Joan O’Hara is Vice President of Public Policy with the XR Association, where she leads policy development around emerging immersive technologies including virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. Prior to joining the private sector, Ms. O’Hara served in the Trump Administration as Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President and later as Deputy Assistant to the President and Executive Secretary of the National Security Council. Ms. O’Hara went to the White House from Capitol Hill, where she was General Counsel for the Committee on Homeland Security in the House of Representatives.
With more than a decade of government service and policy work, Ms. O’Hara is a trusted advisor to both political leaders and business executives at the highest levels. As the Vice President’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Ms. O’Hara represented the Vice President at convenings of the National Security Council, staffed him for meetings with heads of state, and advised on the full spectrum of foreign affairs issues. As Executive Secretary of the National Security Council, Ms. O’Hara was responsible for all Council operations and for staffing the President overseas. She further served as a principal liaison between the National Security Council staff, the interagency, and the Executive Office of the President.
As General Counsel for the House Homeland Security Committee, Ms. O’Hara played a key role in developing and executing the Committee’s legislative agenda and she advised the Committee Chairman on legal, procedural, and policy matters. Over the course of her career in Washington, Ms. O’Hara has helped to shape legislation and policy on technology and privacy; cybersecurity; counterterrorism; border security; national defense; and foreign affairs.
Before coming to Washington, Ms. O’Hara enjoyed a career as an elite rower, training with the U.S. National Team and winning U.S. National Championships in multiple sculling events. She was also the award-winning Head Coach of the NCAA Rowing programs at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and the University of San Diego. Joan received her Bachelor’s Degree from Loyola College in Maryland; her Master’s Degree from San Diego State University; and her JD, cum laude, from New York Law School.