Interview with Microsoft's CVP of Worldwide Public Sector

Top DPOs
Tom Orbach
Tom Orbach
Dec 16, 2021
min read
Interview with Microsoft's CVP of Worldwide Public Sector

How can the government leverage technology in new ways to solve problems and improve privacy processes? Find out in our interview with Julia Glidden:

How did you become a key stakeholder at Microsoft? Please tell us about your journey.

My professional journey has been shaped by a lifelong interest in history, politics, and public policy. I started off with running the United Airlines account for a major public affairs organization in the 1990s, to later pitching a start-up,, to run the world’s first internet election. The start-up was acquired by Accenture, which took me to the UK to run the global arm of an eDemocracy business unit. This inspired me to start my GovTech consultancy, 21c, where I advised the United Nations, European Union, and governments around the globe on new and emerging tech trends.

Several years ago, I joined IBM to lead their Global Government business, and most recently I joined Microsoft to run the Worldwide Public Sector business in service of our vision: a healthy, sustainable, and safer world in which inclusive, accessible, and personalized services are seamlessly blended into everyday life.

What is the single thing about Microsoft that you are proudest of?

I’m proud of the way <hl>privacy is at the center of everything we do with public sector organizations<hl> and otherwise. We have made several commitments to our clients: to give them control of their data, protect that data, ensure privacy by design, and fight for stronger privacy laws and protections.

As our teams build and deliver solutions to meet the unique needs of our clients, transparency - particularly the way client data is managed and used - is also at the foundation of our approach.

What gets you excited about working with the public sector? What do you look forward to most about going to work every day?

I am most excited by the ability to drive digital impact and help the public sector use modern technologies to make the world a better place. I draw great inspiration from helping the public sector change events and bring to life their bold vision for government services. These partnerships, in which we work with public sector organizations to overcome resistance to change and unlock innovation, are what I look forward to every day.

Can you share the top concern or challenge you're facing as a privacy defender in the tech industry?

I’ve often said that one of the biggest challenges we’ve faced in tech has been the need for tech to come to the aid of society during an incredibly difficult time. Indeed, we saw the way cloud, data, and artificial intelligence came together quickly to help governments serve their people and empower first responders.

Now, the challenge is for the public and private sectors to build upon the work that has been done, by accelerating digital transformation in the years ahead. <hl>As we work toward a digitally-enabled future, we have more data privacy tools than ever before, including, for example, decentralized identity<hl>. Our role in the tech industry is to support the development and adoption of these tools while advocating for stronger privacy protections in policy-making.

We at Microsoft were the first company to expand the core rights of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation to all of our clients around the world. I am also proud to report that over 28 million people worldwide have used our privacy dashboard to understand and control the personal data they share with us. The bottom line is that standing up for the rights of our clients will continue to be our priority and commitment as we address the opportunities and challenges of digital transformation in the public sector.

Read more about our Top DPOs 2022 project here.