Inside the Mind of a Female Executive: Former Homeland Security Advisor and Current Activision Blizzard CCO — Frances Townsend

Frances Townsend has held various positions in the Bush Administration, including Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Associate Counsel to the President, and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intergovernmental Affairs. Fran has been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations since 1988 and is currently a member of the Board of Directors.

Frances Townsend’s work on cybersecurity issues

From 2009 to 2013, Fran Townsend served as a member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB). This external advisory group provides advice to the Director of Central Intelligence and other U.S. Intelligence agencies. Her term was renewed in 2014 for a second three-year term. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the House Select Committee on Intelligence and is a House Committee on Foreign Affairs member. Fran is part of the Board of Advisors of the Winston Foundation and the Secretary of Homeland Security Advisory Council (OSAC) under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In October 2013, Fran was awarded the Outstanding Global Leader Award by the U.S.

The Public Servant

Throughout her career, Fran has been dedicated to public service. She served in a range of high-ranking administration positions, including Deputy Director for management at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Counselor to the Director of the White House Management Staff.

Before her roles at the White House and the GAO, Fran was an associate at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, a litigation boutique in Washington, D.C., where she represented U.S. federal government clients.

Bottom Line

Frances Townsend frequently speaks at international conferences on women, children, and human rights, including the United Nations, Geneva, and New York. Fran worked in government during an era when women were largely absent from positions of power. She credits her public service interest to growing up watching President Jimmy Carter’s historic 1977 presidential campaign on television.

Frances Townsend has emphasized that there is still much to do to achieve gender equality despite enormous progress over the past decades. Fran has also advocated for increased support for women’s employment opportunities and equal pay for equal work. In 2009 she co-founded [email protected], an organization dedicated to promoting gender equality in the workplace by encouraging companies to provide flexible work arrangements for employees and offering technical assistance to employers about how best to do so.

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