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Tarah Wheeler

Cybersecurity is everyone’s problem.

Cybersecurity Expert | Author of Women in Tech

Contact Tarah For Booking
Tarah Wheeler | Cybersecurity Expert | Author of Women in Tech
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Cybersecurity attacks are doubling every year. Phishing scams are at an all-time high. These days, it isn’t an IT flunky answering for security breaches, it’s CEOs and business owners—non-tech professionals who need clear, actionable guides and information on how to secure themselves and protect their customer’s data. Enter Tarah Wheeler: one of America’s leading cybersecurity experts, as well as lead writer of Women in Tech—called “the essential handbook for women in technology” by Library Journal.

Tarah Wheeler is a global leader in keeping private citizens and corporations safe from cyber attacks. She is a International Security Fellow at New America, a Belfer Cybersecurity Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, leading an international cybersecurity capacity building project; a contributing cybersecurity expert for The Washington Post; and a Foreign Policy contributor on cyber warfare. Most recently, Wheeler was selected for the prestigious Fulbright Cyber Security Scholar Award. Under the scholarship, she will conduct research at Oxford University, in conjunction with the UK National Health Service, on defining cyber war crimes and mitigating the harms civilians face in nation-state sponsored cyberattacks.


Previously, Wheeler was the cybersecurity czar at Symantec—one of the world’s top cybersecurity firms, and the Head of Offensive Security & Technical Data Privacy at Splunk. She has also led projects at Microsoft Game Studios, including the iconic video game franchise Halo. Once named the top female cybersecurity influencer in the world by Onalytica, Wheeler is also a serial entrepreneur: she is an advisory board member for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a board of directors member at several cybersecurity companies, and is also the author of the #1 Amazon career guide bestseller Women in Tech: Take Your Career to The Next Level with Practical Advice and Inspiring Stories, which has topped the #1 Amazon bestseller lists in career guides, women in business, and technology nonfiction.


Wheeler holds an MSc from Portland State University, and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), a Certified Scrum Master (CSM), and a Certified Scrum Developer (CSD). She is also a pre-candidate for a PhD in Complex Systems and Political Science from the University of Michigan and a National Science Foundation Fellow. A Texas holdem poker player, she acquired her startup funds by cleaning out poker rooms in the Northwest and Las Vegas.


“Tarah was an absolute hit! The audience loved her.”

Verizon Media

“We wanted to thank you once again for delivering what is being called the best PASS Summit keynote ever. The entire conference was buzzing with excitement and conversation following your presentation. It was beyond thought provoking!”

Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS)

“Tarah was absolutely terrific. The dimensions of her presentation were very well received: she touched on some leadership and management techniques in times of cyber volatility and it went over very well.”

- Asis International

Speech Topics

Staying Safe at a Distance Cybersecurity in the Age of Remote Work
Before the pandemic, companies were reluctant to allow their employees to work remotely, fearing that sensitive data would be compromised without the physical location of the office. Today, remote data access has made leaps and bounds thanks to COVID-19—but somehow, the concept of security didn't keep up. The pandemic didn’t change the need for employees to access secure and sensitive data; but it did force them into their homes, armed with company laptops and unstable Wi-Fi connections, shared among kids and spouses.
Unfortunately, since COVID began, spearfishing and business intelligence theft has also increased multi-fold, and recent cyber attacks have cost companies millions of dollars. Given the current situation, transitioning skilled employees to security awareness has never been more difficult or more timely. How can we effectively prepare our employees now that data can no longer be secured through the office, but instead must be left to the good graces of our home Internet?
Internationally renowned cyber operations expert Tarah Wheeler is here to help. Mobility is part of modernity, says Wheeler. Remote work isn’t going anywhere, so it’s imperative that we learn how to properly secure employee data and company laptops at home—which means investing in our people and teaching them how to be personally secure. For every expert who knows the right way to do things, there are a dozen people to whom this is brand new information. Wheeler has a deep knowledge and expertise of the security challenges employees don’t even know they’re facing yet. In this talk, she shares the ins-and-outs of cybersecurity since both the cloud revolution and the telecommuting transition began—ensuring we can all confidently become good stewards of company data in the age of remote work.
The Future Of Cyberwar Defending Your Organization In The Fifth Battleground
Business is now on the frontlines of cyberwarfare. More than just the threat of hackers, companies have to worry about how nation-state conflicts might affect them—from cyberespionage groups out to steal their intellectual property, to targeted attacks aimed at shutting down critical nation infrastructures. For example, in 2017, theWannaCry attacks shut down computers in more than 80 NHS organizations throughout England, resulting in over 20,000 appointments cancelled, 600 GP surgeries forced to return to pen and paper, and 5 hospitals that resorted to diverting ambulances because they were unable to handle their emergency case load. Incidences like this, as well as Denmark’s NotPetya attack—at the time dubbed the “Most Devastating Cyberattack in History” by WIRED—have cost companies billions of dollars, as they become the collateral victims in state conflict.
So, how do you prioritize your information security budget when you’re no longer only concerned about hackers, but about nation-state attacks as well? In this talk, Tarah Wheeler—newly appointed the US/UK Fulbright Scholar in Cyber Security—shows leaders and organizations how to develop an effective threat model and understand their lines of defense. As cyberattacks from foreign governments continue to increase, it’s imperative that businesses learn how to defend themselves, take proactive action, and recognize their larger place in the world’s growing, complex technical ecosystem. This talk helps them do just that.
Women in Tech Inspiring Diversity and Real Change in the STEM Fields

Despite various noble initiatives designed to inspire girls to seek careers in the STEM fields, women are still vastly outnumbered by men—and the disparity is only getting worse. To Tarah Wheeler, women don’t need more inspiration—they already love science! But they do need help dismantling widespread and insidious discrimination: forces that mean ‘diversity’ looks like one token woman amid scores of men; that mean women make much less than their male peers; and that ensure they rarely ascend to the same level of influence.


This isn’t the result of some conspiracy, Tarah Wheeler argues—rather, it’s a larger problem of unconscious social biases that companies rarely confront, and can barely resolve, beyond the safest initiatives. So, in this large-hearted, emboldening talk, Wheeler shows students, professionals, associations, and companies how to fight for meaningful gender equality at work. For women in particular, she outlines tools to succeed where it counts the most: the paycheck. With advice on salary negotiation, when to change careers, how to mentor others or start a business, balance family matters, and even how to best format resumes or ace interviews, Wheeler lays out practical advice for anyone, no matter where they are on the corporate ladder. And, with stories from her own successful career, she explains the many doors in and out of tech: how those in marketing, art, programming, English, mathematics and more can find meaningful work in an enormous industry. 


It’s time to stop watching women get sidelined, stuck, or overlooked in tech, and time to let them bring their wealth of creativity and innovation to the field—at all levels of influence. 

What’s Your Cybersecurity Plan? How Hacking Can Happen To You, Too

Reports of cybersecurity leaks—and major scandals—have dominated headlines for years. But for many of us, protecting information still seems like someone else’s problem—and job. If this sounds familiar, ask yourself: do you have a comprehensive plan in place to protect your most important assets? If something goes wrong, how will you react, put out fires, and recover lost trust? Have you considered the consequences of information falling into the wrong hands in 10, 20, 30, or 40 years?


Tarah Wheeler has made a career out of advancing the public’s understanding of cybersecurity. At Symantec, she worked as the principal security advocate and senior director of engineering—and even edited the volume Website Security Threats for Dummies. In this talk, she brings depth, warmth, and sparkling humor to an otherwise complex, but necessary, subject. From learning the fundamentals of cryptocurrency to how the Internet of Things might provide a gateway to hackers, absorbing how a robust cybersecurity plan operates to covering security at live events, Wheeler offers a razor-sharp breakdown of what you need to know—and do—to protect yourself, your partners, and your clients.