THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
came from reaching my goal of being an ambassador, however,
has given me the space to feel like I don’t always have to know
the answer. I have brilliant staff to help me get it right.
Can you share a formative experience (professional or
otherwise) that helped shape your leadership vision and/or style?
Amb. Erica Barks-Ruggles:
When I was a teenager, I was
a newspaper carrier, and the district manager passed me over
for a more junior (male) carrier for an important regional job
that would have given me a pay raise. My parents supported my
protest to the top management of the newspaper. I demanded
fair treatment and the raise I would have gotten had I not been
discriminated against (the district manager admitted that the
only reason I did not get the job was because I was a “girl”).
I got the raise. That taught me to demand equal treatment, not to
settle for being passed over, and to always raise your hand and
ask for the promotion/better job/tougher assignment. Nobody
was going to give it to me just because I deserved it.
Amb. Jennifer Zimdahl Galt:
Serving as principal officer
in Guangzhou, overseeing a consulate general that more than
doubled in size during my tenure. Because I did not have a
deputy and the bureau didn’t support the creation of one, I was
chief cook and bottle washer. Leading a team of more than 500,
including 65 first- and second-tour officers, taught me more
about management, security and personnel than I had learned
in the first 25 years of my career. I loved every minute of it and
would do it again in a heartbeat.
gian, a political
sworn in as the
U.S. ambassador to the Associa-
tion of Southeast Asian Nations
in September 2014 and served
through January 2017. During
her tenure, the United States and
ASEAN became strategic part-
ners. Previously, Amb. Hachigian was a senior fellow at
the Center for American Progress and served as director
of the RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy. From 1998
to 1999, she was on the staff of the National Security
Council under President Bill Clinton. She is the edi-
Debating China: The U.S. - China Relationship in
and co-author of
The Next American
Century: How the U.S. Can Thrive as Other Powers Rise
Amb. Hachigian holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale
University and a law degree from Stanford University.
She is married with two children.
Her advice for younger women:
Take a risk!
Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-
Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley served
as U.S. ambassador to Malta from 2012
to 2016. A career member of the Senior
Foreign Service, Amb. Abercrombie-Winstanley previ-
ously served as principal officer in Jeddah. She has also
served overseas in Iraq, Israel, Egypt and Indonesia. In
Washington, D.C., she served as foreign policy adviser
at U.S. Cyber Command, deputy assistant secretary for
counterterrorism and at the National Security Council.
She holds a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins School
of Advanced International Studies. Amb. Abercrombie-
Winstanley is married and has a son and a daughter.
I wish I’d known I pretty much knew as
much as my colleagues and to voice my ideas more.
While serving as U.S. ambassador to the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations, Nina Hachigian visited all 10 ASEAN
countries, and took this selfie along the way.