By Lauren Woodman

After a wonderful evening celebrating the NetHope community at the Vancouver Aquarium, we had more than a few stragglers at 8:30 this morning. (I think I may have been one of them.) In this final day of Summit, our focus was on Information Security, a huge concern for every organization in the room  — and indeed, most of our tech partners and sponsors.

First, Laura McMillan, COO at NetHope, welcomed two member organizations that were elected earlier this year: The Carter Center, and The Mennonite Central Committee. And then, we welcomed Michelle Dennedy, chief privacy officer at Cisco, who shared her extensive knowledge about privacy in the humanitarian space. Taking a page from The Carter Center’s motto of “Wage Peace,” Michelle began her remarks with a question: “How do we wage peace?”

Technology does many things for us, said Michelle. Sometimes it “accelerates stupid,” but sometimes it can reach out. Still, frequent, high-profile breaches have resulted in a lack of trust in data, and a loss integrity, as well. “Personal information deserves the same level of protection as financial information,” she said.

Michelle invited Cisco’s Matt Altman and Sue-Lynn Hinson to join her on stage, where they described the work they do providing secure solutions in the aftermath of a disaster, whether natural or manmade. They are the humble, unsung heroes behind the scenes of our humanitarian responses, and as we speak, Cisco TacOps is in Puerto Rico working alongside NetHope to restore connectivity.

Joel Urbanowicz, Director of Information Security and ICT Operations for Catholic Relief Services, hosted a panel with Michelle Dennedy and John Ghent, Co-Founder and CEO of Sytorus. The panel illuminated the future of data protection for international NGOs.

On May 25, 2018, the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) goes into effect, and it’s estimated that 50 percent of organizations won’t be ready. Those who don’t comply will incur fines, so these regulations are of major concern to many Summit delegates.

Michelle’s parting words were sprinkled with a little humor. She cautioned us to resist the compulsion to be a data hoarder. To quote, “Treat your data like you treat your vegetables: If it’s not fresh, it’s not good.” Thanks to Michelle for sharing complimentary copies of her book, “The Privacy Engineer’s Manifesto,” and directing us to her Privacy Sigma Riders Podcast.

Summit delegates spent the late morning through afternoon in breakout sessions, but we reconvened to hear Alex Alpert, NetHope’s Membership Director, lead a panel on Chapter Meetings. NetHope currently has five chapters, in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, North America, and Europe.

These Chapters embody the NetHope principle of collaboration and bring us closer to the regions where our members work to advance their missions. Panelists included: Christian Alfaro, Save the Children; Suhell Athamneh, Norwegian Refugee Council; Claudia Garcia, Norwegian Refugee Council; Kondwani Mtalimanja, Save the Children; Braulio Oliveira, Winrock International; and Thomas Rubatscher, SOS Children’s Villages.

Okta COO and Co-Founder Frederic Kerrest delivered the Closing Keynote, sharing his insights about enabling digital transformation. Drawing from Okta’s customer base, he talked about the role of identity in powering transformative technology experiences, and lessons learned along the way.

It’s fitting that Frederic concluded the NetHope Global Summit 2017, since Okta is a Founding Partner of The Center for the Digital Nonprofit. We are thankful for Okta’s leadership and generosity.

I know everyone wants to hear where we’ll be convening next year, so I’ll spill: the NetHope Global Summit 2018 will be held in Dublin, Ireland, at the esteemed Royal Dublin Society. I guess it’s time to read Oscar Wilde, and, of course, sip a Guinness beer. I look forward to seeing you all there next year, from November 5-9, 2018.

Finally, my thanks to AWS for hosting the Closing Reception, a final farewell for all of us. Safe travels, and Sláinte!

Filed Under: Global Summits