Role Models: Mona Sutphen, former Obama deputy chief of staff for policy

When President Obama was first elected into office, I voraciously read every single piece of news I could get my hands on about his new staff, cabinet decisions and initial days in office.  During that period of frenzied research I read about a women named Mona Sutphen who been selected to be the deputy chief of staff for policy.  What I found so inspiring about Ms. Sutphen was that her career path reminded me of what I hope to eventually accomplish.  I saw her career path as inspirational for it’s diversity, drive and passion.  In our last post we touched on the importance of mentorship.  Despite the fact that I have never met Mona Sutphen, I, nonetheless, find her to be a personal role model and ‘mentor’ when it comes to my own professional choices.

READ this WSJ profile of Mona Sutphen: White House Deputy Chief of Staff Mona Sutphen Has a World of Experience –

Mona Sutphen. Photo from

Mona, grew up in a biracial household and attended Mount Holyoke College with a BA in International Relations.  Right out of college she completed the very impressive feat of passing the US Foreign Service exam but instead chose to pursue a career in advertising.  Deciding she wanted more from her career and she eventually returned to the Foreign Service where she worked on the Dayton Peace Accords and worked with former Gov. Bill Richardson.  During her time with the State Department, Mona worked on many issues relating to Asia, eventually coming to speak five languages, including Mandarin.

READ this Business Insider profile of Mona Sutphen: REVOLVING DOOR WATCH: UBS Just Hired Obama’s Former Deputy Chief Of Staff To Head Macro Analysis

Mona receive her MS.c. from LSE and was soon chosen by the Obama administration to join the team.  During her time in the Administration, Mona was voted  ”one of seven behind-the-scenes economic players you need to know in the Obama administration” by

In addition to being a public policy savant, Mona is also a published author and member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  You can watch a Authors@Google interview with Mona Sutphen and Nina Hachigian on their book The Next American Century: How the U.S. Can Thrive as Other Powers Rise in the video below.  Its a bit long but highly worth it.

Mona recently left her position in the White House to join the USB Macro-Analysis team.  It will be exciting to see what she accomplishes next in her inspiring career.

Examples like this remind us that mentors and role models do not necessarily have to be individuals that we know or interact with personally.  While this sort of connection plays an important role in one’s professional career, identifying women that one admires and respects in the public sphere can be just as inspirational and encouraging in the long-run.

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