Women in and of the World with Michele Flournoy
March 5, 2013
As part of the Women in and of the World: Lessons in Leadership series, Ms. Flournoy and Prof. Kalantzakos discussed leadership, specifically as it related to their careers, highlighting some of the challenges they have had to overcome in male-dominated fields. This program was part of Womens HERstory Month programming.
This dicussion featured Michèle Flournoy, who holds the distinguished honor of being former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy of the United States, the highest-ranking position held by a woman at the Pentagon in the institution’s history. Sophia Kalantzakos, Global Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies facilitated this dialogue.
Michèle Flournoy served as the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from February 2009 to February 2012. She was the principal adviser to the Secretary of Defense in the formulation of national security and defense policy, oversight of military plans and operations, and in National Security Council deliberations. She led the development of DoD’s new Strategic Guidance and represented the Department in dozens of foreign engagements, in the media and before Congress.
Prior to confirmation, Ms. Flournoy co-led President Obama’s transition team at DoD.
In January 2007, Ms. Flournoy co-founded the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a non-partisan think tank dedicated to developing strong, pragmatic and principled national security policies. She served as CNAS’ President until 2009.
Previously, she was senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies for several years and, prior to that, a distinguished research professor at the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University (NDU).
In the mid-1990s, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Threat Reduction and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy.
Ms. Flournoy has received several awards from the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She is a member of the Defense Policy Board, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Aspen Strategy Group.
Ms. Flournoy earned a bachelor's degree in social studies from Harvard University and a master's degree in international relations from Balliol College, Oxford University, where she was a Newton-Tatum scholar.
Sophia Kalantzakos was born in Athens. After graduating from Yale and Columbia, she became a Member of the Hellenic Parliament in 2000, the first woman to be elected from the State of Messinia. As a member of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, she was responsible for Greek-US relations. She was also a member of the European Affairs Committee, the Committee for Education, and served as Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Employment and Social Protection. During her tenure at the Ministry, the government passed far reaching pension reforms and she was especially concerned to promote the creation of green jobs through EU structural funds and to help environmental NGOs create new job openings. Currently active in designing and implementing innovative green projects throughout Greece, Sophia Kalantzakos writes widely on economic, labor, and environmental issues in the press and has published a series of educational books on historical and environmental issues.