First Female White House CIO, Leading Cybersecurity Expert, 2019 Woman Cybersecurity Leader of the Year, and 2020 Cybersecurity Crusader of the Year
As one of the nation’s most respected authorities on cybersecurity, Theresa Payton is also a highly sought-after AI keynote speaker. Payton is a visionary in the digital world, leading the way as an inventor of new security designs and has an approved U.S. patent in security. She captivates audiences by drawing from her experience as a veteran cybercrime fighter and entrepreneur, masterfully blending memorable anecdotes with cutting-edge insights.
She identifies emerging trends and techniques to help audiences combat cyber threats, from the impact of the Internet of Things to securing Big Data. Payton is the cybersecurity expert organizations turn to for discreet help during data breaches and to improve IT systems and strategies. She made history as the first female to serve as White House Chief Information Officer and currently helps organizations in both the public and private sectors protect their most valuable resources.
Managing cybersecurity risk is what Payton knows and does best. Before overseeing IT operations as CIO for President George W. Bush and his administration, she held executive roles in banking technology for two of the country’s top financial institutions. After serving in the White House, she went on to co-found Dark3, a cybersecurity product company, and Fortalice Solutions, a world-class cybersecurity consulting firm ranked a “Top 5 Most Innovative Cybersecurity Company” in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and DC.
Named one of the “Top 25 Most Influential People in Security” by Security Magazine, Payton was also featured in the book 100 Fascinating Women Fighting Cybercrime and honored as the 2019 Woman Cybersecurity Leader of the Year. Business Insider named her one of the top 50 Cybersecurity Leaders of 2020 and CISO Magazine named her Cybersecurity Crusader of the Year (2020). She is the author of several publications on IT strategy and cybersecurity, including Manipulated: Inside the Cyberwar to Hijack Elections and Distort the Truth, released in April of 2020. Cyber Security Experts named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in Cyber Security in 2021.
Payton is sought out by media news outlets to explain complex security issues and help viewers understand how to protect their privacy. She has been a frequent guest on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox Business, and Fox News and has been featured on CBS News, CNN, NBC News, and MSNBC, as well as Canadian and Irish news outlets. She also starred on the reality TV series Hunted, where real people attempted to drop off the grid while highly trained investigators—Including Payton—"hunted” to catch them.