Tan Le Profile

  • One of the most influential women in the world of technology, she is the founder and CEO of the cutting edge bioinformatics company, Emotiv.

  • As the inventor of the EPOC headset, she is revolutionizing neuroscience research and improving people's physical and social well-being.

  • Emotionally moving, she demonstrates the power of determination and perseverance through her personal story of how she went from being an impoverished Vietnamese refugee to a multi-millionaire.
  • One of the science world’s most successful and influential CEOs, Tan Le started her incredible life journey as a refugee facing a high probability of death on a treacherous trip across the pirate infested China South Sea. Today, Ms. Le is the founder and CEO of the bioinformatics firm, EMOTIV, where her groundbreaking work in technology and artificial intelligence is making it possible to control electronic devices with something as simple as a single thought.

    At age 4, she fled war-torn Vietnam in an overcrowded tugboat with only her family and a vial of poison, kept on-hand to commit suicide in the case of a pirate attack. After reaching the shores of Australia, her family built a life from scratch amidst racism and poverty. Ms. Le applied herself intensely in her studies, opening the door to an education at one of the nation’s finest colleges, Monash University and a reputation that quickly earned her the prestigious “Young Australian of the Year” award.

    Having grown up in an immigrant community stricken with mental illness, drug abuse, and domestic violence, Ms. Le began her career as a social advocate and became a bridge between Australia’s educated class and the community she’d grown up in. She simultaneously jumpstarted entrepreneurial ventures in neural-engineering technology, driven by her desire to better understand the brain and its effect on how we experience life.

    Her company, EMOTIV, is best known for its affordable EEG headset, which collects data from brainwaves as the wearer goes about his daily life. The data can then be uploaded to an online platform created by Ms. Le’s company that makes the information accessible to scientists and analysts around the world as part of an effort to accelerate research on neurological impairments such as depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, autism, and ADHD, among other conditions.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      Tan Le (BCom (Hons), LLB (Hons)) is Founder & CEO of EMOTIV, a bioinformatics company advancing understanding of the human brain and enable early identification of biomarkers for mental and other neurological conditions using electroencephalography (EEG). She is a technology innovator, entrepreneur, business executive and sought-after speaker.

      In 2003 Ms Le co-founded Emotiv Systems, a neuroengineering company that developed a break- through interface technology for digital media taking inputs directly from the brain. Applications for the technology and interface span an amazing variety of potential industries – from gaming to interactive television, everyday computer interactions, hands-free control system, smart adaptive environments, art, accessibility design, market research, psychology, medicine, robotics, automotive, transport safety, defense and security. Today, Emotiv’s award winning technology (Red Dot Award, AutoVision Innovations Award, Australian International Design Awards, Australian Engineering Excellence Awards) is a recognized world leader and pioneer in this field of brain computer interface with developers and researchers in over 100 countries.

      Before she co-founded Emotiv Systems, Ms Le co-founded and ran SASme International, a pioneer in providing Short Message Peer-to-Peer (SMPP) platforms to telecommunication carriers and content aggregators, with branches in Asia and Europe. Ms Le was part of negotiating a successful merger for SASme in 2003.

      Tan was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2013. A recipient of numerous awards including the G’Day USA Global Innovation Awards 2014, Advance Global Australian Award for ICT in 2012, AutoVision Innovations Award, Monash University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011. She has been featured in the Who’s Who in Australia list since 1999, Fast Company‘s Most Influential Women in Technology in 2010 and Forbes‘ 50 Names You Need to Know in 2011. She has also been an Ambassador for the Status of Women since 2001. Named Young Australian of the Year in 1998, Ms Le’s story was featured National Museum of Australia. She has been honoured by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader since 2009.

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    Tan Le's Speech Descriptions

    Influential innovator and technological entrepreneur, Tan Le captivates audiences with her awe-inspiring personal story and groundbreaking advances in how we understand and use our brains. Ms. Le’s futuristic-centered presentations demonstrate the latest technology her company has developed to take neurological research to the next level by making it easy, pertinent, and accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.

    Her soothing, yet content-laden presentations will leave listeners both speechless and empowered as she showcases the marvelous difference people can make in their community when they optimize their brainpower.

    My Immigration Story

    In this captivating and inspirational keynote, Tan Le recalls her early childhood fleeing war torn Vietnam – boarding a tugboat in search of a new life, four-year-old Tan Le’s mother was clutching one precious possession: a vial of poison. In the highly possible circumstance of a pirate boarding the vessel, she would feed it to her two daughters and her mother, before taking it herself. Against all odds, Tan Le and her family washed ashore Australia’s coast to begin a new life in a foreign country. She worked hard, and it became clear from an early age that she had immense potential. At just 16, after intense studying, she was accepted to college. Just a couple of years later she was named ‘Young Australian Of The Year.’ Le goes on to humbly discuss her accomplishments, and how she became a spokesperson, activist, and eventually moves to the US to become CEO of Emotiv- a leading neuroscience technology company that helps individuals all over the world with groundbreaking innovations.

    The Future is Closer Than You Think: A Headset that Reads Your Brainwaves

    Tan Le’s astonishing new computer interface reads its user’s brainwaves, making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). She demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.

    Other suggested topics:

  • You Think, Therefore You Can
  • Technology Innovation
  • Entrepreneurship
  • What People are Saying about Seeing Tan Speak

    Rating Entries

    “Tan’s demo was undoubtedly one of the most spectacular features of the event, and also one of the most liked. From what we heard from all the people that attended it, they would not have missed it for anything. It certainly made a wonderful finale for the most busy day of our Forum.”
    – IT for Business Forum

    “Tan’s message was an inspiration to all present by showing that a great leader is someone who can vision the future and inspire others to achieve it.”
    – Loddon Murray Community

    “Tan Le was one of six guests discussing future thinking with Edward De Bono. In the company of a former Prime Minister, heads of industry and advertising wizards, she not only held her own but often shone.”
    – Watershed Pictures

    “Your address was thought-provoking, and very well received by the assembled Rotarians. Your words and the manner in which you delivered them were an inspiration to all of those present.”
    – Rotary International

    “Tan Le is a very articulate young woman with great presentation skills. We have had a very positive response to the lecture with many requests for her to be a speaker at various functions.”
    – The Victoria Women’s Council

    “Tan is an exceptional speaker whose outlook on life is truly inspirational and motivating.”
    – QANTAS Airways Ltd

    “We would like to thank you for your time and your most enlightening and informative address. Your input at our convention helped make it the success it was.”
    – United Israel Appeal

    “A delightful personality, which shined through in her presentation. She was a great ambassador for young Australia and for Vodafone.”
    – Michels Warren Public Relations

    “Tan was the perfect person to speak at our breakfast. She was truly inspiring and our guests couldn’t stop talking about her.”
    – Monash Institute of Reproduction & Development

    “…an articulate, entertaining, informative and enlightening speaker.”
    – Loddon Murray Community Leadership Program

    “Tan Le was very inspirational and her passion motivated a lot of listeners, here are their comments:

  • Extremely inspirational and motivational.
  • She wrapped it up with one solid phrase/ one solid idea.
  • A very inspirational speaker and a great example of how we can all influence the communities we are in.”
  • – Department of Finance and Administration

    “Tan Le is an extraordinarily gifted speaker with the ability to engage and move an audience in an intimate way.”
    – United Nations – High Commissioner for Refugees

    “Ms Le’s presentation was exceptional. She is a truly wonderful speaker.”
    – AMP Financial Services

    “Tan’s story immediately captured the imagination of the audience, and the depth of the message she shared proved so inspirational that many people were moved to shared how Tan had impacted upon them emotionally.”
    – Australian and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)

    “Tan Le is a very articulate young woman with great presentation skills. We have had a very positive response to the lecture with many requests for her to be a speaker at various functions.”
    -The Victorian Women’s Council

    “Tan was a huge hit! She added tremendous value to our event, and feedback from attendees was universally positive. Tan touched our audience with her inspirational story of the work she is doing, and brought a very valuable dimension to HP’s message at the event. Her quiet but compelling stage presence was highly impactful. I’d like to express appreciation, on behalf of HP, to Tan not just for her presentation, but her very flexible and warm approach leading up to the event as well.”
    – Hewlett Packard

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