Government Leadership Advisory Council

A group of distinguished champions of leadership across all sectors of American life, including academia, corporate industry, nonprofit, and civilian and military government.


Interested in the council? Please contact Zainab Dossaji at [email protected] for more information.

Our Purpose

The Partnership for Public Service’s Government Leadership Advisory Council informs us how to equip federal leaders with the knowledge, tools and relationships they need to succeed. The council includes former Fortune 500 CEOs, eminent academic scholars and former Cabinet secretaries, each of whom offers a unique perspective on leadership in government.

Many approaches to leadership training and development used in the federal government originated in a different era and have not evolved to keep up with modern challenges and workforce needs. The Partnership has created a new leadership model for federal leaders, from aspiring supervisors to experienced executives. The Government Leadership Advisory Council advised the Partnership on the development and integration of the model and helped create our leadership development strategy.


Doug Conant

Founder and CEO, ConantLeadership
Former CEO and President, Campbell Soup Company
Board Member, Partnership for Public Service

Douglas (Doug) R. Conant is the only former Fortune 500 CEO who is a New York Times bestselling author, a Top 50 leadership Innovator, a Top 100 Leadership Speaker, and a Top 100 Most Influential Author in the World. He was the president and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company from 2001 to 2011. Upon retiring in 2011, he founded ConantLeadership — a mission-driven community of leaders and learners who are championing leadership that works in the 21st century.

Full Bio

Bob McDonald

Former Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs
Retired Chairman, President and CEO, The Procter and Gamble Company
Board Member, Partnership for Public Service

Robert (Bob) A. McDonald served as the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs from July 2014 to January 2017. Under his guidance, the VA reduced by half the number of homeless veterans since 2010. Prior to joining the VA, Bob was chairman, president, and CEO for the Procter & Gamble Company. An Army veteran, Bob served as an airborne ranger infantry officer with the 82nd Airborne Division.

Full bio

Council Members

Amy Edmondson

Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School

Amy C. Edmondson is the Novartis professor of leadership and management at the Harvard Business School, a chair position established to support the study of human interactions that lead to the creation of successful enterprises that contribute to the betterment of society. She studies teaming, psychological safety and leadership. Previously, as the director of research at Pecos River Learning Centers, Amy worked on transformational change in large companies.

Bernie Banks

Associate Dean for Leadership Development, Northwestern University
Clinical Professor of Management, Northwestern University
Retired Brigadier General, U.S. Army

Bernard (Bernie) Banks is a noted expert about leadership and organizational change. He has been the associate dean for leadership development and a clinical professor of management at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management since 2016. In addition to having studied leadership extensively, he has led multiple military units ranging in size from 10 to 500 people since 1988.

Charlie Bolden

Former Administrator, NASA
Retired Major General, U.S. Marine Corps

Major General Charles (Charlie) Bolden Jr. served as the 12th administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. At NASA, he oversaw the safe transition from 30 years of space shuttle missions. Charles’ 34-year career with the Marine Corps included 14 years as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office, including four trips into orbit between 1986 and 1994.

Chris Porath

Professor of Management, Georgetown University

Christine (Chris) Porath is a professor and researcher at Georgetown University. Her research on the topic of civility focuses not only on the effects of bad behavior, but also how organizations can create a more positive environment where people can thrive, and how individuals and organizations benefit in terms of individual well-being and performance. Her speaking and consulting clients have include Google, the United Nations and the World Bank.

Lester Lyles

Former Chairman of the Board, USAA
Retired General and former Vice Chief of Staff, United States Air Force
Board Member, Partnership for Public Service

General Lester (Les) L. Lyles served for 36 years in the United States Air Force, retiring as a general in 2003. During his Air Force career, he served in distinguished roles including vice chief of staff and commander of the Air Force Materiel Command. Since retirement, he has continued to be involved with public service through presidential and agency commissions on security and space policy, as well as serving on the board of corporations including General Dynamics Corp. and USAA.

Liz Wiseman

CEO, Wiseman Group
Former Vice President, Oracle Corporation

Liz Wiseman is a researcher and executive advisor who teaches leadership to executives around the world. She is the CEO of the Wiseman Group, a leadership research and development firm headquartered in Silicon Valley. Some of her recent clients include: Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. Liz previously worked as an executive at Oracle Corporation when she led the creation of Oracle University.

Mario Morino

Chairman, Morino Institute
Co-founder, Venture Philanthropy Partners

Mario Morino is chairman of the Morino Institute and co-founder of Venture Philanthropy Partners. His career spans more than 45 years as entrepreneur, technologist, and civic and business leader. He also has a long history of civic engagement and philanthropy. Since 1992, he has sought to “level the playing field” for children of low-income families focusing almost exclusively on economic, social and educational issues.

Sally Jewell

Former Secretary, Department of the Interior
Former CEO, Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI)

As a business executive and public servant serving as secretary of the Department of the Interior, Sally Jewell focused her career on supporting a robust economy coupled with long-term sustainability of our natural world and its diverse people. Sally was president and CEO of REI, a $2.6 billion retailer dedicated to facilitating outdoor adventures.

Stephen M. R. Covey

Global Speed of Trust Practice Leader, FranklinCovey

Stephen M. R. Covey is a New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author of “The SPEED of Trust—The One Thing That Changes Everything.” He is the former CEO of Covey Leadership Center, which, under his stewardship, became the largest leadership development company in the world. He is a sought-after and compelling keynote speaker, consultant, and expert on trust, leadership, ethics and high performance.

Thad Allen

Former Senior Executive Advisor, Booz Allen Hamilton
Former United States Coast Guard Commandant
Former Board Member, Partnership for Public Service

Admiral Thad W. Allen is a well-decorated senior fellow at the RAND Corporation. He became the 23rd commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard in 2006. Prior to this command, Thad served as national incident commander for the federal government’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and he continued to serve in this role as a civilian. He has worked as an executive vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton since November 2011.

Full Bio


Our council members often share their expert recommendations to help leaders overcome their management challenges. Watch the videos below for proven advice on how to improve employee engagement.


Members from the Partnership staff will work with you to ensure that your experience goes smoothly.

Interested in joining the council? The council is by invite-only. Please contact Zainab Dossaji at [email protected] if you have any questions.