Omar Khawaja

Highmark Health

Omar Khawaja serves as the Vice President, Chief Information Security Officer for Highmark Health, an $18 billion national, blended health organization that includes one of America’s largest Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers and a growing regional hospital and physician network. Based in Pittsburgh, Pa., Highmark Health’s 35,000 employees serve millions of customers nationwide through the nonprofit organization’s affiliated businesses including Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network, HM Insurance Group, United Concordia Dental, HM Health Solutions and HM Home & Community Services.

Omar has been developing and managing security solutions for startups, service providers, consulting firms and enterprises. Prior to Highmark Health, he was at Verizon Enterprise Solutions, where he was responsible for a portfolio of security solutions with customers in 72 countries.

Omar believes the right people are the greatest asset of any security program and relentless incrementalism is the ultimate weapon in combating cyber risk. He believes security programs should be business driven and technology ought to be subordinate to business outcomes and service improvements. To get the Why-What-How sequence right when selecting and executing initiatives, he developed the BOSITE framework. These days, Omar’s passions lie in three areas: people, measurement and change management.

Omar currently serves on the boards of: HITRUST, Leadership Pittsburgh, Action Housing and FAIR Institute; on the Governing Body of Evanta; on the CISO Workgroup of BCBSA; and adjunct faculty for the CISO program at Carnegie Mellon University. In addition, he serves as an advisor to half a dozen tech firms.  Omar’s certifications include: CISSP, CCSK, CCSP, CPHIMS, SAFE Agilist and FAIR Risk. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech and an MBA from Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.