The Foreign Service Journal - July/August 2017
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where you are the only woman, or women are a minority in the

room? How did you make space for your voice to be heard as you

were rising in your profession, and how can we broaden that

space for others?

Amb. Jennifer Zimdahl Galt:

Throughout my career, I have

been the only woman or one of the only women in the room at

virtually every meeting. Some of this may have to do with the

fact that I’ve served much of my career in the Bureau of East

Asian and Pacific Affairs, where societies continue to be male-

dominated. But the same has been true of country teams at posts

where I’ve served. The largest number of women I’ve ever had

on a country team was three out of 12. I’ve never served with a

female principal officer or ambassador.

I think the most important thing is to be prepared, so you can

speak authoritatively and there is no question that you are on top

of your brief. It’s also important to dress professionally, which in

my book means wearing a suit at all times. Half of speaking or

presenting in a meeting or at country team is listening—being

sure to listen carefully to what others have to say so that you’re

not repeating, but rather amplifying and adding value with your


Amb. Laura Dogu:

I am frequently the only woman in

meetings outside the office with the host country, and when I

have control over the guest list, I insist that we include at least

30 percent women, if not more. When dealing with the press, I

always make sure to respond to questions from women, despite

male reporters often speaking over the top of them. In our

internal meetings, it is less frequent that I am the only woman in

the room unless I am dealing with law enforcement. At my last

large post, I was the only woman among about 20 men in most

meetings. I found I had to be

forceful when speaking up, but

after the first few times, people

treated me like everyone else.

Amb. Gina Abercrombie-


In most meetings

over the years, I was the only

minority at the table and that

continues to be the case. I am

often one of only two or three

women. After 30 years, it is

still not easy. I have to fight my

own insecurity, as well as any

unspoken, even unconscious, bias against the value of my con-

tributions. The recognition of my performance and potential that

Ambassador Amy Hyatt

Amy Hyatt is U.S. ambassador to the

Republic of Palau. She is a career Foreign

Service officer of 31 years, who previously

served as deputy chief of mission in Hel-

sinki, consul general in Melbourne, man-

agement counselor in Cairo, and diplomat-in-residence

at Arizona State University. Other postings include

Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Prague, Norway and

Washington, D.C. Prior to entering the Foreign Service,

she was a litigation attorney in San Francisco. She has

three children.

Her mantra:

Great leaders have a strong moral com-

pass. They know how to do the right thing, even as others

falter or succumb to temptation.

Ambassador Laura Dogu

Laura Dogu was confirmed as the U.S.

ambassador to Nicaragua in August 2015.

She is a consular-coned officer and career

member of the Senior Foreign Service,

class of Minister Counselor. From 2012

through 2015, she served as deputy chief of mission at

U.S. Embassy Mexico City. Amb. Dogu has received both

the department’s Award for Outstanding Deputy Chief of

Mission and the Barbara M. Watson Award for Consular

Excellence. She is married and has two sons, both in


Congress, but when he con-

tinued to call me I reported to

the NSC’s executive secretary

that it was happening, and told

him that if I had to do violence

to repel it, I would. I was let-

ting him know beforehand, I

said, because I did not expect

to lose my job as a result. After

a moment of shocked silence,

he said “Thanks for letting me

know.” And the member stopped calling me.


In an average month, how many meetings do you attend

I think the most important

thing is to be prepared, so you

can speak authoritatively and

there is no question that you

are on top of your brief.

Amb. Jennifer Zimdahl Galt