THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Amb. Laura Dogu:
When Mary Ryan was the assistant sec-
retary in consular affairs and I was the visa chief in the Middle
East during 9/11, Mary sent a message saying she was forced
to share the names of the officers who had issued visas to the
hijackers. She continued by saying that people should not
worry because they did nothing wrong and she would not let
anything happen to them. In the end, the only person to lose
her job was Mary Ryan. She led by example. She believed suc-
cesses belonged to her team but all their failures were hers.
What has been the single biggest factor in your success?
What was your most difficult obstacle?
Amb. Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley:
I do not give up. I’ve
been fired twice, though once I refused to go and was able to
turn the situation around. I have found low expectations of me
as a minority to be a bigger obstacle than low expectations of
me as a woman, though they both remain in good supply in
the State Department. I struggle against frustration at the lack
of seriousness about increasing diversity in the department’s
senior levels. We have to be held accountable for the results.
Amb. Deborah Malac:
I was raised believing that if you
work hard and always do your best, recognition will come. This
is not, perhaps, the best approach to take in an organization
that forces people to be shameless self-promoters in order
to find the next assignment or to get that next promotion.
Nonetheless, it has paid off for me. I have continued to bring
my best every day and to look for new and interesting oppor-
tunities and assignments that take me out of my comfort zone,
and offer an opportunity to learn something new or to develop
a new skill.
I have found low expectations
of me as a minority to be
a bigger obstacle than low
expectations of me as a
woman, though they both
remain in good supply in the
Amb. Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley