Juliette Kayyem

Homeland Security Expert, CNN Analyst, Harvard Faculty Member, & Author

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Juliette Kayyem is one of the nation’s leading experts in homeland and national security against a range of threats from terrorism to cybersecurity to natural disasters. Her thoughtful and frank speeches share a common theme—we will always be vulnerable, but there is a lot we can still do to lower our risks. She recognizes that hurricanes will continue to touch down on land, terrorists will adapt to new security measures, and hackers will always find a new way to get at your personal or corporate information.

Armed with decades of experience in both public and private sector risk management and mitigation, her speeches highlight the importance of preparedness, private and public sector capabilities, and resiliency. Juliette speaks specifically about what she calls the “Five Investments in a Resilient System,” providing unique and practical lessons for audiences. Juliette leaves the audience feeling empowered to take their security into their own hands and with a greater understanding of what it means to be prepared in the 21st century.

Additionally, she is able to speak about her experiences working at various levels in government as highlighted in her memoir Security Mom: My Life Protecting the Home and Homeland. From 9/11 when she was on a train with her newborn to NYC the morning the attacks began, to an anthrax scare when she received a letter laced with powder, to the H1N1 public health scare when she fielded calls from her college friends looking for an early dose of the vaccine, to the Boston Marathon attacks when she had to explain to her own children that the Tsarnaev brothers lived down the street, Juliette shares with the audience her (sometimes funny, sometimes dramatic, always inspiring) stories from the frontlines as a mother of three and a homeland security expert.

About Juliette Kayyem

Juliette Kayyem has decades of experience in both public and private sector risk management and preparedness and resiliency planning. She presently serves as CEO of Zemcar, a lifestyle company focused on connecting busy parents with qualified drivers to solve their family’s transportation needs. A frequent on-air national security analyst for CNN, Kayyem serves as the Faculty Director of the Homeland Security Project at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government where she is also a Robert and Renee Belfer Lecturer in International Security.

Kayyem uses her decades of experience to provide strategic consulting to Fortune 500 companies and start-ups in technology, risk management, mega-event planning, and cybersecurity. Some of her clients include Airbnb, Rave Mobile Safety, UPS’ Americans for Securing All Packages, and CyPhy drones.

Previously, she served as President Obama’s Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. She played a pivotal role in major operations including handling of the H1N1 pandemic and the BP Oil Spill response; she also organized major policy efforts in immigration reform and community resiliency. Before that, Juliette was Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s homeland security advisor, guiding regional planning and the Commonwealth’s first interoperability plan while overseeing the National Guard. She is the recipient of many government honors including the Distinguished Public Service Award, the Coast Guard’s highest medal awarded to a civilian.

Kayyem’s memoir Security Mom: My Life Protecting the Home and Homeland, tells stories of her professional life in homeland security and her personal life as a mother.  In 2013, she was named the Pulitzer Prize finalist for editorial columns in the Boston Globe focused on ending the Pentagon’s combat exclusion rule against women, a policy that was changed that year.

She is a member of the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Global Cyber Alliance, and formerly served on the DHS Secretary’s Homeland Security Advisory Committee.  Kayyem is also a board member of MassINC and the Red Cross of MA.

A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, she is the mother of three children and married to First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Barron.


Speech Topics

  • Building Resiliency—at Home and in the Homeland—in an Age of Mayhem
  • Terrorism, Cyberattacks, and Pandemics: Managing Risks in a Borderless World
  • Masters of Disasters: Leadership Lessons in Crises
  • Climate Change as a National Security Threat
  • Women and National Security: Raising Children in a World with No Happy Endings

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