30 Under 30: Liam Adams arms businesses with cybersecurity hacks

Adams is on PwC's cybersecurity team and teaches classes on the topic at UBC

Liam Adams | Age: 28

Manager, cybersecurity, PwC; adjunct professor, UBC

Life Story: Liam Adams grew up in South Africa, but when his dad got a job with the Indian Premier League (one of the world’s top cricket leagues), he moved with his family across the Indian Ocean. After finishing high school abroad, it was either Singapore or Canada for university. A scholarship at UBC clinched it. “In retrospect, it was a good decision. I don’t think I could live anywhere else in Canada because of the weather,” he says.

Adams did a combined bachelor’s degree in business and computer science through UBC Sauder and dabbled in a couple of ventures—a digital agency and a superfood company—before landing a job with multinational consulting giant PwC. He was the fourth employee in the Vancouver branch’s cybersecurity advisory practice. Five years later, it’s now at some 25 people.

About two years ago, one of Adams’s former professors approached him. “He said, ‘I know you’re in cybersecurity; we don’t actually have a cybersecurity course at the business school and a lot of the employers are asking us to upskill our graduates in the space,’” recalls Adams. He was tasked with figuring out a curriculum and teaching the pilot course last year. “It went super well,” Adams says. “I got some really great feedback from the students; they liked the hands-on approach. In some courses you don’t get that.”

Bottom Line: Adams, who serves on the board of the Young Cavaliers Foundation, which helps South Africans from under-resourced communities access educational and career development opportunities, splits his time between PwC and sessional instruction at UBC. But the entrepreneurial fire still burns. “My focus is around the stuff I’m doing in cybersecurity, cyber education,” he says. “The plan is to do something more entrepreneurial in that space.”