Alumni Spotlight

Grace Buckler ’20: The Privacy Advocate

Grace Buckler ’20


Grace Buckler ’20 is a privacy advisor to some of the biggest names in every sector. Her impressive credentials – including nine industry certifications – and extensive international experience have led her to be a globally sought-after expert in data privacy and protection, information security, and cybersecurity compliance.

Buckler is CEO of global consulting firm The Privacy Advocate, based in Washington, D.C. She founded the firm in 2015 as her international speaking engagements and teaching contracts grew. Less than a year later, in April 2016, the European Union adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), to be in full effect by May 2018. An IT and security auditor since 2005, Buckler had been teaching European privacy law principles and implementation since 2007, making her one of a very few European privacy law experts in the U.S. at the time. Her firm’s work increased exponentially, particularly in the areas of regulatory compliance services and privacy program development and assessment.

Buckler was tapped to serve on the advisory board of the largest global privacy group, the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), and was an active member and speaker for several other large industry associations as well. When she began looking for a master’s degree program to build on her knowledge of the legal aspects of cybersecurity and data privacy, she wanted something different.

“I desired to be part of a close-knit community where I could experience formal and in-depth learning,” she said. “I often tell close friends and colleagues that I desired the community more so than the diploma. The diploma was an added bonus.”

With her packed schedule of international teaching, speaking, and consulting jobs, the program’s format was key for Buckler. “What sealed the deal for me was the flexibility of Albany Law’s program.” She enrolled in the online Master of Science in Legal Studies in 2019. “It was challenging yet very engaging.”

She completed the degree in approximately one year. Though she says she would not recommend such an aggressive schedule to others, it worked for her, because she had other plans later in 2020. She credits one of the program faculty, Jason Fiske (then assistant dean for program development and distance learning), with keeping her on track – even when she was faced with a major emergency that could have disrupted her goal.

Buckler’s latest industry certification, as a Certified Data Protection Solutions Engineer through ISACA, is evidence of her commitment to delivering the highest standards of the profession. It is her personal mission to enhance privacy awareness and reduce leading privacy risks by providing privacy solutions to engineers and giving consumers the privacy and advanced safety foundation they deserve.

She began with an undergraduate degree in Technical Communications from the University of Maryland, then joined the data protection practice of a global management, technology, and policy consulting firm. She served as a junior information security analyst and IT auditor for Freddie Mac, the Defense Information Security Agency, and the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency before becoming a dedicated data privacy and information security instructor, speaking to and training employees from Verizon, Disney, KPMG, Kaiser Permanente, PwC, Deloitte, Booz Allen Hamilton, VMWare, Capital One, Google, and many nonprofit organizations.

Today, she is senior global privacy advisor to Starbucks Corporation, consultant to the U.S. Secret Service and 11 other federal agencies, subject matter expert for industry books, and author of numerous journal articles. Buckler has been featured in privacy news and publications by the Information Systems Security Association – International, the British-American Business Council, and IAPP.

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Grace Buckler