March 8, 2021

“Observed in March each year, Women's History Month provides occasion to commemorate and celebrate the indispensable role of women throughout American history. Here at SIPA we’re pleased to use the opportunity to salute some of our most notable alumnae and their vital work—in the United States and around the world.”
— Dean Merit E. Janow

As New York City's commissioner for International Affairs since October 2014, Penny Abeywardena MIA ’05 serves as the city's ambassador to the global community.

María José Abud MPA ’15 was recently appointed as the under secretary of Chile’s Ministry of Women and Gender Equality.

Madeleine Albright CERT ’68 was the United States’ first female secretary of state, serving from 1997 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton after four years as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Today she is a professor at Georgetown University and the chair of both a global strategy firm and a an investment advisory firm. (She is also slated to address SIPA’s Class of 2021 at next month’s graduation.)

Dean Emerita Lisa Anderson CERT ’76 led SIPA from 1997 to 2007. She was the first woman to serve as the School’s dean and went on to become the first woman to serve as president of the American University of Cairo, from 2011 to 2016.

In 2019, the National Association of Black Journalists named Karen Attiah MIA ’12, global opinions editor at the Washington Post, its journalist of the year. The previous year she won a George Polk Award, with David Ignatius, for their writing about Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. Attiah’s forthcoming book is Say Your Word, Then Leave: The Assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and the Power of the Truth

Judy Cheng-Hopkins MIA ’78 is the United Nations’ assistant secretary general for peacebuilding support. She has been recognized by Forbes as one of the 10 most powerful women at the UN, and was the first Malaysian to be so honored.

Anisa Kamadoli Costa MIA ’98 is chairman and president of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation and chief sustainability officer at Tiffany & Co. 

Randi Davis MIA ’91 is the United Nations Development Program’s resident representative for, Trinidad and Tobago, Curacao, Aruba and Sint Maarten. She also leads UNDP’s gender team.

The award-winning journalist and longtime business TV anchor Susie Gharib MIA ’74 is a senior special correspondent for Fortune magazine. Gharib previously spent 16 years as coanchor of Nightly Business Report, which was the longest-running business news program on public television.

Nellie M. Gorbea MPA ’92 is currently in her second term as Rhode Island’s secretary of state. She is the first Hispanic to have won a statewide election in New England. 

In 2020, Margaret Huang MIA ’95 was named president and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Southern Poverty Law Center Action Fund.

Constance Hunter MIA ’94 is the chief economist at KPMG, where she is responsible for economic thought leadership at the firm. A regular guest on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, and Fox Business, Hunter also serves as president of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE).

Dina Kawar MIA ’85 is the ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United States and previously served as Jordan’s permanent representative to the United Nations.

In January 2020, the Financial Times named Roula Khalaf MIA ’89 as its editor, making her the first woman to hold that position in the publication’s 131-year history.

In 2020, Sara Jacobs MIA ’12 was elected to Congress representing California's 53rd district. 

From 2013 to 2017 Deborah Lee James MIA ’81 served the United States as its 23rd secretary of the Air Force. She is the author of the book Aim High: Chart Your Course and Find Success.

Karine Jean-Pierre MPA ’03 is the principal deputy press secretary for President Biden and one of the leaders comprising the first ever all-female senior White House communications team. During the 2020 campaign Jean-Pierre served as senior advisor to now President Biden and chief of staff to now Vice President Kamala Harris; she is also the the first Black person and first lesbian to have held that position for a vice presidential nominee.

In 2019 Lorie Logan MPA ’99 became manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s asset portfolio. Logan oversees the bank’s $4 trillion securities portfolio and open market operations, advising on and implementing Fed officials’ interest rate decisions.

Claudia López MPA ’03 was elected mayor of Bogotá in October 2019. She is the first woman and the first openly gay person to lead Colombia’s capital.

As national security adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris, Nancy McEldowney MIA ’86 is one of the three women holding the top three positions in the office of the vice president—a first. McEldowney served in the foreign service for over 30 years, in posts including U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria, director of the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute, and chargé d’affaires and deputy chief of mission in Turkey and Azerbaijan.

In May 2020 Jennifer Morris MIA ’97 became CEO of the Nature Conservancy, the world’s largest environmental NGO. Read interview.

In January 2020, President Joe Biden named Anne Neuberger MIA ’05 as the National Security Council’s deputy national security adviser for cybersecurity. Before that Neuberger had worked at the National Security Agency for more than a decade, serving as director of cybersecurity beginning in 2019.

Roya Rahmani MPA ’09, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, was named among TIME’s 100 Next 2019.

Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez MPA ’04 is managing director of Daily Provisions, a chain of cafes from Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group. She previously served for 10 years as CEO of the award-winning Hot Bread Kitchen, a social enterprise she founded that continues to serve as an incubator for start-up food businesses.

In November 2020, Elissa Slotkin MIA ’03 was elected to Congress for a second term representing Michigan’s 8th district. 

Claire Shipman MIA ’94, a journalist, author, and public speaker, is the coauthor of several books including The Confidence Code and two sequels.

Joan E. Spero MIA ’68 was president of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation from 1997 to 2008. Before that she was the under secretary of state for economic, business, and agricultural affairs under President Bill Clinton. She had previously served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, among other roles. 

Katie Jacobs Stanton MIA ’95 is the founder and general partner of Moxxie Ventures. Before starting her current company, Stanton was the chief marketing officer of Color Genomics and the vice president of global media at Twitter. 

Gulden Turkoz-Cosslett MIA ’85 is the deputy assistant administrator and deputy director of the UN Development Program’s Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy. She was previously the director of programs for UN Women.

Often called the “Oprah of China,” Yang Lan MIA ’96 is a journalist, talk-show host, and cofounder and chairperson of the Sun Media Group.

Chingyu Yao MIA ’03, director-general of secretariat of New Taipei City Government, has been recognized for sharing Taipei's experience of combatting COVID-19 with the world.

Please send your professional and other updates to Susan Storms, SIPA’s director of alumni affairs.