Taking the Next Step to Leadership:
Advancing Your Career in International Security

August 8, 2018 | Washington, DC
Alyssa Ayres, Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, Anne Knight, Karen Monaghan, Nitza Sola-Rotger,
Tamara Cofman Wittes, and moderator Laura Kupe

WIIS's Post | Mentor Bios

Washington, DC—On August 8, 2018, the Women’s Foreign Policy Group and Women in International Security co-hosted an interactive program to help advise young and mid-career professionals on advancing their careers in international security. The event included a panel with mentors: Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Alyssa Ayres, Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security Founder and President Bonnie Jenkins, Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Anne Knight, Former Intelligence Community Senior Executive Karen Monaghan, US Foreign Service Officer Nitza Sola-Rotger, and Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Tamara Cofman Wittes. The discussion was moderated by RAND Corporation Policy Analyst Laura Kupe. 

The panelists discussed challenges they have faced in their careers, how to find mentors and sponsors, and when to take gambles and risks. Tamara Cofman Wittes and Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins urged participants to seek out mentors with interesting-sounding career paths, even if they come from different backgrounds. Karen Monaghan highlighted the importance of supporting other women in the workplace and the value of finding positions abroad early in your career, noting that “you simply cannot replicate [these experiences] by sitting and writing papers.” Anne Knight added to this point, sharing a risk she took by accepting a job in Germany that allowed her to advance her career. The panelists also discussed the importance of persistence in applying for positions and pursuing professional opportunities and Alyssa Ayres shared the obstacles she faced in publishing her recent book to emphasize that perseverance yields favorable outcomes. Finally, the panelists discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and Nitza Sola-Rotger encouraged participants to critically examine their own biases.

The second half of the program consisted of intimate, off-the-record mentoring sessions led by the panelists. Thanks to our mentors for taking the time to share their wisdom and promote women’s leadership in international security!

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Nitza Sola-Rotger and Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins
Anne Knight and Alyssa Ayres


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WFPG Executive Director Kim Kahnhauser Freeman and WIIS Senior Program Assistant Nadia Creve Coeur
Laura Kupe moderates the panel


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Karen Monaghan speaks with Maddie Rule

Sonia Alvarez listens to Tamara Cofman Wittes


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Alyssa Ayres and Amy Kunert

Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins gives advice to participants

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Tamara Cofman Wittes, Alyssa Ayres,

Thalia Navia, and Allison Haney

Anne Knight answers a question from Dena Gudaitis


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Nitza Sola-Rotger listens to participants' questions
Samantha Stern, Kristi Bradford, and Allison Haney


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Dea Closson asks a question
Cristine Pedersen and Illeana Valle


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Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins and Terica Adams


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