Anne-Marie Slaughter is the President and CEO of the New America Foundation, a public policy institute and think tank based in Washington and New York. She received a B.A. from Princeton University, an M.Phil and D.Phil in international relations from Oxford and a J.D. from Harvard University. In June 2012 she published the article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” in The Atlantic, one of the most read articles in the history of the magazine and sparked a national conversation about women’s leadership.
What are the three most important characteristics of a woman leader?
The most important characteristics of any leader are courage, commitment, and care: the courage to take tough decisions even in the face of opposition and even enmity; overriding commitment to the institution you lead; and care for the people you work with and oversee. The importance of those characteristics does not change whether you are a man or a woman.
When do you feel at your best?
When I am in Italy! Or on a long walk anywhere beautiful. Or in front of an energized, engaged crowd.
What did you do in your first year after College?
I was on a two-year scholarship to Oxford, where I got an M.Phil in international affairs.
What does it mean to be a “successful” woman?
To have lived the life you want to live rather than the life others want or expect you to live.
What are challenges you think women face in Academia?
They are continually asked to take on administrative tasks, both because men assume that women will be good at them and because other male scholars are often deemed “to important to be bothered” with necessary committee work, student advising, and other tasks. The result is that women get pigeonholed as good colleagues and citizens rather than as great scholars.
What was your biggest mistake?
I have made many; making mistakes is how you learn.
What do you do when you need a moment?
Walk around the block; get a massage; wait 24 hours before hitting send on an email!
Give yourself a compliment.
I give off warmth and positive energy.
If you could give “the college you” one piece of advice what would it be?
You can’t plan your life. Or rather, you can and should try to plan, but you should expect that life will not comply. Equally important, you will not the same person at 35, 45, and 55 that you are at 25.