Leadership Voices: Pathways to Success featuring Anne-Marie Slaughter

New America

740 15th Street NW, Suite 900

9th Floor

Washington, DC

October 11, 2017

5:30 P.M. ET

The Leadership Voices series, a partnership between the McCain Institute for International Leadership and New America, features today’s icons and trailblazers from across business, politics, sports and technology to share their journeys from their first internships to their current posts and from being on the sidelines of decisions to being the ones making the final call.

Focused on actionable tips and advice for young, ambitious change makers, Leadership Voices highlights how the people we look up to got to where they are – and how you can get there, too.

Event Recap

On Oct. 11, 2017, the McCain Institute for International Leadership and New America co-hosted “Leadership Voices: Pathways to Success,” featuring president and CEO of New America, Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, and executive director of the McCain Institute, Ambassador Kurt Volker. Geared toward an audience of early to mid-career professionals, the discussion focused on how both speakers arrived at their positions of leadership. Here’s their advice:

Defining Leadership

  • Quoting the political theorist Dr. Nannerl Keohane, Dr. Slaughter defined leadership as “clarifying or determining the goals for a group of people, and mobilizing energies to achieve them.”
  • Volker added, “leadership is not about being in a position of authority.” Rather, it’s about “identifying a problem, and being willing to solve the problem.”

Getting Their “Big Break”

  • Describing the evolution of her career path, she advised: “Don’t think about what you’re going to be, think about what you’re going to do.”
  • Volker also advised young leaders to “position themselves to become lucky.”

Women Leaders in Foreign Policy

  • Slaughter explained what it was like to not have female role models in the foreign policy field. She forged her own path of leadership and confessed: “I didn’t think of myself as a leader until my late 30s” acknowledging that this feeling “was definitely gendered.” Dr. Slaughter also acknowledged that being a woman also worked in her favor at times, especially when others were seeking women to fulfill senior roles.

Millennials in the Workforce

  • When Dr. Slaughter defined the strengths and weaknesses of the millennial generation in the workforce, she praised the “energy, idealism, and innovation” shown by millennials, but observed that “there’s not the same set of expectations about having to do the grunt work.”
  • Slaughter ended by recommending to young professionals in the audience to view the workplace as an “alliance” or “alumni group.” She concluded by suggesting that all people should “assume positive intent” in their daily interactions with people. Additionally, she recommended reading “The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age” by Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha, and Chris Yeh.


5:30 PM Registration and Reception

6:00 PM Discussion

7:00 PM Networking Reception

Follow the conversation online using #LeadershipVoices and following @McCainInstitute and @NewAmerica.

Live streaming of this event will be available on the New America and McCain Institute websites.