Leire Arbona Puértolas, Arielle Thomas Chosen as 2024 SIA Industry Advocate Award Honorees

The Security Industry Association (SIA) has recognized two industry leaders – Leire Arbona Puértolas and Arielle Thomas – as the 2024 winners of the SIA Industry Advocate Award. This award is presented to individuals making an extraordinary contribution of professional time, leadership and resources to position SIA and its members to address the public policy challenges impacting the security industry. Arbona Puértolas and Thomas were recognized with the awards at the 2024 SIA GovSummit conference.

Leire Arbona Puértolas serves as legal and compliance director for Veridas, providing expertise in biometric identity verification and data protection laws since joining the company in 2017. Arbona Puértolas’ efforts extend beyond corporate compliance; she actively contributes to the legislative process in various countries, advising on laws that shape the future of digital identity verification.

“Leire Arbona Puértolas played a critical role in guiding SIA’s advocacy throughout the last year related to the European Union’s Artificial Intelligence Act and continues to assist on matters related to AI, data privacy and biometrics,” said Jake Parker, SIA’s senior director of government relations. “The success of SIA’s work on behalf of the industry heavily depends on the willingness of key members to volunteer their time and subject matter expertise.”

Arbona Puértolas has played a crucial role in legislative developments in Spain and the European Union, and her expertise is frequently sought in international forums on privacy, biometrics and identity management. She holds dual degrees in law and business administration from the Public University of Navarre, Spain, bringing a unique blend of legal insight and business acumen to her role at Veridas. Furthermore, she firmly believes in the necessity of deep technical knowledge to create coherent and updated laws.

Arielle Thomas serves as a government relations manager on NEC Corporation of America’s Government Relations and Public Policy team. In this role, she manages relationships with elected officials and staff in the U.S. Congress, in addition to tracking relevant legislation and policy developments at the federal and state levels that could impact NEC businesses, technologies and services.

“We deeply appreciate the assistance that Arielle Thomas consistently provides to SIA’s advocacy and events, on many levels that benefit the industry, from her leadership on AI and technology policy to devoting her time to assist other members in navigating Capitol Hill during our Security Hill Day event,” said Parker.

Before joining NEC, Thomas worked at the Greater Washington Partnership, a regional business organization, where she focused on building relationships with governmental and business leaders across Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Prior to this role, she was on the government affairs team at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation, for over half a decade, where she led the Chamber’s cybersecurity lobbying engagement with the U.S. Congress. Thomas earned a B.A. in international studies from American University, with a primary focus in U.S. foreign policy and national security, in addition to a special certificate in advanced leadership studies. She is also very active with the Women in Government Relations organization, where she co-chairs the Telecommunications, Technology and Intellectual Property Task Force.

“SIA is thrilled to recognize Arielle Thomas and Leire Arbona Puértolas as the 2024 Industry Advocate Award winners – they have provided crucial contributions to SIA’s legislative and regulatory initiatives, particularly around AI, privacy, biometrics and technology policy, said SIA CEO Don Erickson. “We commend Arielle and Leire for their leadership and service, thank them for volunteering their time and subject matter expertise on key industry issues and look forward to continuing to collaborate with them on the issues most important to our members and promoting greater safety and security around the world.”

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