a16z Podcast

Tough Love, Global Diplomacy, and Lessons on Leadership

Episode Summary

Susan Rice is interviewed by a16z General Partner Kathryn Haun. Rice, the former National Security Advisor and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., learned early in life the importance of toughness in the face of adversity. In this discussion, she shares many more lessons from her personal life and career, including how to stay calm during crises, not letting others define you, and work-life balance.

Episode Notes

Susan shares how she learned to leverage the characteristics of her personality early in her career as assistant secretary of state [2:05]

One of the important conversations Susan had with a mentor that changed the trajectory of her career [4:50]

Her parent’s commitment to education, their personal backgrounds, and the legacies they created [8:10]

The result of instilling self-belief into children and mastering “psychological jiu jitsu” [10:22]

What the early lessons of family diplomacy taught her [14:00]

The importance of strategic compartmentalization [16:48]

How to approach crisis during high stakes situations [18:29]

How to practice compassionate leadership while maintaining effectiveness [20:10]

Hacking the concept of “work-life balance” [21:10]

The required characteristics of powerful leaders [28:14]

The hard things about leadership and the idea of being liked [31:20]

The “middle finger story”/the time Susan stood up for herself in an important meeting [33:23]

Susan talks about China’s intelligence collection in the US [39:45]

A call for unity between the private, public, and academic sectors [42:54]