How I learned to embrace power as a woman in Washington

Editorial / Opinion Piece / Blog Post

September 12, 2018

How I learned to embrace power as a woman in Washington


By Wendy R. Sherman,

In 2011, when I heard that Bill Burns was going to be named deputy secretary of state under Secretary Hillary Clinton, I called Cheryl Mills, Hillary’s chief of staff. I wanted to let her know I was interested in replacing Bill as undersecretary for political affairs at the State Department. At the time, I was vice-chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global consulting firm. I already had several years of experience at State, first as assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs under former Secretary of State Warren Christopher and then as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s counselor in the 1990s.

Cheryl and I had some initial conversations that seemed to indicate I was being considered. Then things went silent. In Washington, interviewing for a major position is a bit of a blood sport. Reporters and pundits kick around names quite publicly, so success or failure is never a private matter. If I was going to be passed over, I wondered whether it was better that my name had fallen off the roster early. In any case, there was nothing further to be done.

Click here to read the full article published by Politico on 6 September 2018.

Focus areas: