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ULaw Business Advisory Board: An interview with Jaya Handa

At our Business School, we’re focused on achieving ground-breaking education, and a big part of this is our Business Advisory Board. Jaya Handa, Privacy Director at Liberty Special Markets in London, is one of the Board Members, and has vast experience with Technology, Media, and Privacy Law. She studied the LPC with us in 2012 at the Moorgate campus. Below, she tells us about her career and the board.

By Editorial Team. Published 24 February 2020.

The business I work for, Liberty Specialty Markets, offers speciality and commercial insurance and reinsurance products across the UK, Europe, MENA, Asia Pacific, Canada, North America, South America, and Bermuda. It’s part of Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, a Fortune 100 leading global insurer with over 50,000 employees and over 800 offices worldwide.

I qualified as a solicitor in the Technology Media and Telecoms (TMT) team in a large international law firm with a focus on financial services outsourcing and data protection. I decided to move in-house as a Privacy Counsel as I wanted to be more embedded within the business and embrace the opportunity to build and manage an international privacy program from end-end. Through various promotions and organisational growth, I am now the Privacy Director and currently lead the privacy function across Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Bermuda, and Asia Pacific.

There’s no such thing as an average day and that’s why I enjoy my role so much. My days could involve negotiating contracts, interacting with customers, co-ordinating international projects, advising on emerging technology, giving a presentation on artificial intelligence, liaising with internal stakeholders across multiple jurisdictions and/or setting the strategy for the privacy function.

Communication is incredibly important in my role as I have to communicate complex legal issues in an easy to digest manner and often delivered in multiple languages. I’ve also developed the skill of keeping a level head in the face of multiple competing priorities and an ability to always find something to laugh about.

Whether you work in a general or a specialist business function, it is fundamental to also have a general understanding of the broader context in which an organisation operates. My education at the University of Law provided the key foundational building blocks to prepare me for the business world. It also provided key networking opportunities and enabled me to begin creating a network that spans both the legal and business world.

I am very excited about the work the Business School is doing and its plans for the coming years. I hope my experiences and knowledge will be an asset to the school and will help shape the future of the next generation of business students. I have a keen interest in the emerging technology space and I’m keen to see how the Business School can incorporate technology into educational provision.

The Business Advisory Board helps students gain a competitive advantage by drawing upon the views and experiences of a pool of passionate and diverse business leaders. It will provide students with additional avenues to benefit from the knowledge of others and understand the activities and priorities across several business sectors.

I hope I’ll bring enthusiasm, pragmatism, focus on innovation, passion for technology and a diverse viewpoint to the Business Advisory Board. To be a great leader it goes without question that you need to be talented. However, you also need self-awareness, pragmatism, integrity, resilience, and people skills. A sense of humour always helps too.

We live in times of great uncertainty, and it’s very difficult for any business leader to accurately predict what their market will look like in 20 years. We also live in times of great opportunity with start-ups across all sectors disrupting markets and changing the competition landscape. The next generation needs to expertly navigate the uncertainty and embrace the opportunities presented to them to be able to emerge as great leaders.

The world is competitive, but opportunities are out there for the taking. Students should consider all opportunities presented to them with an open mind and not be fixed on the idea of a linear path. They should also be proactive in seeking opportunities and gaining the experience they desire. I believe people are likely to be more successful if their career is built upon something they are passionate about. We spend so much of our lives at work, it makes life much more pleasurable if you’re spending those hours doing something that excites you.

My advice to business students is to be curious both inside and outside the classroom – observe new ideas, continuously network, explore possibilities, ask questions, read diverse literature, and do activities that excite you.


Discover more about our Business Advisory Board.