Tom Pendergast near Cambria, California

Tom Pendergast, Writer, Editor, Adviser

When you engage with Tom Pendergast, you’re getting a unique combination of skills: business acumen, experience, leadership, solid writing, strong editorial sense, integrity, and humanity.

Tom co-founded a book packaging company (back when there were books) and ran the company for nearly 15 years. He then rose quickly at cybersecurity and privacy training company MediaPRO, spearheading the development of their online training curriculum and playing a vital role in their company growth and acquisition, ending his career there as Chief Learning Officer in 2021. He’s overseen dozens of direct reports, helped build and take products to market, acted as the company spokesperson at industry events, and contributed to all areas of the business. He’s a multi-faceted business leader with a deep love for using content to drive business growth. (His leadership extends to his community as well: he was elected to and served as president of his local school board.)

Tom’s got a Ph.D. in American Studies, he has authored 7 books (from a cultural history of American masculinity to history books for middle school readers), edited two dozen reference books, and written countless blog and magazine articles. Both his books and his training have won accolades and numerous industry awards.

What people who have worked with Tom mention first, however, is how great it is to work with him. He’s honest and empathetic, and he has a unique ability to surface and resolve difficult issues, both one-to-one and in groups. Ultimately Tom is deeply invested in the success of others—he truly improves the work of all those around him.

Selected Publications and Presentations


Creating the Modern Man: American Magazines and Consumer Culture, 1900-1950, Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 2000.


Confessions of an Awareness Nerd weekly blog, MediaPRO,, May 2019 to February 2021.

“Make Sure That Stimulus Check Lands in the Right Bank Account,” Dark Reading,, March 5, 2021.

“Five Things to Try in Your Awareness Program in 2021,” RSA Conference,, January 4, 2021.

“Don’t Let New Privacy Laws Like CPRA Throw Your Off Your Privacy Training Game,” CPO Magazine,, November 23, 2020.

“The Time Is Now to Build Privacy Cultures in Our Organizations,” StaySafeOnline,, January 24, 2020.

“It’s Time to Combine Security Awareness and Privacy Awareness,” CPO Magazine,, May 22, 2019 (republished as, January 29, 2020).

“The Next Cold War Is Here, and It’s All About Data,” Wired,, March 28, 2018.

“Two Paths to Meeting GDPR Training Requirements,” The Privacy Advisor (IAPP),, January 23, 2018.

“Avoiding the Dark Side of AI-Driven Security Awareness,” Dark Reading,, July 5, 2017.

“The U.S. Is Slowly Submitting to the EU’s 2018 Privacy Law,” Venture Beat,, June 24, 2017.

“What Happens When AI Meets Security Awareness,” ISSA Journal, Vol. 15, Iss. 6, June 2017.

“5 Signs Your Cybersecurity Awareness Program Is Paying Off,” Tripwire,, March 28, 2017.

“4 Signs You, Your Users, Tech Peers & C-Suite All Have 'Security Fatigue,'” Dark Reading,, February 9, 2017.

“Retailers Turn to Human ‘Sensors’ to Shore Up Physical and Digital Security,”, August 25, 2016.

“For the Incoming Federal CISO: Focus on the Human Side of Cybersecurity,” SC Magazine,, July 25, 2016.

“An Open Letter to the New Federal CISO,” Venture Beat,, July 23, 2016.

“Creating a Risk-Aware Culture through Built-In Privacy,” Privacy Perspectives (IAPP),, January 29, 2016.

“Behavioral Analytics: The Future of Just-in-Time Awareness Training,?” Dark Reading,, January 20, 2016.

Adaptive Awareness series (11 articles), CSO Online,, 2016-2018.

“Why Employees Are the Last Line of Defense Against New EMV Card Fraud,” Payment Week,, November 10, 2015.

“Why Mere Compliance Increases Risk” (with John Schroeter), CSO Online,, October 2, 2013.


Moderator, “Awareness at Scale: Creating Risk-Aware Cultures in Big Companies,” RSA Conference, March 2019.

Moderator, “Let’s Blow Up Security Awareness and Start Over,” RSA Conference, April 2018.

“The Challenge of Creating an Adaptive Awareness Program,” FISSEA Conference, March 2016.

“Build an Adaptive Awareness Program Based on NIST's Cybersecurity Framework,” ISSA International Conference, October 2015.

Numerous other sponsored and local speaking engagements.