Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America
"One of my mentors, an early feminist and a distinguished college and then university professor, warned me that as a leader it is not a good idea to get too close to your staff, that it is important to maintain enough professional distance to be able to hold them to account and even fire them if necessary. That is why, she said, it is so often lonely at the top. You cannot just unburden yourself to someone who is working for you, no matter how close you feel to them, in the same way you would with a friend. That is truly hard for me; I connect easily and warmly to people and often say that my employees work 'with me' rather than 'for me.' That is not just a phrase; it's the way I feel. As a leader I try to create a team of equals who respect each other and are honest enough to speak truth when necessary. But over time, I have come to understand the wisdom of her words. An employee can be a friend, but you still exercise power over her or him, which you should never forget."
A Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, Dr. Slaughter served from 2009-2011 as Director of Policy Planning for the Department of State and was the first woman to hold that position. An author of several books, Dr. Slaughter published the 2012 article, "Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” in the Atlantic, which became the most read article in the history of the magazine. Her contribution to these conversations helped reinvigorate a national debate on the continued obstacles to gender equality.