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Laura Liswood
In August 1996, Laura Liswood co-founded the Council of Women World Leaders with President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir of Iceland. Ms. Liswood is the Secretary General of the Council, which is composed of current and former women presidents and prime ministers. The work of the Council expands the understanding of leadership, establishes a network of resources for high-level women leaders, and provides a forum for the group to contribute input and shape the international issues important to all people.

Liswood holds the position of Senior Advisor for Goldman Sachs, a premier global investment bank. She was previously Managing Director, Global Leadership and Diversity for Goldman Sachs. Liswood has also held management positions in the airline industry, including general manager for the Pacific Northwest, for TWA, and was a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group.

From 1992-96, as Director of the Women’s Leadership Project, Liswood identified global leadership contributions by women heads of state. She interviewed 15 current and former women presidents and prime ministers, which is chronicled in her book and video documentary, Women World Leaders. Her quest was to find out what it would take for a woman to become President of the United States. The 10th Anniversary edition of the book, with new interviews and additional chapters, will be published in July, 2007.

Liswood, a nationally recognized speaker, author, and advisor, has contributed to leadership in the women's community for more than twenty years as a member of the International Women's Forum, Leadership America, the board of the First Women's Bank of California, and the Washington Women's Political Caucus. Former commissioner of the City of Seattle Women's Commission, Liswood was the owner/publisher of Seattle Woman and is the founder of May's List, a bipartisan political donor network emphasizing women's leadership in the political arena. In 2000, the Secretary of Defense appointed her to a three-year term of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS).

After the events of September 11th, 2001, Ms. Liswood joined the District of Columbia's police force as a reserve officer. She has since been promoted to Sergeant.

She holds a M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, a J.D. from the University of California, Davis, School of Law and a B.A. from California State University, San Diego.

Entries by Laura Liswood

Making the Most of a Conference

(0) Comments | Posted January 16, 2015 | 10:03 AM

I go to many conferences and meetings, both as a speaker and attendee. I am fortunate that I may get invited to such august gatherings as the World Economic Forum at Davos, Renaissance Weekend, Aspen Ideas Fest and the International Women's Forum annual meetings to name some. The invitations are...

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Women in the Boardroom

(0) Comments | Posted November 4, 2014 | 12:17 PM

The debate about getting more women on boards has often centered around the recent excellent research by Catalyst, EY and other organizations, that more women creates a better, more profitable organization. The question about WHY that is could use further reflection and more granular observations.

For example, if I were...

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Is 20 Percent the Glass Ceiling?

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 2:34 PM

Recently, at the World Economic Forum at Davos, much attention was given to the fact that the number of women attending declined from 17 percent to 16 percent. Upon reflection, this has less to do with who the Forum invites to this event and more to do with the number...

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The Seed and the Soil: A 50/50 Career Deal

(1) Comments | Posted April 4, 2013 | 11:00 AM

Recent discussions about women's careers have focused on the apparent divide between what women should do to ensure their careers go well (Lean In) and what institutions need to do to change policies to help women ensure their careers can be possible ("Can Women Have It All?"). The debate seems...

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Have It All

(1) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 12:23 PM

Much has been written and discussed about women's ability to have it all -- career, family, household responsibilities. Anne Marie Slaughter's July/August 2012 Atlantic article raised the auditory level even louder.

I recently attended a session where this issue was the main topic. At least a dozen successful...

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Has Diversity Lived Up to Its Promise?

(8) Comments | Posted November 29, 2011 | 1:03 PM

Diversity and inclusion are instrumental for any organization that seeks innovation, creativity, and engaged employees. We don't need to make the business case for it; it is well accepted that a diverse workforce is essential to staying competitive in the global marketplace. In today's world, problems are complex, communication is...

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Got Courage?

(1) Comments | Posted February 15, 2011 | 3:42 PM

The reason Volkswagen's Darth Vader ad scored such a hit at the Superbowl is our popular longing for powerful, heroic action. In the ad, the six-year-old, dressed as Darth Vader from "Star Wars," wants to be heroic and do something big. Even dressed as a villain, he is the hero...

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The Heckler's Veto

(0) Comments | Posted September 20, 2010 | 11:04 AM

A wise lawyer friend introduced me to the term "The Heckler's Veto". There is a strict legal meaning to this phrase and there is also its use outside of the legal context.

Briefly, the legal framework is based on a court case Hill v. Colorado 530 US 703, 735...

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Risk Management

(0) Comments | Posted July 20, 2010 | 11:18 AM

In any specific industry, disaster is predictable. It can happen and comes with the territory. Airplanes fall out of the sky, oil wells spring leaks, financial markets are volatile. If you are in one of those industries you should have developed specific, detailed, anticipatory disaster detection, continuity and damage reduction...

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Yemen: An Alternative Approach to the Challenges Posed by Fragile States

(0) Comments | Posted January 25, 2010 | 10:29 AM

In a January 6, 2010, speech at the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke at length about the importance of development in the US long-term goals of global peace, security and equitable life. She called development "transformative," and "an essential leg in...

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The Loudest Duck

(0) Comments | Posted November 23, 2009 | 9:35 AM

Have you ever wondered why:

• So few women run companies around the world
• Even fewer American companies are run by Japanese men
• There are more tall male leaders than short male leaders
• Pakistani leadership is filled with cricket fans but not racquetball players

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Expectations for the New President

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2009 | 4:48 PM

On April 4, 2009, the Washington Post had a front page article with a headline of "Blacks at Odds Over Scrutiny of President."

The article stated that for many African Americans there was now a division between those who want to continue to praise Obama and...

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How the Capital Market Failures and the Inability to Achieve Gender Equity are the Same

(1) Comments | Posted January 21, 2009 | 2:06 PM

There may not appear to be any immediate value in studying the failure of the capital markets to help us understand why gender equity seems so long in coming to pass, but ironically, the attributes of one look similar to the attributes of the other. Iris Bohnet, an economist and...

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The Ideal Combination for President: Women Governors

(9) Comments | Posted July 30, 2008 | 5:52 PM

In the New York Times on July 27, 2008, columnist Patrick Healey talked about the presidential race: "An Exclusive Club Gets Included." The premise is that senators are now being seen as attractive, viable presidential candidates, unlike in previous runs when the pool of presidential candidates was almost exclusively drawn...

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The Other Woman Running For President

(2) Comments | Posted June 9, 2008 | 4:58 PM

The United States and the world have been focused on the US election. We have all been fascinated by the prospect of a woman president or a black president. This powerful country of over 300 million came close to being led by a woman.

Ironically, there is another political campaign...

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A Gender Perspective on the World Economic Forum at Davos

(3) Comments | Posted May 1, 2008 | 6:16 PM

Last January, I was invited to speak on a panel at the World Economic Forum at Davos for their 2008 Annual Meeting. Much of the Forum is focused on economics, finance, and business. I was voted "most likely to fall asleep in finance class" at my business school, so these...

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Benazir, a Person -- Not Just Politics

(8) Comments | Posted January 1, 2008 | 10:49 AM

Much will be said about Benazir Bhutto in these days that follow her tragic assassination. Surely many will focus on what this means for Pakistan, for the United States, for stability in the region, and even for those campaigning for the U.S. presidency.

For me, it's more personal and it...

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Will a Difference Be Seen With Women Presidents or Prime Ministers?

(6) Comments | Posted November 21, 2007 | 1:21 PM

Another woman has won the presidential election in her country. On October 28, 2007 Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina won a decisive victory over her opponents -- one of whom was a woman.

It is still not business as usual. A woman president is still the 'dancing dog' phenomenon,...

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Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves

(1) Comments | Posted July 2, 2007 | 5:02 PM

Remember the song by Aretha Franklin, "Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves"? Well, sisters are still doing "it" but now "it" means holding meetings of powerful leaders, shaping the world's agenda, critically evaluating and demanding better leadership, and becoming high-level leaders themselves. Why? Because now, like men, women have both...

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