Laura Liswood

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Laura A. Liswood
Laura Liswood - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012.jpg
Liswood at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in 2012
Born 1950 (age 66–67)
Alma mater California State University, San Diego (B.A.)
UC Davis School of Law (J.D.)
Harvard Business School (M.B.A.)
Occupation lawyer, author
Known for co-founder, Council of Women World Leaders

Laura Ann Liswood[1] (born 1950)[2] is Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders, which is composed of women presidents, prime ministers, and heads of government. In August 1996, she co-founded the Council with President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir of Iceland.

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 provide input and shape international issues important to all people. The Council's mission is to promote good governance and enhance the experience of democracy globally by increasing the number, effectiveness, and visibility of women who led at the highest levels in their countries. The Council is a policy program of the Aspen Institute and is currently chaired by President Tarja Halonen of Finland.

From 1992-1996, as director of the Women's Leadership Project, Liswood identified global leadership contributions by women heads of state. She interviewed 19 current and former women presidents and prime ministers, which is chronicled in her book and video documentary, Women World Leaders (1996, 2007 and 2009, HarperCollins). Her quest was to find out what it would take for a woman to become President of the United States.

In 1997, Liswood co-founded The White House Project, which is dedicated to electing a woman President of the United States. Her work with women presidents and prime ministers was the inspiration for the Project, which seeks to change the cultural message in the United States about women as leaders.

In 2001, Liswood was named Managing Director, Global Leadership and Diversity for Goldman Sachs, a premier global investment bank. She is now a Senior Advisor to the firm.[3]

Professional background[edit]

Liswood's professional experience includes CEO/President of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), executive-level consulting to Fortune 500 and international companies, and executive positions at Rainier National Bank and at Group W Cable, a subsidiary of Westinghouse Broadcasting and Cable. She received the Westinghouse Award of Excellence for her contributions to women and minorities in the workplace. She has held management positions[clarification needed] in the airline industry, including general manager for Pacific Northwest and for TWA, and was a consultant for the Boston Consulting Group.


Liswood is the author of Serving Them Right (Harper Business 1991).

Liswood's latest book, The Loudest Duck, is a business guide that explores workplace diversity and uses practical stories to offer an alternate, nuanced approach to diversity to create a truly effective workplace for all (Wiley & Sons, November 2009).


Liswood, a nationally recognized[citation needed] speaker, author, and advisor, has contributed to leadership and diversity in the women's community for more than 20 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's 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 U.S. Secretary of Defense appointed her to a three-year term on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS). After the events of September 11, 2001, Liswood joined the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department reserve police force, where she is now a Sergeant.[3]


Liswood holds a B.A. from California State University, San Diego, a J.D. from the University of California, Davis School of Law, and an M.B.A. (1976[4]) from Harvard Business School,[3] She is admitted to practice law in California and Massachusetts.


  1. ^ State Bar of CA :: Laura Ann Liswood
  2. ^ Horizon Information Portal
  3. ^ a b c "Laura Liswood". Aspen Institute. Retrieved April 22, 2011. 
  4. ^ Q & A: Laura Liswood

External links[edit]