Spotlight On Gayle Grasso, SVP of Sales, North America

March 8, 2021

In celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, Privitar is shining the spotlight on some of our amazing women PriviStars. This month, we are featuring interviews with team members from across the company, demonstrating the talent, passion, and commitment they bring to their day jobs at Privitar and advancing women in the broader technology landscape. Read on to learn more about Gayle Grasso, Privitar’s SVP of Sales, North America.

Gayle Grasso, SVP and GM of North America at Privitar

Describe your role at Privitar 

As Privitar’s SVP and GM of North America, I am focused on building and scaling sales, customer success, sales enablement functions, and the partner ecosystem. I have a lot of experience creating and implementing GTM and operational strategies for companies of all stages, from Series A through publicly traded, so I’m well prepared to help guide our rapidly evolving GTM efforts.

 

How did you get started in the data industry?

I’ve always been a data-driven person. I analyze everything, much to my parents’ and family’s displeasure. Is it wrong that my team has nicknamed me “Inspector Grasso?” 

My career started as a strategic account manager for Brio, a cutting-edge BI analytics platform acquired by Hyperion and Oracle. Having spent twenty years in the data space has allowed me to fully understand and observe its fantastic evolution– from on-premise to the cloud and all the privacy concerns that go along with the journey. 

I suppose there is one thing that has far superseded anyone’s expectations; that is the sheer amount of data we continue to accumulate. The velocity and types of data we are capturing are astounding. The desire to analyze that data to gain valuable insights and pivot one’s business forward is top of mind. The big challenge is how to do this safely. This is exactly why I joined Privitar, as this undoubtedly is the next mountain to tackle in the data space for all enterprises.

 

What challenges sit on the path to becoming a female tech leader?

Beyond the obvious, it would be nice to have more diversity in the room across gender, ethnicity, and perspective. It is also creating a more robust network for women with mentorship opportunities.

 

What is the most exciting part of your role at Privitar?

Quite honestly, pioneering discussions with our prospective customers on best practices, governance, and implementing privacy policies across their organizations. Our clients are still navigating the regulatory waters. Data privacy is a cross-functional issue that allows us to speak with many personas, from the CPO, CDO, CISO, and CEOs, as they navigate their way in this ever-changing regulatory market. 

They often ask thought-provoking questions unrelated to our technology, like, can your product move our business forward, what are best practices around instituting privacy in other organizations, and how do we ensure GDPR compliance in new countries?

We offer advisory services with leading policy, regulatory, and academic experts to facilitate an end-to-end solution, in addition to the technology, to help customers build their foundational policies. 

I enjoy building things. That is my passion. It’s also fascinating to create a GTM presence in the Americas as Privitar began in EMEA. I am passionate about building high-performance teams, and there is an excellent opportunity to do that in this emerging market.

 

What most inspires you about working in data privacy?

There is a human element to what we solve at Privitar. Data privacy affects all of us. We want and deserve our data to be protected. Our solution allows companies to access sensitive data to gain valuable insights, albeit safely. We enable executives to make data-driven decisions around many use cases, for example, customer 360, diversity and inclusion, and data sharing. Ultimately, they want to ensure their data remains safe and protect their consumers. Knowing we can help in that process fuels my passion for seeing us succeed.

 

How do you drive change? Not just in your team, but across the business and industry?

I am a data-driven individual. I research data that substantiates the changes I am looking to make. In my experience, people respond to factual and transparent information, be it my CEO or a field engineer. Whatever issue I am tackling or trying to improve, I often research the market, competition and canvas my internal team(s) for various perspectives. I believe having a 360-degree view helps formulate the best approach. 

Coming back with well-researched insights garnered by various voices usually reaps the benefit of “buy-in.” To gain meaningful credibility, you must point back to the research, feedback obtained, and the expected results. I have done this when making strategic territory changes, product enhancement recommendations, resourcing, and cohesive customer success plans.

 

What can the tech industry do to increase inclusion and diversity?

Start early and identify talent, mentor, enable and migrate them across the organization. The best leaders have been exposed to all facets of running a business, essentially making them more impactful and aligned as they migrate to higher and more influential roles. I also see an opportunity to influence younger people with different backgrounds to consider a high-tech career by building strong relationships with educational institutions.

 

What’s the most significant change that needs to happen to encourage more women to pursue technical careers?

Create a robust infrastructure around them and educate organizations on the value of diversity and perspectives, executive coaching, mentorship, and enabling them. We need to start earlier in women’s careers to prepare them. 

I fear that diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts are forcing quotas and driving individuals into roles they may not yet truly be designed for, instilling fear and the ever-dreaded “imposter syndrome.” I receive many calls about senior positions across the C-suite, and often, the unfortunate misstep in the process, from recruiter to executive, is the sheer mention of D&I. There seems to be a belief that women or people of diverse backgrounds will respond positively to hearing this, giving them an advantage. I find the opposite to be true. 

I believe my track record, achievements, and abilities should speak for themselves. The sheer mention of D&I suddenly taints or eclipses this new opportunity presented to me. Individuals must be evaluated on their merits, and more systemic changes are necessary to facilitate change, starting with the interview process. I have rapidly advanced at Privitar because our company truly measures individuals based on their skills and talents and has created an environment that is inclusive of diversity as part of its core DNA. 

 

Data Privacy
Privitar