Not for the Faint of Heart

Lessons in Courage, Power, and Persistence


By Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman

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Distinguished diplomat Ambassador Wendy Sherman brings readers inside the negotiating room to show how to put diplomatic values like courage, power, and persistence to work in their own lives.

Few people have sat across from the Iranians and the North Koreans at the negotiating table. Wendy Sherman has done both. During her time as the lead US negotiator of the historic Iran nuclear deal and throughout her distinguished career, Wendy Sherman has amassed tremendous expertise in the most pressing foreign policy issues of our time. Throughout her life — from growing up in civil-rights-era Baltimore, to stints as a social worker, campaign manager, and business owner, to advising multiple presidents — she has relied on values that have shaped her approach to work and leadership: authenticity, effective use of power and persistence, acceptance of change, and commitment to the team.

Not for the Faint of Heart takes readers inside the world of international diplomacy and into the mind of one of our most effective negotiators — often the only woman in the room. She shows why good work in her field is so hard to do, and how we can learn to apply core skills of diplomacy to the challenges in our own lives.



It was day 25 for me at the Palais Coburg—July 12, 2015. Since the middle of June, inside the white, neoclassical wedding cake of a hotel on Theodor Herzl Platz in Vienna, two exhausted sets of negotiators—one, my team of Americans; the other, from the Islamic Republic of Iran—had been hashing over the last contested passages of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal. Its 110 pages, including five complex technical annexes, laid out a path to peaceful resolution of Iran’s ambition to have a nuclear weapon.

My team had arrived in Vienna in June to get our feet on the ground before the talks engaged ministers, thinking we’d be home by the Fourth of July. We were now nearly two weeks past our deadline.

The Coburg isn’t a bad place for a diplomat to spend a few weeks, it must be said. It lies in the heart of Vienna, where in 1815 the Congress of Vienna—the first real instance of multilateral diplomacy—codified the formal ranks of ambassadors, envoys, and ministers that we still use today. Built in the 1840s as a residence for an Austrian prince, the Coburg has a seemingly endless supply of high-ceilinged meeting rooms adorned with massive portraits of royalty and isolated nooks where, during a break in talks, two adversaries hell-bent on convincing the other can duck in for an impromptu sidebar. The Coburg staff is impeccably discreet (though in a town known as much for its spies as for its diplomats, one never wants to put that discretion to the test). We had plenty of company; the Coburg is popular with Russian oligarchs and their white fur–clad companions as well as with diplomats from around the world coming and going from UN Office Vienna, the sprawling United Nations campus a few miles away across the Danube. The curving, concrete towers of the complex, though taller, are reminiscent of the Watergate, the famous apartments near my office at the State Department, back home in Washington.

The Coburg’s staff, its colorful guests, and its proximity to the UN campus weren’t the only reasons it was chosen as the meeting place for the final weeks of the Iran nuclear talks. The surrounding roofs overlooking Theodor Herzl Platz provide plenty of vantages for government sharpshooters, making the Coburg a very secure location.

For all its charm and perfectly pitched roofs, the Coburg by day 25 had become a prison. Never mind that I had eaten precisely one meal outside of the hotel in nearly a month, or that I was two weeks past the stay I had packed for. Every available rod and rack in my hotel suite’s bathroom was hung with hand-washed laundry.

Out on the square, press from all over the world were huddled at the hotel’s entrance, the forest of antennas on the television crews’ vans imposing a jarring bit of the modern age on Vienna’s old city. Most of the reporters had been there as long as we had, and they could sense in the past few days that the two sides’ intensity had picked up, our updates having become vaguer as we edged closer to our final positions. They were counting down to a historic deal to “keep the mullahs from getting the bomb,” according to the New York Times.

They weren’t the only ones waiting. On June 27, US Secretary of State John Kerry, still on crutches from falling off his bicycle in Geneva a month before, had flown in to meet his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif—who himself had just arrived from a quick visit to Tehran, where, it was believed, he’d gotten clearance from the Supreme Leader to finalize the deal.

On their heels came the foreign ministers of the other world powers (known as the P5+1)* who would be involved in the deal—Wang Yi of China, Laurent Fabius of France, Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany, Sergey Lavrov of Russia, Philip Hammond of the United Kingdom, and Federica Mogherini of the European Union—all wanting to be on hand in case the end was as close as it looked.

For all the excitement, the agreement was still a tangle of interlocking issues: how to verify Iran’s compliance, how to best limit numbers and types of centrifuges, how to “snap back” economic sanctions should Iran fail to live up to the agreement. None of these issues could be solved independently of the others. When one element of the deal was changed, everything else had to be recalculated, and everyone had to be consulted. Then the new information had to be brought to our P5+1 partners and often renegotiated, then back to the Iranians to hash over the same points again. Besides diplomats and technical experts, we had legal opinions from batteries of government lawyers. One session in the final monthlong gauntlet at the Coburg went from early evening until 3:00 a.m. as two sets of lawyers clashed over every word of a single passage.

The best way to describe the negotiation was as the world’s most complex and consequential Rubik’s Cube. The more you twisted one side to line it up, the more the other sides needed fixing. “No single part of the deal is done until it’s all done,” I’d tell the press when they asked about what issues were still outstanding. I used the Rubik’s Cube comparison so many times, in fact, that one of the technical experts on our team designed his own version, with key phrases from the talks on each colored square. It was such a hit that I had several of them made as keepsakes for members of the team, one of which now sits as an artifact of the negotiation in the Diplomacy Center at the State Department.

When the June 30 deadline passed without a deal, we had extended it. A few more days turned into a week. Then, as one week turned into two, the pressure inside the Coburg cranked higher and higher. The ministers milled around the halls and conference rooms with their squads of aides, unhappy to be stalled here in Vienna, quietly resenting the fact that nothing would be final until Kerry—and President Obama back in DC—said it was, and not quite understanding why we still hadn’t reached a deal.

It’s not a stretch to say that Vienna, for all its illustrious history as a diplomatic city, had never seen a negotiation quite like this one. Our spell at the Coburg had already broken records—the longest sustained international deliberations, the longest an American secretary of state (or an Iranian one for that matter) had spent in one place. A dialogue that had begun at the United Nations in 2002 as an effort to convince Iran to stop enriching uranium to weapons-grade purity had transmogrified into an entrenched confrontation between the revolutionary government in Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the aforementioned P5), plus Germany (+1). Convened by the high representative of the European Union, the P5+1 talks had become, by the time we reached the Coburg, a de facto bilateral negotiation between Iran and its nemesis, the United States.

Since I joined the talks, after being appointed undersecretary of state for political affairs in 2011, I had led the American team as we wound through Moscow, Baghdad, Istanbul, and Almaty, the remote former capital of Kazakhstan, then back to the traditional diplomatic sites of Geneva, Lausanne, and Vienna. Just before Thanksgiving of 2013, we had arrived at an interim agreement, the Joint Plan of Action, with the expectation that we’d have a final understanding within six months. When six months passed without a conclusion, both sides still held out enough hope that we continued through two more extensions, despite testy disavowals from Tehran and Washington, multiple crises of confidence, raised voices, and, in an unprecedented and completely accidental lapse of diplomatic protocol, a pen sent flying across the table, striking the Iranian lead negotiator.

During this intense time, I had blown past some deadlines of my own. In late May, I had officially announced my retirement from the State Department, effective at the end of the negotiations. At the time, it had seemed reasonable that the talks would wrap up in time for me to accept a fellowship in the fall at Harvard, split between the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. My first study group was slated for shortly after Labor Day. But as the Iran talks dragged on, that start date was tossed out—even if we got a deal, I’d be selling it to Congress until at least the middle of September.

I wasn’t the only one on edge. The toll on everyone was enormous. In the weeks since we’d arrived in Vienna, no one had slept much. There were middle-of-the-night video conferences with the White House and “memcons”—memoranda of conversations that we wrote every night describing the day’s deliberations for review by the president and cabinet officials. Early morning Vienna time, before the negotiating sessions, we read the intelligence reports that had come in the previous night. Then, all day and into the evening, we sat with our counterparts on the other P5+1 teams, going over every sentence of the agreement and getting prepared for the negotiating sessions with the Iranians themselves.

Apart from the grueling nature of the negotiations, we’d been separated from our loved ones for weeks at a time over the previous years, missing anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays. We’d flown twenty hours to the far side of the globe to achieve very little, endured a sandstorm while trying to get out of Baghdad, improvised meals to fit our religious and food allergy diets, and carried on a poor imitation of our personal lives via smartphone and Skype. We were all ready for life to return to some version of normal.

On July 12, I had arranged to meet the Iranian lead negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, and his partner, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, to discuss the UN resolution laying out the terms of the deal and the limits on ballistic missiles, arms transfers, and other matters that, while not part of the nuclear deal proper, had to be formalized in a resolution that would replace more than a decade’s worth of UN resolutions on these same topics. With a new resolution summing up the deal’s provisions, the long effort to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which had begun in the Security Council in the early 2000s, would come full circle.

The resolution had always been held out as the last piece of major business precisely because the Security Council partners themselves were not agreed about what exactly it would contain. The United States considered the restrictions on missiles and arms critical. Russia and China, believers in the free transfer of arms and the development of missile technology, didn’t want to impose constraints on Iran. Knowing it would be contentious, the partners had arranged to dispose of the resolution only as the rest of the deal was almost ready to be signed. If anyone dug in their heels over these points, they would have to do so when everyone was watching, waiting to go home. That leverage, we figured, would force the parties to find a compromise.

The previous day I had hand-drawn a grid on a ripped piece of notebook paper, laying out the final key elements—the possible limits on missiles and conventional arms, the duration of those limits, and what the sanctions would be for violating them. After dinner on the twenty-fifth day, I met Araghchi and Ravanchi in a private dining room at the Coburg. I put my grid of acceptable formulas in the middle of a small, round table.

As always, Araghchi wore a dark suit with a tieless shirt, in the Iranian style. Fluent in English, an expert in the details of producing nuclear fuel, Araghchi was armed most of all with a steely, determined calm that could be very unnerving to those of us sitting across the table from him. By Araghchi’s side, as always, was Ravanchi. Like their boss, Foreign Minister Zarif, the Iranian lead negotiators had been educated in the West—Araghchi in England and Ravanchi at the University of Kansas and in Switzerland. Both had spent their careers in the Iranian foreign service. The difference between them, as we understood it, was that Araghchi had been present in the first days of the Iranian revolution in 1979, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had toppled the Shah, and so had the better revolutionary bona fides of the two. Ravanchi, on the other hand, was closer to Zarif, and his opinion was crucial to getting the deal to closure. Equally knowledgeable and equally committed to the revolution, both wore their intransigence like a badge of credibility.

Beside me sat my deputy, Rob Malley, on loan from his position as special White House coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf Region. Slight of build and balding on top, Rob is about the sweetest, smartest, most Zen dad I know. He had been a constant and comforting presence since I drafted him a few weeks before from the National Security Council at the White House. Thanks to an upbringing in Paris and his virtually native French, we designated Rob as the “French whisperer,” specially assigned to stay close to the French delegation, which was intent on expressing its Gallic independence and would sometimes stray from the agreed-upon script. When trouble loomed, Rob’s calm demeanor had always steadied me.

As the meeting got under way, the two Iranians accepted one of the formulations I had set out in my chart. The limits they agreed to would meet the requirements of the president. Suddenly I felt that we were on the verge of success, where only hours before it had felt hopeless.

Then Araghchi sat forward. Before he could attend to the outline of the resolution, he said, there was another point that he wanted to discuss. He began to dispute a point that had been previously settled. This was a regular feature of the Iranian negotiation style: just as consensus seemed imminent, something would suddenly resurface to trouble the waters. We have given you what you want; now give us something of ours you’ve taken.

But at that moment I was out of patience. Too much was at stake as we stood on the precipice of a deal. With all that loomed outside the meeting room door, with the work we’d all done to get to this point, I found this last-minute gambit maddening.

“Abbas, enough,” I began. “You always want more. Here we are, past the deadline, facing a Congress soon to go on recess…”

I could hear that I had begun to yell, my resentment rising at the Iranians’ willingness, at this hour, to play tactical games. And to my frustration, my eyes began to well up with tears. This wasn’t the first time this had happened to me, but it was certainly the most inconvenient. I don’t know where the wires get crossed in my emotional constitution between fury and weeping. Women learn early in life that it’s not socially acceptable to get angry, so maybe my survival instinct throws in another, more disarming emotion to mask my ire. In any case, there was nothing I could do except ignore the tears rolling down my face and push forward. I told the Iranians of my own frustration, how their tactics had completely stalled my own plans. “I have no idea what I will do now, but more importantly, you are risking all we have worked to do.”

Araghchi and Ravanchi were stunned. They thought they had learned their way around me, but this weeping, viscerally direct Wendy was a person they hadn’t encountered. For the first time in months of tough negotiations, they were in mute disarray. Even Rob sat watching all our faces, not sure how to react.

I would never have planned to push back at Araghchi, or any adversary, with a teary venting session. I could hardly have expected them to take a personal rant as reason to withdraw from their position. But something in the sincerity of my frustration, the realness of the moment, broke through. Everything was at stake in this negotiation, my objection implied—lives that could be consumed in a nuclear battle, yes, but in truth each of our lives and all we had worked for.

After a long silent moment, Araghchi dismissed the objection he had raised. My tears were evidence enough that there was no more give, and we came to agreement on the language for the UN resolution. That tearful reckoning became the final, substantive turn of the Rubik’s Cube.

Often, when I tell this story at speaking engagements, women come up to me afterward to say that they can relate to my tearful anger. While tears may seem to be a show of weakness—and it’s absolutely true that I wouldn’t list crying as an essential skill for women operating in the male-dominated diplomatic world—the fact is that when we are ourselves, even if that means letting our tears flow, we can be our most powerful. This is true whether we are negotiating a multilateral nuclear deal, a higher salary at a new job, or an issue in our personal lives. It’s true even when facing off against a culture like Iran’s, in which women are often treated as subordinates. That day in Vienna proved to me that it’s possible for us to be ourselves and still compete in a world that seems often to forbid us from doing so.

That central insight has shaped every lesson I’ve set out to include in this book. Negotiation cannot be reduced to a set of techniques or strategies that can be applied regardless of the situation or who is negotiating. We have to negotiate with the people in front of us, with their peculiarities, hunches, and particular interests, and we in turn have to bring our authentic selves to how we negotiate. The best negotiators rely not on stratagems or manipulation but on their own experiences. The best skill is to be able to recognize that body of experience and know how to access it and put it to work. This book grew out of the same approach. It tells much more than the story of how I came to negotiate one historic diplomatic agreement. Rather, it frames that story in my particular biography that put me in that position and got me through to success.

We should think of our skill set, in other words, as everything we’ve done that has formed our sense of judgment—our upbringing, our education, our early achievements, and our mistakes. In diplomacy, as we’ll see in the following pages, no time spent on a worthy goal is ever wasted. Life, in its unpredictability, always has something to teach us for the next step, the next job, the next relationship.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t prepare ourselves for the particular job we want or take necessary steps toward our goals—we should. Indeed, in diplomacy, my colleagues who have expertise in specific regions and areas such as nuclear weapons and arms control are crucial and put in years to acquire such knowledge. We are at our best when we have the practical experience to take the opportunities that come along. But too much focus on hitting career goals can be limiting. When women ask me how I got to do the things I have done, they are often surprised to hear that I had no five-year plan for my life. As a young woman coming of political age during the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, and the marches against the Vietnam War, I would have laughed if someone had told me that I would sit opposite Iranians and negotiate a deal about nuclear weapons.

Instead, I got to where I am by rising to fill each role that came my way, including some I didn’t expect to do—the head of children’s welfare for my home state, the chief of staff to then-congresswoman Barbara Mikulski, and later Barbara’s campaign manager when she ran to become the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate in her own right. After a full career in domestic politics, I turned toward international diplomacy only when I received an out-of-the-blue call to join the State Department. As I grew into my new life as a diplomat, negotiating a missile deal with North Korea and ultimately serving as the first woman undersecretary for political affairs at the State Department, I couldn’t have survived on lessons from business books or political science classes. To tell the truth, my best guide was a core set of skills from a master’s in social work in community organizing that I had put to work at each turn in my life.

I leaned on my parents’ example of courage to act against the expectations of our times. I got to watch other women—colleagues and mentors—own their power and the power their country invested in them. I was exposed to cultures different from mine and learned the value of pulling people of very different backgrounds into a cohesive group. I had to face grave disappointments and circumstances that I couldn’t change and find a way to let go and move on. Some of the skills I’ve needed most I’ve gained in triumphant, even historic moments. Others I’ve learned in times of vulnerability, bewilderment, and loss.

I am also aware that I benefited repeatedly from exquisite timing—let’s call it luck—and the support of loved ones to make it all possible.

I did eventually get to spend my two months at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. The subject of my seminar was “Negotiating Change: How We Took on Some of the World’s Toughest Problems and Sometimes Succeeded.” Everyone I met at Harvard was interested to know the ins and outs of the Iran negotiation—who said what and how we finally got to yes. More often, however, students and professors alike asked larger questions about how, why, and when any negotiation succeeds or fails. They challenged me to explain why diplomacy is still a useful tool in a world that increasingly seems to respect violence and ultimatums. Most simply asked me how I learned to do what I do. Liberated from the grind of absorbing technical details about uranium enrichment and intelligence reports, I had the chance to reflect deeply on what I’d accomplished and how.

My answers to the young people in my study group were frequently less about diplomatic best practices and more about what I brought to the negotiating table. I found myself explaining things I had always known on some level to be true but hadn’t articulated for myself: that the most important facets of the Iran deal were the higher principles we sought and the reimagining of the world that it took to make the deal happen. The deal was the result of our courage in setting it in motion and our persistence in seeing it through. It was anchored by a common wish to make peace and by the common ground we forged with those we negotiated with, and against. We had to use what we had learned about wielding power to change the world and knowing when change is simply not possible. These were all values that I’d grown up with and strengths I’ve developed along the way. We all have these homegrown skills and qualities, and we can use them throughout our lives, in our careers as well as in attaining our personal goals.

In the dark political era we’ve entered since I left Harvard, it’s increasingly important to know the deeper nature of negotiation. Leaders talk about the art of the deal and discredit the art of diplomacy, while achieving neither and misunderstanding both. Business sense, such as it is, is considered more valuable than political expertise. The fact is, whether you’re in politics or business, the world has now grown so complex that the diplomatic perspective has become indispensable to deal-making.

The contrast that we’re facing now in leadership is really between the autocrat and the diplomat. The diplomat weighs things and chooses words and actions carefully; the autocrat acts impulsively (sometimes at 6:00 a.m. on Twitter) without checks and balances. The diplomat is inclusive and expansive, the autocrat transactional and lacking in empathy. The diplomat understands that every decision is grounded in present and past history, with an obligation to the future; the autocrat sees only what’s in front of him and what’s at stake right now. The diplomat knows that every conversation, every negotiation, every action, is like a move on a giant chessboard that affects all other pieces; the autocrat simply tries to find a way out, the way a child scrawls all over a pizza parlor placemat puzzle with a blunt crayon.

That’s the type of leadership that has taken us to where we are now. In May 2018, President Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran deal, a decision that dealt a devastating blow not only to years of diplomacy but to our nation’s standing in the world and the world’s security. More than that, Trump’s decision ignored what long experience taught me: we control only so much in negotiations. Of course we have to be willing to walk away if a deal can’t be made, just as we need competence and hard work. But flexing our muscles is hardly the only way to a deal. To make a meaningful deal, we need to see our adversaries not as eternal enemies, or dispensable ones, but as virtual partners. We have to understand the nature of power before we can use it effectively and build a team that can get the job done. And perhaps most of all, we have to persist, to keep fighting for the same ideals that brought the agreement into existence in the first place. That is what this book is about.

* The United States uses the phrase “P5+1” to describe this negotiation, as defined in this text. The European Union, however, branded the talks the “E3+EU+3,” connoting the European countries Great Britain, France, and Germany plus the European Union plus China, Russia, and the United States. The P5+1 label as used in this text is inclusive of the European Union. The coordinating role of the European Union high representative and her team was essential to reaching the agreement.

chapter one


My father, a residential real estate broker with his own prosperous firm in northwest Baltimore, was attending Rosh Hashanah services at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, our Reform synagogue on Park Heights Avenue in September 1963. It was a turbulent time for the synagogue, as it was for the country. The month before, Baltimore Hebrew’s longtime rabbi, Morris Lieberman, had been one of 200 civil rights protesters—six of them clergymen—to be arrested at Gwynn Oak Park, an amusement park just across the city line that refused entry to African Americans.

For Lieberman, the protest (which resulted in the integration of Gwynn Oak Park a few weeks later) was the latest in a series of civil rights actions he’d been involved in since helping to form the Clergymen’s Interfaith Committee on Human Rights a few years earlier. But the rabbi had never been arrested before, and on this High Holiday he went up to the pulpit to explain himself, recognizing that some in the congregation might object to a rabbi who sought out such notoriety.

Lieberman reminded his congregation that as a chaplain in World War II, he had walked through the concentration camps at Dachau after their liberation. Those scenes had made him wonder what the Christian clergy in Germany had done as the Jews were sent away. “What did they preach about on Christmas and Easter in those days?” he wondered. He then put the question to his congregation: could Jews stand by as black citizens of Baltimore were systematically discriminated against? Lieberman cited the Haggadah, the Passover story, which challenges Jews of every generation “to regard himself as though he, in his own person, had been a slave unto Pharaoh.” The way to do that in Baltimore in 1963, Lieberman said, was to fight “for the right of those who are still in the slavery of discrimination and degradation.”


  • "Compelling... [Sherman] offers a vivid reminder that diplomacy is about hard work, persistence and the accumulation of experience... Future decision-makers can give themselves a huge head start simply by reading this book...the definitive account of the nuclear negotiation with Iran."—Jason Rezaian, Washington Post
  • "A powerful, deeply personal, and absorbing book written by one of America's smartest and most dedicated diplomats. This tale of courage and persistence will inspire readers of all backgrounds, while giving them unparalleled insights into some of the most critical issues of our time."—Madeleine K. Albright, 64th U.S. Secretary of State
  • "Wendy doesn't just write about the value of courage, power, and persistence, she lives it. She's an example that a strong negotiator can also be a humane mentor. Her work helped prevent a war and a stop a nuclear arms race. As someone who has been privileged to be Wendy's teammate and even more grateful to remain her friend, I know every reader will learn much from her story but even more from her example." —John Kerry, 68th U.S. Secretary of State and author of Every Day Is Extra
  • "This is an indispensable insider's account of America's negotiations with Iran and North Korea and a timely reminder of the importance of diplomacy. Sherman and her colleagues' struggles to make peace underscore how recently expertise and careful strategy were tangible realities of foreign policy, rather than lost arts. This book is also the personal saga of a woman navigating a generation of change in American politics. At an inflection point in our national conversations about diplomacy and gender, this book is illuminating on both fronts." —Ronan Farrow, contributing writer, New Yorker, and author of War on Peace
  • "Wendy Sherman draws on childhood lessons of equal justice forged during the civil rights era to pioneering experiences navigating a professional world dominated by men to illustrate invaluable negotiating skills for women in all aspects of life. Interwoven with revelations about the historic Iran negotiations, hers is a compelling narrative, never needed more than today." —Andrea Mitchell, chief foreign affairs correspondent, NBC News anchor, MSNBC
  • "A riveting read. Sherman's candid stories about the way women relate to success, failure, and persistence is a balm for every reader who has been one of a few, or the only woman at the table. This book is a must for anyone who wants to understand what modern, winning talent looks like, and how it can bring two sides together in a world where that is becoming more and more difficult." —Claire Shipman, journalist and coauthor of The Confidence Code
  • Sharp and genuine, the book is as much a testament to [Ambassador Sherman's] accomplishments as it is a call to 'find common ground...[and] do good' in an increasingly polarized world. Insightful reading."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "Sherman shares stories of her time in the State Department negotiating the most sensitive issues of our time, bringing readers inside the world of international diplomacy and into the mind of one of our most effective diplomatic negotiators. Sherman also shares personal stories that show how our private experiences affect our professional lives, offering advice for forging common ground, and understanding the nature and use of power to help us reach our own goals... Very much worth reading."—Bustle

On Sale
Sep 4, 2018
Page Count
256 pages

Ambassador Wendy R. Sherman

About the Author

Wendy R. Sherman is Senior Counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group and former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. In January 2019, Ambassador Sherman joined Harvard Kennedy School as a professor of the practice in public leadership and director of the School’s Center for Public Leadership. She serves on the boards of the International Crisis Group and the Atlantic Council, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Strategy Group.

Ambassador Sherman led the U.S. negotiating team that reached agreement on a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran for which, among other diplomatic accomplishments, she was awarded the National Security Medal by President Barack Obama. Prior to her service at the Department of State, she was Vice Chair and founding partner of the Albright Stonebridge Group, Counselor of the Department of State under Secretary Madeleine Albright and Special Advisor to President Clinton and Policy Coordinator on North Korea, and Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs under Secretary Warren Christopher.

Early in her career, she managed Senator Barbara Mikulski’s successful campaign for the U.S Senate and served as Director of EMILY’S list. She served on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, was Chair of the Board of Directors of Oxfam America and served on the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Policy Board and Congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Proliferation and Terrorism.

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