Melanne Verveer, Executive Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security

Melanne Verveer

Melanne Verveer currently serves as the executive director for the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security at Georgetown University. A dedicated public servant, she was appointed by President Barack Obama as the first United States Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, and was the co-founder, chair, and co-CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international nonprofit organization that works to expand the role of women in leadership around the world.

Verveer previously served as Deputy Assistant to President Bill Clinton and Chief of Staff to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, and was the executive director of People for the American Way. She is the recipient of multiple awards and honors, including the U.S. Secretary of State Distinguished Service Award.

In June 2015, Verveer was invited to take part in the “Power of No: Defining Your Impact as a Leader” panel at the Forbes Women’s Summit in New York City. The event -- of which the Forbes School of Business® at Ashford University was a sponsor -- featured 250 women from a number of industries including education, business, media, entertainment, and philanthropy.

During a chat with Forward Thinking, Verveer offered advice to professionals trying to overcome obstacles in their industries.

On Creating Change:

“We all know people who just wring their hands, and say, ‘Woe is the state of the world, woe is us,’ but some people, other people, dream and see things as they could be, and say ‘Why not?’ And I would rather be a ‘Why not?’ person, and I think that is one of the great motivators.”

On Team-Building:

“Well I think one’s vision has to become the other person’s vision also, but not until it becomes part of you, will you completely, enthusiastically, energetically, in an all-embracing way want to be a part of it.”

On Finding a Mentor:

“I really don’t know of too many people, if any, who will say, ‘Get out of my face.’ I think rarely does one get a negative response, but you have to have the gumption to ask.”

On Finding Your Passion:

“Women really do want a whole lot of things in their lives. But I think trying to find a balance, knowing you can’t have it all at one time, potentially, what you care about, what you’re passionate about, what really is a biding interest, is in many ways a good clue for where you want to go with your life.”

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