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Laura A. Liswood 

Secretary General, Council of Women World Leaders 

Former Managing Director and Senior Advisor, Goldman Sachs 

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 unconscious bias and why they matter.

Liswood is the Secretary General of the Council of Women World Leaders, located in Washington, DC, 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 the international issues important to all people. Liswood co-founded the Council with President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir of Iceland. It is the only organization in the world dedicated to women heads of state and government.

From 2002 to 2015, Liswood held the position of Senior Advisor at Goldman Sachs, a global investment bank. She was previously Managing Director, Global Leadership and Diversity for Goldman Sachs.

Liswood holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. from California State University, San Diego. She holds a J.D. degree from the University of California, Davis, School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in California and Massachusetts.

An indispensable resource for managers, executives, and other business leaders who seek to recreate truly diverse, inclusive, and equitable organizations, The Elephant and the Mouse is also a must-read for human resources professionals, individuals who want successful careers in diverse teams, and anyone involved in the hiring, retaining, and promoting processes. This book offers a way to move beyond traditional diversity efforts towards more modern practices that embrace—and benefit from—the differences between people.

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The Loudest Duck (Wiley and Sons), dives into the many aspects of diversity in the ever-expanding, increasingly global workplace. Through practical stories, cultural anecdotes and personal experiences, Laura Liswood explains how to ensure a fair and level playing field for anyone working his or her way up the ladder in this new corporate world order.


Liswood’s professional experience includes CEO/President of the American Society for Training and Development, and executive-level consulting at the Boston Consulting Group 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 (Harper Business) and was a Senior Examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Liswood, a nationally recognized speaker, author, and advisor, 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, and the board of the First Women's Bank of California. Former commissioner of the City of Seattle Women’s Commission, Liswood was the owner/publisher of Seattle Woman. In 2000, the Secretary of Defense appointed her to a three-year term of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS). Liswood is a Trustee of the World Economic Forum and a board member of the Smithsonian Friends of the National Zoo. After the events of September 11, 2001, Liswood became a reserve police officer in Washington DC and retired after 13 years in law enforcement with the rank of sergeant.


Liswood co-founded The White House Project dedicated to changing the cultural message in the US about women as leaders. 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 and former women presidents and prime ministers, which is chronicled in her book and video documentary, Women World Leaders (Harper Collins).

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