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Speaking to the World

Laura  Liswood

Laura Liswood

Secretary General, Council of Women World Leaders


Laura Liswood is an international, award-winning speaker who conveys her insights regarding leadership, diversity, women in politics, and business to both large and small audiences. In her speeches, she explores the questions surrounding myths of leadership and lessons of leaders. She looks at best practices of excellent leaders drawing upon the interviews she has conducted with women heads of state and heads of government. She shares insights on how to enhance opportunities to lead and shape one’s career successfully. Liswood is an expert on diversity and why it matters. She uses her new book, The Loudest Duck, to explore the need to move beyond diversity. Read More >

In August 1996, Liswood co-founded the Council of Women World Leaders and located it at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She is the Secretary General of the Council, which is composed of women presidents, prime ministers, and heads of government. 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 contribute input and shape international issues important to all people. Currently, Liswood also holds the position of Senior Advisor at Goldman Sachs, a premier global investment bank. She was previously Managing Director, Global Leadership and Diversity for Goldman Sachs.

In 2002, Liswood created the International Assembly of Women Ministers with the Right Honourable Kim Campbell. The Honorable Madeleine K. Albright is the Chair of the Assembly. Five years prior, Liswood co-founded The White House Project dedicated to changing the cultural message in the US about women as leaders, and electing a woman President in the US. From 1992 to 1996, as Director of the Women’s Leadership Project, Liswood identified global leadership contributions by women heads of state. She interviewed 15 current or former women presidents and prime ministers and recorded her findings in her most recent book and video documentary, Women World Leaders.

Liswood’s professional experience includes CEO/President of the American Society for Training and Development, executive-level consulting to Fortune 500 and international companies, and executive positions at Rainier National Bank and Group W Cable, a subsidiary of Westinghouse Broadcasting and Cable. She received the Westinghouse Award of Excellence for her contribution to women and minorities in the work place. She is also the author of a book on service quality, Serving Them Right.

A nationally recognized speaker, author, and advisor, Liswood has contributed to leadership in the women’s community for more than twenty 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 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 Secretary of Defense appointed her to a three-year term on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS).

Liswood holds a MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from California State University, San Diego. She holds a JD degree from the University of California, Davis, School of Law, and is permitted to practice law in California and Massachusetts. Read Less ^

Speech Topics

Myths & Lessons of Leadership

Communication Styles & Managing Well: Men & Women at Work

Finding the Leader Within

Women World Leaders

Challenges of Diversity: The Loudest Duck

Books & Media


The Loudest Duck

Connect with Laura Liswood