From Halo to Hacking: New Speaker and Cybersecurity Expert Tarah Wheeler Is Leading the Charge for Women in Tech
Cybersecurity seems like someone else’s problem—until it’s yours. To Lavin’s latest speaker, Tarah Wheeler, it’s not just a problem—it’s a pleasure. As one of the nation’s leading authorities on digital security, Wheeler’s talks provide clear-cut intel into how (and why) we should protect our virtual selves.
“I hack the future,” says Wheeler. “The things that we don’t see in technology are the things that come back and bite us.” Think of the DNC email leaks, and reports of Russian hackers gone “spear-phishing.” To that end, Wheeler has served as Senior Director of Engineering and Principal Security Advocate at Symantec Website Security, a company charged with maintaining the digital safety of both corporate clients and private citizens. She is also the founder of Fizzmint, an end-to-end employee management company, where she now sits on the board.
Straight out of college, Wheeler joined Microsoft Game Studios to work on teams for blockbuster games like Halo before moving on to build systems at encrypted mobile communications firm Silent Circle. She went on to create the Women in Tech Council (to increase women’s participation in tech conference speaking) and Hack the People Foundation (a nonprofit mentorship initiative focused on providing opportunites for the underprivileged to work in technology).
Wheeler is also the head author of Women in Tech: Take Your Career to The Next Level with Practical Advice and Inspiring Stories. Women in Tech is a straightforward instruction manual written for women of all backgrounds as they enter or navigate the professional world of STEM—from engineering, security, game design, to computer coding. Throughout the book—as in her engaging, insightful, and personable talks—Wheeler is a brilliant and empathetic advocate for both increased digital literacy and inclusivity in tech.
An ace at Texas hold’em (she cleaned out poker rooms to seed her first projects), Wheeler’s lucid approach to speaking offers real-world advice for women on salary negotiation, entrepreneurship, and mentorship, as well as wisdom for anyone wishing to understand the complexity of cybersecurity without stress or confusion.