How do you bridge being responsible for the structure of a single product category to counseling a whole team of Operational Specialists as a Senior and then into becoming a key role in supporting GDPR compliance infrastructure throughout an entire organization? The truth is that under the right conditions, anything is possible. As my contribution to Data Privacy Week 2023, I’d like to share my story with you today.
Written by Elisa, Senior Operational Specialist at Ladenzeile
Hi, I’m Elisa and I’ve been part of the Ladenzeile family for longer than a while now. I say family because I’ve been working with some of my teammates for a very long time – so ‘family’ describes what this company feels to me. In fact, this is exactly one of the things I’ve come to love the most about our work culture over the years: the open-minded and inclusive team spirit that lives here. For me, this has been both the freedom and fuel that has enabled me to take my career path in new directions. Today I’d like to share with you how I decided to get into the topic of data protection. And well, what better way to start than at the beginning?
Spotting the need for change
My Ladenzeile story began more than 8 years ago when I stepped into my role as Junior Quality Manager. In our company, this job title back then entailed taking care of the maintenance and expansion of our category tree to drive potential users to our platforms. Apart from working within my team in Category Management, I’ve always enjoyed taking on the opportunity to connect and collaborate with colleagues from other departments. And continuously doing so was exactly what built my bridge from one team to another.
As an operational specialist, one of my responsibilities is handling incoming user emails. Some of these are related to data protection topics, such as opting out from our newsletters or deleting a user account. I spotted a need to improve the rather complicated procedure we had in place to deal with those requests. So what do you do? I went for the solution:
I sat down with Anna (our Legal Counsel) and Rogier (our CRM Lead) and revised with them both this overcomplicated process, while also keeping an eye on GDPR compliance. As for the result, our Category Management team can now act on data deletion requests much faster – and at the same time inform users even more clearly about their rights and options.
Turning the challenge into a new opportunity
When Anna asked if I’d be interested in taking on a new role as Data Protection Assistant, I felt immediately intrigued. I have been well-connected throughout the organization and had the chance to build up a solid foundation of knowledge about many of the tools being used at Ladenzeile. I felt both prepared and excited to stand at the crossroads between our external Data Protection Officer and the respective teams within our company – as well as coordinating GDPR topics with representatives at Idealo and Axel Springer, since we are working very closely together when it comes to GDPR and Data Privacy topics in the company group.
Data Privacy seeing a quantum change at Ladenzeile
So where are we now? Ladenzeile has recently started working much more closely with our external Data Protection Officer to support our evolution on the topic. That means that the whole subject is seeing a quantum change right now with me having the chance to adapt processes actively, and precisely tailored for the teams, while at the same time encouraging greater awareness of the importance of GDPR compliance throughout the whole organization.
Where are we going? For one, we need to keep learning and educating ourselves further. I envision that in the near future each employee knows how to deal with sensitive data and embraces the idea that data protection laws are not our enemy, but our orientation: they push us to keep ensuring that our websites deliver safe and trustworthy services to our users – and that we’re a reliable employer to every Ladenzeiler working with us.
Looking back at where I started my journey in the company and the road it has taken me on, it’s become clear to me that what truly drives me in my work is always to seek to better the experience people have with our websites – and our company. And in a world where personal data is more accessible than ever, it’s more important than ever to be a place that people can trust.
Elisa is our Senior Operational Specialist for Germany, where she’s responsible for a number of long-term projects that aim at improving the user experience and easing the lives of her fellow operational specialists. She lately also took on the role of Data Protection Helper, where she coordinates, communicates and works on improving all GDPR related matter throughout Ladenzeile.
“Bringing user needs and smart solutions to our internal processes together is at the heart of my daily work and still inspires me even after 8 years with the organization.“– Elisa Fahrenholz