Nicole Stephensen


Nicole Stephensen is Partner at IIS and leads our privacy strategy and services functions. She was previously Managing Director of Ground Up Consulting Pty Ltd, a boutique firm she established in 2011, which has collaborated extensively with IIS since 2017.

Nicole’s privacy career spans more than two decades, and she is widely recognised for her extensive local and international expertise in privacy program management and acculturation. Her frank, candid and practical approach to privacy has established her as a trusted advisor and thought leader in the industry.

Nicole began her career overseas, with roles in privacy, freedom of information and information policy at the Offices of the Information and Privacy Commissioners of Alberta and British Columbia and other public sector agencies. She has been based in Brisbane, Queensland, since 2003 and, until moving into professional consultancy, held senior public sector policy leadership and regulatory oversight roles. Notably, she advised the policy development and drafting instructions for Queensland’s first privacy law, the Information Privacy Act 2009, and implemented the Queensland Ombudsman’s Complaints Management Program for public sector agencies, which continues successfully to this day.

Nicole is an active mentor for privacy and cybersecurity professionals and is a sought-after speaker about the interface between privacy, cyber security, risk management, ethics and trust. She is a subject matter expert and Guest Lecturer for tertiary course curricula in Australia and abroad and is well known for her privacy discourse on smart cities and critical infrastructure, IoT/ IIoT, public interest technologies and digital policy affecting young people.

She is a Fellow of the Australian Information Security Association (FAISA) and is a leading member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP), where she chairs the IAPP’s KnowledgeNet Chapter for Queensland. Prior to its incorporation into the larger IAPP in 2019, Nicole was also a founding member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals ANZ Chapter (iappANZ) where she sat for three consecutive terms on the Board.

Nicole is an active member of the Smart Cities Council of Australia-New Zealand (SCCANZ), where she is on the Advisory Board for the Centre for Data Leadership. She is the SCCANZ 2020 Leadership Award winner for her work in building privacy management frameworks and improving privacy acculturation in Australian local governments. She was Executive Director, Privacy and Data Protection at the Internet of Things Security Institute (IoTSI) from its inception until October 2020 and holds their Smart Cities and Critical Infrastructure Security Professional (SCCISP) designation.

Nicole holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Victoria, Canada.

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