For more than 20 years, first as in-house counsel in the technology industry and now as principal at Fish & Richardson, Donna Balaguer has helped companies navigate the ever-changing landscape of complex technology, privacy and cybersecurity issues.
Balaguer knows firsthand that while technological advancements create incredible business opportunities, they also bring threats of cyber-attacks and data breaches that companies must mitigate and work around. Much of her work requires creativity and forward thinking, as technology and its potential uses outpace cyber regulations and guidelines. She counsels clients across multiple industries, including hospitality, health care, media, communications, manufacturing and retail.
Balaguer addresses a range of issues, from developing core cybersecurity policies to responding to data breaches. One of her areas of expertise is helping companies that are building innovative “Internet of Things” products. She assists these innovators in solving novel challenges regarding consumer-related privacy issues and health care privacy laws. She also guides clients through high-stakes regulatory and government agency matters, including FTC and FCC requirements and investigations.
She regards being promoted to an executive position in a technology-related company, at a time when there was resistance to women assuming such roles, as her greatest professional accomplishment to date. Asked what aided her in obtaining leadership roles, Balaguer says she has always been dedicated and passionate in her work. She cites the phrase “lift as you climb” as a motivator.
Careers are also shaped by negatives. Balaguer points to a corporate bankruptcy as a turning point in her own career. “Although it was stressful, with a lot of employees leaving, I stuck it out to help the company through the bankruptcy. I ended up getting a great job with the new owner.”
“It is important to make a conscious decision to include people with different backgrounds and viewpoints,” explains Balaguer. “A diverse team comprises individuals with different perspectives and ideas. The combination of these ideas leads to creative solutions and innovation for the business.”