anolik started her career as an in-house counsel, and soon realized companies weren’t yet thinking about the risks involved with data. A self-described “tech geek”, she was intrigued by the challenges. Passionate about her work, she created her own positions as Strategic Privacy Advisor and Chief Privacy Officer (CPO). 

As the legal landscape evolves, she shares her expertise beyond her client base, describing her work with lawmakers as “policy making and a bit of fortune telling.” She holds Secret-level security clearance as a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee. “Yes, it is as exciting as it sounds,” she says. “I feel so privileged to help advise the DHS on cutting-edge privacy issues.”

The work is so cutting-edge, it wasn’t part of the curricula when she was in law school. “This was a field no one knew about,” she says. “There were no classes, no books, very few laws on data privacy.” As her career grew, she felt inspired to change that. “This field is hot!” she says. “There are more jobs than trained professionals, so let’s train some more professionals!” From 2003–2011 she was an adjunct professor of law within GGU Law School’s IP Law program to start priming some of those professionals. Today she sees “loads of opportunities for women,” and cites a 2015 International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) Salary and Governance Survey that found pay is roughly equal between genders and “women are equally represented in management levels…and there are more female CPOs than male CPOs.”  

Anolik periodically guest lectures at GGU Law School and talks one-on-one with law students. “I appreciate the opportunity to give back to students, to help them envision their futures,” she says. She encourages them to think outside the box as they create their own opportunities and expand the field of privacy law. “The work is fun, relevant, and challenging,” she says, “and it affects all of us.”