Home: Virginia and Washington, DC. Age: Almost 60. Profession: Turnarounds in business, government and philanthropy. Organization: SMU Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity. Title: Distinguished Fellow. Significant other: My husband, who makes me laugh. Alma mater: University of Virginia (B.A.); Georgetown University (M.A.).
Current project: Supporting the next generation of leaders and organizations solving the world’s biggest problems. Recent recognition: Five-time award winning Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author. Recent professional development: Launched as a professional speaker. What’s been your big (or biggest leap)? From leading the charge to helping the next generation of leaders. Recent travel or adventure: In 2022, saw polar bears in Hudson Bay, hiked in Patagonia and attended Formula One.
Personality profile: Lead with discipline and diplomacy. What one word would your closest friend use to describe you? Diligent. Moral compass: The Washington Post Sniff Test. How do you define an ideal business relationship? The ability to align incentives to change. What is your guilty pleasure? Chocolate. What is your favorite place (or way) to spend money? Travel. What is at the top of your bucket list? Antarctica. What ingredient is essential to your perfect vacation? Reading with a view.
What was your favorite college course? History of Economics. What book has influenced you the most? High Output Management, by Andy Grove. What movie have you repeatedly watched? Gladiator. Besides your parents, who has had the greatest influence on your life? Dr. Craig Barrett, former Chair/CEO, Intel Corporation. What’s the best advice you received growing up? Never give up. What’s the best advice you received in your career? How to apply engineering processes to solve problems in any setting. What is your go-to source of creative inspiration? People I meet through business and philanthropy. What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? Working in the Reagan White House.
What message do you want to send out into the world? Make your table bigger by regaining the joy of exploring differences with healthy curiosity and openness. What change would you like to see in the next generation of leaders? An understanding that how you treat people, how you react to success or failure, and who you lift-up with you along the way is the legacy you leave as a leader.
Politicians presenting problems as too big to solve or too big to fail, which stands in the way of constructive political advocacy and engagement. It’s not surprising that people throw up their hands and wonder why try.
Also, the rise of unhappiness and loneliness. Each of us has the power to create meaningful change through our individual actions. One person helping another, with compassion and empathy, can have the most immediate impact on someone's day and affect their outlook.
Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? Pope John Paul II. As a kid, what did you first want to be when you grew up? A military leader. What advice would you give your younger self? How you treat people matters. It is something we control and provides a benefit to the giver and receiver. What day in your life would you choose to re-live? The day we adopted our daughter. What period in your life would you do differently, if you could? Any time I let bullies define my narrative.
Personal motto: End on a high note. Favorite quote: “Remember to look beyond what is currently in your life and try to visualize what is unseen. Count your blessings and it will also help you challenge the crisis you are experiencing... Some of the greatest stumbling blocks I have ever faced have also resulted in being my greatest steppingstones” (My father, Dr. Pierre Guillermin). How would you like to be remembered? As someone who partnered with others to change the world for the better.